South African tuner company Lupini, is perhaps best known in its native land for tuning the likes of VWs and other Teutonic machinery such as BMWs and Opels.
A long established player in the aftermarket performance business – Greg Lupini was the first guy to import a Ferrari to South Africa, back in the early 1950s – the company also has extensive road racing experience to back it up; but besides all this and tweaking four and six-cylinder Euro cars, Lupini also puts together one very unique muscle machine.
Dubbed the Lupini Chevrolet Super Ute, it’s based on the local market Chevrolet Ute SS (a derivative of the Australian Holden Maloo) – think a modern day interpretation of old Chevy El Camino SS 454. Under the hood this ’ute (utility, or car based pickup in Aussie and SA parlance) sports a version of the LS9 supercharged 6.2-liter small block V8 found in the current Corvette ZR1.
In the Super Ute it’s rated at 565 horsepower and 590 ft-lbs of torque; enabling this car/truck thingy to scoot to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 175 mph. Other changes from the standard Ute SS include bigger brakes and performance tuned suspension with premium Bilstein dampers for improved handling; plus an available limited slip differential.
Finished in black and sporting massive 20-inch wheels shod in monster Bridgestone Potenza rubber, 245 section tires up front and 285s out back, it definitely looks the business.
However, like most things this cool in life, there is a catch. Well, perhaps a couple of them. The first one is that in South Africa the Super Ute costs the equivalent of $91,000; secondly, thanks to the General’s decision to axe the Pontiac brand in North America and along with it the proposed G8 ST; the chances of something like this actually coming to our shores today are between slim to none. Pity.