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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

South Africa’s fastest bakkies – unusual suspects top our list

190 kW Amarok might be fastest double cab production bakkie, but a pair of modified single cabs tops overall charts.

A few weeks ago, we brought you a breakdown of the five fastest bakkies in double cab guise straight off the showroom floor that have been run through our road test program.

But what if showroom fast is not enough for you? Well, this week we bring you a batch of bakkies that have been comprehensively tweaked to flood the real list of fastest bakkies in South Africa.

Fastest bakkies: double cabs

It was no surprise when the usual suspects showed up on the original list. The Toyota Hilux was pipped to the line by the Ford Ranger, the Mercedes X-Class took out the Nissan Navara, and VW’s 190 kW V6 Amarok claimed top spot.

The Amarok clocked a 0 to 100 km/h run time of 8.14 seconds and a 0 to 160 km/h time of 21.27 seconds. Its top speed was 207 km/h.

Fastest bakkies in SA Amarok
The 190 kW Amarok is SA’s fastest double cab.

ALSO READ: Revealed: South Africa’s fastest double cab bakkies

But when it comes to modified bakkies, our list is not so straight forward. It reads a bit like a fun highlights reel with the qualifying criteria for this piece being that they must be quicker than the 190 kW Amarok double cab.

We will talk about a left field and long-forgotten King of Bakkies, even though I never saw one being used as a bakkie to cart around rubbish, ever! And we will also cover the only other marque to make the list with two quite different approaches in their attempts to be top of the table.

Back in the day, the likes of Nissan and Ford offered you a 4.0-litre V6 naturally aspirated petrol-powered Navara and Ranger if you wanted to be the fastest in town.

As did Toyota with their Hilux and are the only ones that still do so today. But I do not think I have to tell you that they were heavy on fuel and to be blunt, not in line for the list of fastest bakkies by more modern standards.

Fastest bakkies need modifcations

The thin oxygen deprived air up on the Reef also sucked the life out of them, and while you could go the old way of doing heads, cams and a branch conversion on them, the best bang per buck was fitting a supercharger to them.

Sure, they still sucked fuel, but at least they came alive no matter if at the coast or up here and the gains were impressive.

We will start at number five and work our way up the ranks.

5. Toyota Hilux 4.0-litre V6 Supercharged

Enter Toyota with their standard 4.0-litre V6 Hilux that produced 175 kW of power and 376 Nm of torque that now jumped up to 255 kW and 445 Nm.

The Supercharged version was good enough to take the standard offering from a 0 to 100 km/h time of 9.98 seconds to 7.92 seconds, the longer 0 to 160 km/h time down massively from 30.42 seconds to 18.57 seconds.

Top speed went up from 188 km/h to 215 km/h. To put that into context, that puts it ahead of the 190 kW Amarok on our double charts for fastest bakkies, albeit not in production guise.

4. Toyota Hilux 5.0-litre V8 Rex

Next up is the mental Lexus 5.0-litre V8 powered Toyota Motorsport Hilux with 335 kW and 600 Nm of torque on tap that I got to terrorise my entire neighbourhood with.

This Hilux was affectionately named Rex, and it was as affectionate as you would expect a Rex to be. It was unbaffled and proper race bakkie loud, while also running ridiculously short gearing that always made it sound like you were doing double the speed limit.

Fastest bakkies in SA Toyota Hilux Rex
The restless Rex.

Despite the elderly Chairman of our Board of Trustees at the complex where I live calling the cops to have me arrested for reckless driving on public roads, I kept the real fast stuff for the Gerotek Test Facilities. There, Rex got to 100 km/h in 7.84 seconds, 160 km/h in 17.35 seconds and only stopped at 230 km/h.

3. Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute Standard

The Toyota Hilux pair would have ruled the roost at this stage if this was a double cabs-only battle, but this is an overall fastest bakkies battle, and that means you can include the likes of single cabs in the mix. And this means that the unicorn of all bakkies, the Chevrolet Lumina Ute, in SS 6.0-litre guise gets to play with.

In standard trim, the SS Ute produced a decent 270 kW of power and 530 Nm of torque. Even with the truck-like six-speed manual gearbox, I managed to get one to 100 km/h in a mere 6.67 seconds, 160 km/h in 15.12 seconds, and a top speed of 242 km/h back in. That was good enough to top our list for fastest bakkies … for the moment.

2. Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute Modified

A year later, we got to run one that had been modified in the old school way I referred to earlier, and this 6.0-litre SS Ute had a set of cams, a head job, branch, and filter fitted with a new tune to match.

SA's fastest bakkies Chevrolet Lumina SS UTE
The Chevrolet Lumina SS UTE might have been a high-performance vehicle, but it was still a bakkie.

Power now came in at 320 kW and the torque at 600 Nm, and the records tumbled as the new 0 to 100 km/h time was 5.71 seconds, the 0 to 160 km/h time 13.41 seconds and the top speed 265 km/h.

That easily topped the list of fastest bakkies … but not for long.

1. Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute Supercharged

Just like with the Hilux, a supercharger was added. Now you had 400 kW of whistling power and 785 Nm of ominous torque to fry the rear tyres at will.

Launching the bakkie at idle, the 0 to 100 km/h time to beat was set at 5.24 seconds, the 0 to 160 km/h time at 12.32 seconds, while the top speed made my eyes water at 280 km/h.

Despite it being a dedicated high performance Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute, it is still a bakkie and this is as about as fast as I would ever need to go in a bakkie. And so far, it has been.

It was game over in terms of who the winner of the contest of fastest bakkies in South Africa was, and still is, on our list.

The kings of our fastest bakkies charts

To see our overall chart for SA’s fastest bakkies, click on the link below.