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The Mercury Cars Guide : April 10th 2010
16--- Classifieds 62 300 400 carsguide.com.au Saturday, April 10, 2010 GTS still out-muscles rivals CLASSIC CAR: The HSV GTS 215i is regarded as a sophisticated blend of muscle and refinement. Graham Smith examines the HSV GTS 215i (1994-1995) IT seems puny today, but in 1994 when HSV unleashed its 215 kW GTS it was one of the most powerful cars on the road. Today, even the most mundane family hack has close to 200 kW under the bonnet, but it took quite some time for the 200 kW barrier to be breached. Once the breakthrough was ac- hieved the floodgates opened and as a result we now even have cars like the entry level Falcon and Commodore with peak power approaching the 200 kW milestone. With many of today's hero cars boasting more than 300 kW the 215 kW GTS is easily outpaced on the road, but it's now comfortably settled into the automotive afterlife as a classic car. model watch WITH the Supercar scare of the 1970s still ringing in their ears carmakers were still understandably nervous about building high- powered muscle- cars well into the 1980s. The peak performance of locally made cars stayed relatively stable for many years, and it wasn't until the formation of new generation go-fast outfits like Holden's HSV and Ford's Tickford towards the end of the 80s that engine grunt started to rise more quickly. Even so the performance arms of the big two carmakers were careful about pushing the boundary too far too quickly. In an increasingly politically correct world both were keener to push the handling, braking and refinement of their cars than they were their ability to go fast. But fast they were. The 215 kW GTS was in a league of its own, it was clearly the fastest car ever built in this country. To find cars that had comparable performance you had to turn to exotic imports. HSV resurrected the GTS badge in 1992 when it launched its first 200 kW supercar based on the VP Commodore, but the VR-based model took the GTS to an even higher plane in 1994. Road test writers of the day were quick to compare the reborn GTS to the classic muscle-cars of the 1970s, the original Monaro GTS 350, the Falcon GT HO and the Charger E49, but their comparisons were misguided. Where the rumbling old cars were a thrill-a-minute to drive, with questionable handling and ordinary brakes, the new GTS was just as fast, but it was also refined, comfortable, handled with aplomb and braked safely. The GTS 215 was a performance car for a far more sophisticated time. The heart of the GTS beast was the Holden 5.0-litre V8 that had been increased to 5.7 litres thanks to a stroker crankshaft. As well as the crankshaft there was a hot camshaft, new valves and valve springs, and a new flywheel, all to suit the bigger motor. New pistons were used to lower the compression ratio to ensure it would run on regular unleaded fuel. A cold air intake and free-flow air cleaner packed more into the engine, while exhaust headers and low restriction pipes got the gas out efficiently. By the time the engine guys were done the big V8 was putting out 215 kW at 4800 revs and 475 Nm at 3600 revs. A heavy-duty clutch was fitted to handle the extra grunt on its way to the Borg-Warner six-speed manual gearbox. From there it was fed to the rear wheels through a locally developed limited-slip diff. To match the high performance of the GTS, HSV fitted big new brakes, with larger brake rotors and larger callipers, along with ABS. The GTS was a very fast car, at least for its time. It would accelerate through the standing 400m sprint in under 15 seconds and had a top speed of almost 250 km/h. While it has been eclipsed in the 16 years since it was launched the GTS was truly a special car in 1994. It was not only very fast, it had the handling and braking to match, and it looked the part with its nicely integrated body kit that set it apart, and its sports interior that enhanced the feeling of being in something quite special. on the lot THE GTS is a very collectable car today so it has to be bought with that in mind. Pay up to $15,000 for a genuine car in good original condition. Discount the price for cars that have had a hard life, or have been modified. in the shop FOR starters make sure the car you are thinking of buying is genuine; it's not hard to create a fake and there are plenty of wannabes around. Its also worth checking for any modifications from the original specification. Cars that have been regularly driven since they were new would have done more than 200,000 km by now. Shop around for those that have been well cared for and be wary of those that have had a hard life. on the road THE GTS 215 wasn't just a dressed-up Commodore; it was a fully developed package with a high performance engine matched with a well-balanced chassis. That match of engine and chassis came through loud and clear on the road where, given the situation, the engine's performance could be fully exploited. The GTS 215 could be driven hard with generous amounts of throttle without losing its composure. While performance was central to its character the GTS was also comfortable and boasted all of the features expected of a high-end sports sedan. in a crash THERE were no airbags in the VR- based GTS, the passive safety was provided by the basic body structure and seat belts. Its active safety was in its chassis with its sports tuned suspension, large powerful brakes, and ABS anti- lock system. at the pump IF you're concerned about fuel economy its best you turn away now, because the GTS 215 is a gas-guzzler. That shouldn't be surprising given its high performance capability. Expect 15 L/100 km on average when driven around town with a light right foot, more if you're a lead foot. look for Exhilarating performance Finely tuned handling Powerful braking No airbags Hot looks Collectable Aussie muscle-car also check these EB FALCON GT 1992-1993 Fords tribute to the classic Falcon GTs on the 25th anniversary of the original. The anniversary GTs were thought to be pale imitations of the real thing, but wearing the GT badge will ensure they will always be highly prized by GT fans. Pay up to $25,000. NISSAN 300ZX 1989-1997 Smart looking but heavy V6 sports coupe with a well-balanced chassis let down by engine. While Japanese buyers could have a hot turbocharged engine for real zip local buyers could only choose the try-hard naturally aspirated version and performance was disappointing. Pay up to $25,000. MAZDA RX7 1992-1999 Stinking hot turbocharged rotary- engined sports coupe was a tearaway winner on the road and track. Great driver, great performer. Pay up to $30,000. the bottom line Sophisticated blend of muscle and refinement in a modern day classic sports sedan. RATING 85/100 COMING UP: What do you think of your Dodge Caliber? Send your comments to Graham Smith at carsGuide or e-mail to email@example.com. used cars GOOD VALUE: The 2009 Holden Captiva LX 4x4 at DJs. Wayne's Car Sales DEAL of the week at Wayne's is a 2006 Toyota Tarago in the new shape. This eight-seater van features a 2.4 litre motor, plus automatic gearbox and dual zone air- conditioning for $31,990. Tilford TILFORD Used has a 2006 BF Fairlane Ghia finished in blue with Kashmir leather. A flagship of the Ford range, it has travelled 42,000km and has all the luxury appointments including electric memory seats, dual zone climate control, a premium audio system and a silky smooth ZF six-speed automatic transmission. All this for $28,888 drive away -- this weekend only. DJ Motors WHEEL Deal of the week at DJs is a 2009 Holden Captiva LX 4x4. This 2.0 litre turbo diesel automatic has seven seats, cruise control, climate traction and stability control, leather seats, six airbags, reverse parking sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels. It has travelled 9000km and is priced at $38,990 drive away. DJs will pay on road costs of $1513. Co-Op A 2006 Prado GXL wagon is the hot used car deal at Co-Op. It has got a 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine, a five-speed manual transmission, air- conditioning, dual airbags, ABS brakes, a towbar, alloy wheels and side steps. This vehicle is sensational value at $28,990 drive-away. Full listing of vehicles and auction times available at: manheimfowles.com.au +,1 Ea\dYf\ @oq$ :ja_`lgf L9K L]d2 (+ .*.+ +0++ This week s Auctions Truck & Machinery at 10am. Large range of Government, Fleet and Clearance vehicles at 12noon. Salvage vehicles from Insurance Companies at 1:15pm. Vehicles available for viewing Wednesday 8am-4pm and from 8am Thursday. For further details call 03 6263 3833 or visit us at 349 Midland Hwy, Brighton. T da 1 l
March 27th 2010
April 17th 2010