V8 ute or wagon, which Australian forbidden fruit is sweeter?

Somewhat akin to the Fourth of July in the US, Australia Day, celebrated on January 26, is that country's national holiday and an opportunity to extol all things Aussie. What better way to do that than challenging two of the country's rear-wheel drive, V8 muscle cars against each other to find the faster barbecue hauler?

The trick is that neither of these vehicles is a traditional muscle machine. On one side, there's the Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon with a 6.0-liter V8 boasting 349 horsepower and 381 pound-feet of torque and a six-speed automatic gearbox. It takes on a Holden Ute SS with 362 hp and 391 lb-ft from a similar 6.0-liter V8 and a six-speed manual.

The challenge is simple. Commemorate the holiday by racing through some cones on a skid pad to a waiting barbecue set, load the stuff up and haul it all back. The real joy is that the race goes down with plenty of tire smoke, drifting and roaring V8s. There's no better way to celebrate the nation's take on the muscle car.

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