A single HSV GTS-R Maloo, the fastest stock Aussie car we’ve ever tested and the last production Commodore-based HSV, has surfaced in America.
A photo of a white US-delivered GTS-R Maloo awaiting conversion to left-hand drive has appeared on social media, with the caption claiming it to be the first of its kind there.
This has led us to Randy Reese of Left Hand Utes in Colorado. He's imported and converted dozens of Holden Commodore and HSV utes, this latest one being done for someone who already owns a swapped 2016 HSV Maloo.
“What we’ve been doing is have customers buy them in Australia with their own money,” he tells MOTOR exclusively, “then they take what they want, and then we set up shipping. All I’m doing is the conversions.”
International Thunder: The Maltese GTS-R Maloo
This particular example has only travelled 30km and when it’s finally ready, after a process that takes a couple months, it will ask US$145K (AU$207K) for the pleasure to drive Oz’s fastest standard local production car overseas.
With a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 LSA producing 435kW/740Nm, in our hands an automatic GTS-R Maloo Ute recorded a 4.14 0-100km/h run and crossed 400m in 12.19 seconds.
“Basically it’s a Corvette with a bed, it can haul an ass,” he jokes.
Reese, an engineer, converts a couple every year and capitalises on the fact our utes have an amazing amount of overlap with the Chevrolet Caprice used for cop duties, itself based on the VE Commodore's Zeta platform. Likewise the Chevrolet SS and our VF.
Buyers' Guide: VE Commodore
“It’s the same frame rails that go underneath, same driveshaft, same fuel line, same brake line,” he says. On top of a lot of paperwork, it’s basically a process of adapting the Australian built shell with American compliant parts.
“I don’t paint, I don’t cut frames, I don’t change VIN numbers, the only thing I do change is where the bits coming through the fire-wall.
“And it’s just a 16-gauge piece of stamped steel that I get from the US donor car, and I weld it in there.
“I do not add VINs to them, I use a 17-digit GM VIN.”
But there’s extra work involved on something like this GTS-R Maloo. “The HSVs and Maloos are higher end, and I try and keep as much of the original components as I can.”
“What’s nice about the GTS-R is it has red stitching and so does the USA [Chevrolet] SSs. So it pops right in without any issues.”
Randy lets HSV know what cars make their way over there and in turn gets help with things like "tags" and specific information.
Our beloved creations are slowly gaining popularity in the US based on their similarity to Chevrolet’s El Camino, its take on the ute built from 1964 to 1987. He’s upbeat when asked about the demise of our car industry, though.
“I have a real smart arse answer for that: they haven’t made a ’57 Chevrolet since ’57, but they don’t seem to be disappearing.”