SO HERE we are. Holden Special Vehicles has revealed The Plan and it’s special bits for Colorados, gigantic Silverado trucks and right-hand-drive converted Camaros – news broken by MOTOR in our October 2017 issue. As you’ll read in our interview with Clayton powerbrokers Ryan Walkinshaw and Tim Jackson this issue, they’re seeing it as an opportunity to make the company bigger and stronger than ever. That includes moving to a larger, brand new facility and ambitions to output more vehicles than at the height of HSV’s Commodore-based success. Scaling back? Nope, they’re scaling up.
But at the same time that it’s a beginning, it’s a very obvious end. The HSV brand has effectively been put into quasi-hibernation. Reportedly, many HSV dealers will be rebranded Chevrolet in anticipation of Camaro and Silverado, with the HSV brand, for now, only going on Colorados in a secondary sense. Walkinshaw and Jackson have hinted there will be future models from the adored HSV brand but it’s not clear what, and when. And so for now, it’s a quiet and solemn goodbye to Aussie Commodore-based HSVs like our beloved Clubsport and GTS, the world’s best attainable muscle cars heading to the knackery long before they’ve run their last race. Now, HSV will gesture you towards a Camaro instead when the novated lease is up.
So what’s next for those who love the idea of a performance model, even if it’s from overseas, optimised for Australian tastes? Surely, given the GM internal politics we’ve heard of before, we’ll never see an HSV-enhanced Camaro so long as there’s a ZL1 around; it doesn’t make sense to put an HSV badge on a Chevrolet anyway. It might be up to the tuners to show the Yanks how a muscle car is done, Aussie-style – or a new secondary manufacturer.
There’s a glut of aftermarket parts available for Camaros in the States just begging to be put on a boat to Australia, and hopefully we might also see local operations the ilk of Harrop and KPM pick up the niche manufacturing mantle and offer homegrown parts at the level we’ve come to expect from them. We don’t know yet, but we’ll be keeping an eye on it.
All we know is, Falcon and Aussie Commodore are gone, but an appetite (and market) for uniquely Australian-style muscle cars has not. For enterprising types with their finger on the pulse, an opportunity awaits.