• Above, the road-legal Craig Lowndes Commodore (right) with his Bathurst 1000 race car
Five-time Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes has lent his name to a limited run of Holden Commodores – but the 6.0-litre V8-powered SS-V models are for the Australian market only and won’t be available in New Zealand.
Instead, to soften the blow of unavailability of the Lowndes car on this side of the ditch, Holden NZ is expected to announce after this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 that it will produce a dressed-up Commodore of its own, based not on the SS-V but the SV6 Redline sedan.
The 3.6-litre V6-powered model will be Holden NZ managing director Jeff Murray’s swansong before he returns – after almost three years in NZ – to Melbourne and a new managerial role with the carmaker. What won’t be different about the special SV6 is the engine output: 210kW@6700rpm and 350Nm@2800rpm.
Holden will build 233 examples of the ‘Craig Lowndes SS-V Special Edition’, of which, it says, 120 have already been pre-sold. The signature car adds a range of features to the SS-V Redline sedan, including paddle shifters for the optional automatic ‘box, Brembo brake calipers at the front and rear, 20-inch wheels and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
There are plenty of cosmetic bits, too, including a red engine cover, black bonnet and side decals, a black roof, grille surrounds and front bumper vents and Lowndes’ signature on the passenger-side dash.
The man who also holds three Australian Touring Car championships says he is honoured to have a car named after him. “I’ve had a lot of success on the racetrack behind the wheel of Commodores and to celebrate that with this special road-going version is a great privilege,” Lowndes said.
“This special edition Commodore is the pinnacle of Holden performance and to have my name on it is a true honour. This car is simply outstanding to drive and look at. I love it.”
The car is priced from $A57,990 ($NZ65,000) plus on-road costs, or $A5500 ($NZ6100) more than a regular SS V Redline Commodore in Australia. But the 233 buyers will get more than the car. Part of the package is access to a private Red Bull Racing function and factory tour hosted by Lowndes, as well as a trackside pit tour, tickets to a V8 Supercar race and a framed certificate of authenticity.
Oomph from the 6.0-litre V8 in the Lowndes car is the same as Holden’s flagship SS-V Redline sedan: 260kW@5600rpm and 517Nm@4400rpm with the six-speed automatic gearbox, and 270kW@5600rpm and 530Nm@4400rpm with the six-speed manual.