Most pre-production prototypes usually find themselves in the crusher once their service is done as test mules, and as a result, it’s extremely rare to find living examples in public circulation.
On the odd occasion a prototype does make it out alive, it’s not uncommon that it carries with it a juicy back-story, which is exactly the case with this genuine VN SS Group A.
This special-order 257 chassis was used as a pilot vehicle by HSV for drivetrain testing, and for that purpose it received full compliance tags and road registration.
The Alpine White XV2 colour is the most obvious difference between this prototype and the 302 regular-production VN SS Group As. They were all painted in the distinctive Durif Red – although three of them were quickly repainted black, including two cars used for a Tooheys giveaway campaign in 1991, which you can read more about here.
The car allegedly completed 36,000km of testing duties before Holden approached Peter Fitzgerald and his Fitzgerald Racing Services team to prepare it for the 1992 12 Hours of Bathurst. As part of that campaign, the car received a hand-built engine from HRT stamped 92E 001. The Bathurst campaign was hampered by fuelling issues, but the car still came home in 13th position overall.
Holden then sold it off to the Strathfield Racing team, who dressed the car up in their racing liveries and used it as a promotional vehicle, as well as fitting it with one of their sound systems.
Later on it was used for more motorsport events like hillclimbs, before the current owner saved it from being parted out at a wrecker and sought to restore it to its original pilot vehicle specification.
OCD Obsessive Car Detailing in Perth took care of the restoration, retaining as many original components as possible. One of the biggest challenges was fixing the parcel shelf, which had been butchered for one of the car’s extensive stereo set-ups in the mid-90s.
The car is currently listed online with a whopping asking price of AU$550,000. While that may seem excessive, a ‘regular’ Durif Red VN Group A attracted a top bid of AU$341,000 at auction last year, so that gives some merit to the pricetag of this survivor Alpine White prototype.
As part of the sale, the new owner will get a host of memorabilia of the car’s history, as well as a letter confirming the authenticity of the HRT-built engine and a super-cool 1:18-scale replica model. Biante used this very car to model its limited run of Alpine White 1:18 VN Group A die-casts back in 2018 to commemorate the prototype, gifting the owner one of the models as a thank you.
You can view the full listing for the car here.