The West

Big beast look
Big beast look

Big car gloom + small car boom = doom for muscle cars.

Sounds logical, but it seems there will always be a place in Australia for cars that stir passions.

It's been that way since the early Bathursts and, today, muscle cars are a very identifiable part of our landscape.

Now, set to mess with the emotions of well-heeled 30-something men, are the latest thunderers from the Ford and Holden performance divisions.

FPV and HSV are both leaping into spring with some hot numbers.

I was in Melbourne this week to see the cover lifted from what's bound to be the new season's biggest headturner.

It's the RSPEC, a limited-edition version of FPV's GT.

Possessing the most gobsmacking presence is the variant wearing the hero-model colour scheme, pictured on the cover.

It is painted in Silhouette Black with lashings of Vixen Red.

Dramatic C-shape striping recalls the decoration on the iconic 1969 Boss Mustang.

Matching red wheels are luscious conversation starters.

After catching the eye, the RSPEC's performance cred should win the r'spec (in Ali G-speak) of target buyers.

While the 335kW 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine is unchanged, the addition of launch control, on both manuals and autos, makes the model the fastest Falcon ever sold.

And, with major handling and steering modifications, it's also quicker and safer around bends than the regular GT.

The tinkering includes re-tuned dampers, a bigger anti-roll bar and plenty of stiffening.

FPV Pursuit. Supplied picture
For example, stronger transmission mounts allow less drivetrain movement under hard cornering, which improves the car's stability and the passengers' ride comfort. Additions compared with a standard GT include 9-inch-wide rear wheels, a high-performance spoiler, black exhaust tips and a GT RSPEC bootlid badge.

Added inside are leather sports seats and piano-black trims.

For ute buyers, FPV is also unleashing the Super Pursuit.

While regular Falcons languish in car yards, FPV expects the 350 RSPECs and 75 Super Pursuits to find homes quickly.

"Big cars might be struggling but I'm pretty sure where our 425 vehicles are heading," said the brand's chief, Bryan Mears.

"Many Australians love performance cars and love to drive something different … and that's who we build our cars for."

Half of the RSPECs will be in the black-with-red combo.

The others will be in Vixen Red, Kinetic Blue and Winter White, each with with black accents.

The RSPEC is $76,900, a $3000 premium on the regular GT.

For the same price, buyers can opt for either a six-speed manual or six-speed ZF auto.

FPV has been seeing a very strong trend (about three-quarters of buyers) towards the latter.

Sacrilege in days past but, then again, the autos were nowhere near as good as they are now.

The Super Pursuits, the smallest FPV ute run ever, are dressed the same as the black-and-red RSPEC.

They are based on the 315kW GS model and sell for $57,990 - a $5000 premium.

Extra touches include wider 8-inch rear wheels and black-tipped exhausts.

Inside, added are piano-black trims, premium sound, dual-zone temperature control and leather sports seats.

The West Australian

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