Knocked Out By a Right Hook: 2002 Holden Special Vehicles R8 Maloo

Knocked Out By a Right Hook: 2002 Holden Special Vehicles R8 Maloo

Story and photos by Brian Wormald

It was one of those moments when you think to yourself – did I really see that?  That thing that came out of the marshalling area at the start of the Port Coquitlam Car Show Saturday Night Cruise – surely, I’m seeing things!  When I lived in Australia, I would not have given it a second glance – ‘dime a dozen’ is the cliché that comes to mind.

I was videoing the start of the cruise at the time and after the double-take, I looked up to see it speeding away down Wilson Avenue. The rear of the vehicle was unmistakable – I actually did see it!

The vehicle in question was an Australian Holden utility truck (a ‘ute’ in Aussie vernacular). I needed to speak with this guy and get the back story on both him and his car!!  I made sure I was in position on Shaughnessy Street as the cruise cars came thundering through……and waited.  As luck would have it, a pedestrian was at the crosswalk as the ‘ute’ was approaching.  When he stopped, I had a quick chat to him and made sure he would be at the car show the following day.

But first, some ‘ute’ history about GM’s Australian subsidiary, Holden.  Holden has produced utility truck versions of all models since the first Holden in 1948. That is almost 70 years – far longer than the El Camino (and equivalents) of North America.  The ‘ute’ has been the cornerstone of Aussie tradesmen since day one. In the early 70’s, the ‘ute’ (and indeed the covered panel van versions as well) started to take on cult status as the nation’s youth saw them as escape machines – inspired by the burgeoning vanning movement in North America – and fitted them with mattresses while bolting a surfboard to the roof. While the vanning movement eventually faded, the ‘ute’ never did. And in the years since the new millennium started, they have morphed into ‘sports utility vehicles’, combining the practicality of a utility truck with go faster LS1/3/9 engines, stop better Brembo brakes and almost coupe styling. They are again reaching cult status.

Now, back to our show entrant. Haydon Scott, at 34 is your typical Aussie bloke – he likes beer and utes. Born in New Zealand, his Australian home is now Perth in Western Australia and his Canadian home is Port Coquitlam. He loves it here and, after 5 years is a NZ / Canadian dual citizen.

His work requires him to travel frequently between Canada and Western Australia. On a recent trip, he spotted our unique Car Show entry and knew he needed a touch of home in B.C.  The ‘ute’ in question is a 2002 Holden Special Vehicles R8 ‘Maloo’ utility – a special HSV 15th Anniversary model.

Maloo is the specific trim level of the ‘ute’. It is a native Aboriginal word that means ‘thunder’ or ‘storm’.  Either way, it is entirely appropriate. With a 5.7 litre LS1 with no mods to speak of, it produces 450hp at the crank / 388 at the rear wheels. Somewhat unique, even in its originating country, it is one of only 25 made in this Arctic White colour with a 6 speed manual trans. And at 88,000 kilometres, it’s hardly even run in.

Hayden laments the trials of getting it into the country.  Instead of handing the importation to a 3rd party, he did it all himself.  With all the bureaucracy and paperwork to be completed, money to be handed over, and a 38 day boat ride, it was a learning experience for sure!

But he loves it…..’it was worth every penny spent’ he said.  Now he simply needs to get it legally insured here.  After questioning the experts (ICBC), he has to raise it 1.5” all round in the suspension and change to daytime running lights. At 15 years of age, it can even stay right-hook.  Compared to the importation process……a breeze!

Categories: Driver Plus