It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Australia (I’ll spare you the cliched list), but over the past 70 years or so there have been a fair few decent cars built here. Sadly, due to a number of economic and market factors, 2017 will see Aussie-built cars roll off the production line for the last time. So, as an era comes to an end, let’s take this opportunity to look back at 10 of the best cars ever made in Australia…

HSV GTS Maloo

This is a Ute, but not quite as you know it. In fact, it’s the world’s fastest production Ute, with a supercharged LSA V8 engine crammed into the body of a Holden VF Commodore. The HSV stands for Holden Special Vehicles (Holden’s in-house tuning branch), and they only made 250 units of the Maloo, the Aboriginal word for ‘Thunder’; appropriate when you hear the roar of the bi-modal exhaust.

The numbers are impressive to say the least; the 6.2-litre engine powers up the rear wheels to the tune of 578bhp, rocketing you to 60mph in a white-knuckle 4.4 seconds. The light rear axle is kept in-check by a custom-built torque vectoring system and tricked-out traction control unit.

HSV GTS Maloo

FPV F6X 270

Another model that was the brainchild of the tuning specialists at the company, this time from Ford. The F6X evolved from the Territory, Australia’s own home-grown SUV, and is a two-tonne crossover of the original model.

The all-wheel drive could crack 60mph from a standstill in just 5.9 seconds, thanks to a turbocharged 4-litre engine and 362bhp. It also had the dynamics to handle the trickiest of corners, putting many a sports car to shame.

Unfortunately, the FPV wasn’t around for long, with us Aussies put off by the below-par fuel economy and mediocre looks. Production was discontinued with only 229 units ever built.

FPV F6X 270

TRD Aurion

TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development and the Aurion was the name given to the six-cylinder model after Toyota Australia split its Camry range into four and six-cylinder variants. A Formula One-inspired front bumper and beefed-up body kit, plus upgraded suspension and superior-grip tyres, meant the flagship Aurion outmanoeuvred its less-glamourous siblings.

The most significant difference, however, was the engine; the Aurion was the first production car to house an Eaton twin-vortices supercharger, which was mated to a 3.5 litre V6 engine. The result? 323bhp, propelling the front-drive sedan from 0-60mph in 6.1 secs, giving it a quarter-mile time of 14.2s.

TRD Aurion

Walkinshaw W547

Not so much of a car in itself, the Walkinshaw W547 is an enhancement kit that adds serious levels of power to an already well-equipped 6.2-litre, V8-powered Holden Commodore. If 409bhp isn’t quite enough for you, how about upping the ante to 734bhp? You’re now behind the wheel of something that would give most supercars a run for their money.

On top of the increased torque and power, the W547 also adds high flow injectors, a water-to-air intercooler, custom heater hoses, aluminium coil covers, an uprated camshaft and other features to name just a few.

Walkinshaw W547

Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III

Rolling off the assembly line back in 1971, the Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III was Australia’s fastest production car and is arguably the most iconic Aussie car ever built.

It was powered by a 351 Cleveland V8, with a power outlet somewhere between 350 and 380bhp (although Ford put the number at 300bph), resulting in a 0-60mph sprint time of 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 142mph.

A successor was planned, however the ‘Supercar Scare’ of the 1970s (the fear of 160mph cars roaming public streets) meant it was scrapped at the last minute. This only cemented the legendary status of the original model, with prime examples selling in the past for $750,000AUD.

Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III

Mitsubishi Ralliart Magna

On the back of their global rallying success in the early 2000s, Mitsubishi began building a different kind of sports sedan, resulting in the Ralliart Magna.

Heavily influenced by the style of the Lancer Evolution VI, the RM adopted its iconic double-deck rear spoiler and aggressive front bumper design whilst receiving steering tweaks and a bespoke suspension.

Despite looking the part, the Ralliart Magna had one critical flaw; all the juice from its 3.5-litre V6 engine was sent exclusively to the front wheels, resulting in heavy torque steer. Production by Mitsubishi Australia ceased after just 500 were made.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Magna

Holden VL Commodore

Traditionally it’s been the V8 Commodores that have received all the love, but the six-cylinder VL variant is unique in the fact that Holden stuffed Nissan-sourced turbocharged RB engines into its rear-drive sedan.

It’s an odd mix of JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) and Aussie engineering, and the original RB engine made a healthy 201bhp, but a popular modification was to use the bottom end of the legendary GT-R engine to squeeze even more power out.

The VL Commodore was not only popular in the aftermarket and drag racing circles, they were also the Highway Pursuit vehicle of choice for the Australian Police force.

Holden VL Commodore

FPV GT-F 351

A swansong to all Australian-built Falcon GT muscle cars of the past, Ford decided upon the letter ‘F’ to represent final and ‘351’ to pay homage to the old 351 engines of the 1970s.

To give such a significant car the muscle it deserves, FPV (Ford Performance Vehicles) took a 5-litre Coyote V8 from the fifth generation Mustang GT and bolted on a supercharger. As you do. 351 kilowatts of power were available (yes, referenced in the name too), or 471bhp layman’s terms; enough to reach 60mph in around 5 seconds.

Only 500 were ever made.

FPV GT-F 351

Bolwell Nagari

Conceived by Graeme Bolwell after a working holiday at Lotus in the UK, the Nagari ended up being Australia’s very own supercar.

Implementing the philosophy of subtracting weight, the Nagari (an Aboriginal word for ‘flowing’) weighed just 920kg (2028lb) and was powered by a Ford-sourced V8 which produced up to 330bhp. The wheelbase measured a slim 2280mm whilst the front-engine/rear-wheel drive combination proved to be a handful for all but the most skilful of drivers.

It first went on sale in 1970 and just 100 coupes and 18 convertibles were produced during its brief four-year life span.

Bolwell Nagari

Holden HK Monaro GTS

Thanks to a few styling tips borrowed from its American Camaro counterpart, the Holden HK Monaro oozed appeal and street cred from day one.

At first, Holden weren’t sure whether the Camaro’s small-block 327 V8 would fit into the Aussie two-door hard-top coupe. They needn’t have worried though; it fitted perfectly and helped Holden to win its first ever race at the hallowed Bathurst race track in 1968.

The name was briefly revived in the early 2000s, but after only two generations production was stopped. To this day it still remains one of the most sought-after cars Down Under.

Holden HK Monaro GTS

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