Pristine Holden Commodore ‘Walkinshaw’ emerges for sale in NZ

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Words: Matthew Hansen
31 Oct 2020

The 1980s will probably go down as the most controversial era of motorsport on the planet, what with Group B doing its thing in the rally world, Nascar’s transformation, and Formula 1’s spiralling tech wars and Ayrton Senna versus Alain Prost.

It happened in Australia, too. The popular Group C was replaced with the less popular Group A. The Euro teams were invited to compete in the 1987 Bathurst 1000 and were promptly done for cheating. Peter Brock sold the Polariser, then got dumped by Holden. Nissan was cooking up something called a Skyline R32 GT-R. And in the middle of it all, Holden and Tom Walkinshaw formed a company called Holden Special Vehicles.

One of HSV’s first tasks was to produce a homologation special fit to take on the Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth and BMW M3, and out the other end came this thing; a Holden Commodore SS Group A SV — today better known by its affectionate nickname; Walkinshaw.

The Walkinshaw came with a quintessentially 1980s racing aesthetic, underlined by the probably most ostentatious aero kit ever fitted to a four-door. The rear wing is like a table, the pumped out guards, doors, and swollen bonnet resemble someone allergic to a bee that’s just been stung.

Under the bonnet was a 5.0-litre V8, featuring electric fuel injection (a first for a Holden), a custom plenum, and twin throttle body intakes. The race tuned engine was good for 180kW of power and 380Nm of torque. It did back in the day, anyways.

It was very divisive at the time, but these days most Aussie V8 fans look back on the Walkinshaw with admiration. And it shows in the prices they hold today, as evidenced by this pristine example from 1988 that’s emerged for sale in Christchurch.

The New Zealand new Walky has just 77,000km on the odometer according to classic car sales group Dutton Garage, who are selling the model alongside its smorgasbord of vintage Porsches, Land Rovers, and more.

Pricing has been set at $169,990. That might sound like a lot for a 32-year-old car, but it’s reasonable given what some other Walkinshaws have sold for in the past.

The current record price for a VL Walkinshaw sale is AU$340,000, achieved in a 2018 Burns & Co auction. It had never been registered, and had just 1308km indicated on the clock.

“This New Zealand new example is build number 722 of a total of 750 cars produced and is in totally original and unmodified condition. It has been verified as a matching numbers car and is dead correct in every way. It comes with the original ownership papers,” says Duttons.

“These are a rare and appreciating classic that is only going to become more in demand both in New Zealand and abroad.”

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