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Bootleg Bandits

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Holden

Bootleg Bandits

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
January 17, 2014


Holden Holden
The days of illicit booze transportation and rum-running bandits are long gone alas, alas. The Cornish Wreckers have to get by on their myths and legends alone, regaling tourists of how things used to be in the good old days on the storm-tossed beaches of the Far West; after all, we’ve got supermarkets now and they have undercut alcohol prices so much that bootlegging simply doesn‘t pay any more.

Yet sometimes we can’t help channelling our inner brigand. We yearn for automotive adventures. For example, yesterday morning I crossed the state line between Gloucestershire and Wiltshire in a very fast Jaguar and didn’t feel adventurous at all. Even knowing I had a litre of Famous Grouse in the boot didn’t do it for me.

We have become soft; that’s the truth of the matter and I believe it is the cars that are at fault. I browsed the list of cars scheduled for the DriveWrite test and whilst they are mostly great motors, none can be said to be a bandit. There’s never a Pontiac Trans-Am when you need one but I believe that I have solved the problem.

Most people, given a bit of notice, can tolerate an Australian around the place for a while provided they don’t do anything loud or say anything crass. They did give us Kylie after all. Australia is one of those countries that you feel you ought to visit but probably won’t because you can’t face the trip to the far side of the world: and yet it has much to recommend it. Assuming you like spiders and snakes, obviously.

When it comes to cars though our cousins down under know a thing or two and they have built just the motors to stir our latent bandit tendencies. What’s more, you can get them here courtesy of Vauxhall. How about an Eaton supercharger on a 6.2L V8 driving the rear wheels and punching out nearly 600bhp whilst delivering a soundtrack guaranteed to make your hairs stand on end? That's Vauxhall’s recently new VXR8 GTS.

The important thing is that it will outrun anything the authorities can throw at it yet it has an immense boot for that important cargo of booze boxes. You can get it in Phantom Black but, if you really want to thumb your nose, buy it in yellow. The trouble is, as your illicit business grows you are going to need a bigger boot and this is where the Maloo comes into the picture.

It’s a pick-up, although in the Land of Thunder they insist on calling them utes. The Maloo sports a 6L V8 engine that develops a whopping 425bhp and 406lb ft of torque through a six-speed manual gearbox. Surprisingly, given its pedigree and its performance prowess, this ute has benign handling and, although it appears to be front heavy with an empty load bed at the back, has, in fact, an almost 50/50 balance. Despite the astonishing performance it retains its original function by offering a fully useable 1208 litre load bed under its lid which is damped with gas struts. The statistics don’t unfortunately show how many cans of lager or cases of bootleg brew it can accommodate which seems to be an oversight. But you can get it in yellow.

So go ahead, release your inner bandit and leave Smokey in your dust trails. Don’t bother with the dubious Burt Reynolds ‘tache though. It doesn’t have to be alcohol of course. The Maloo would make a great bootleg vehicle whatever your load. I’m going to try running pizza’s across the county line. For real men and feisty women only.



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