For the first time in its 30 year history, Holden Special Vehicles finds itself at a major crossroads. With the end of Aussie-built Commodore forcing a total reinvention of the brand, from Camaro to Colorado we reveal HSV's future strategy - and chat exclusively with the decision makers themselves
FULL details of HSV’s bold new direction with which it hopes to win over Aussie enthusiasts
054 THE INTERVIEW
TIM Jackson and Ryan Walkinshaw sit down to explain the logic behind HSV’s plans
062 THE LAST DRIVE
A FINAL outing on road and track in the last Aussie-built HSV model, the Gen-F2 GTSR
072 BUILDING A W1
MOTOR gets its hands dirty building the fastest and most powerful Aussie car ever
THE PAST 12-18 months have been at times sombre ones at MOTOR HQ.
We’ve planned, prepared and produced commemorative issues farewelling the locally built Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore, in the process saying goodbye to a large chunk of Australia’s automotive industry.
This issue is different. Yes, we’re farewelling HSV as we’ve known it for 30 years – a hot-rod shop primarily focused on Commodores – but there’s also a good news story to tell as HSV and the wider Walkinshaw Group will offer new vehicles to Australian enthusiasts which are intended to grow the business in both sales and the number of people it employs.
Leading the charge, initially at least, is the product that’s the biggest departure from HSV’s traditional offering, the Holden Colorado SportsCat by HSV. The ‘by HSV’ suffix is due to the SportsCat not receiving a power boost beyond the standard Colorado’s 147kW/440Nm (500Nm in auto guise). It was investigated, but gains would have been marginal for the outlay required and HSV did not feel comfortable giving the vehicle its full branding without providing a power increase.
HSV’s engineering expertise has been applied elsewhere, with the standard SportsCat receiving 18 x 10-inch wheels wearing 285/60 Cooper Zeon LTZ Pro tyres, retuned suspension and ESP, to which the SportsCat+ adds larger AP Racing brakes, the option of Supashock suspension and a rear anti-roll bar which decouples automatically when low-range is selected.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but production will start in January 2018.
The second branch of HSV’s new operations is undertaking right-hand drive conversions of the Chevrolet Silverado and Camaro. Despite its MOTORworthy outputs of 332kW/1234Nm, the enormous Silverado is aimed at those who require heavy-duty towing capabilities. Of most interest to the majority of
MOTOR readers will be the Chevrolet Camaro. As first reported by MOTOR in our October 2017 issue, HSV will complete the right-hand drive conversion of the iconic muscle car in its new Clayton headquarters having received the crucial green light from General Motors that made the project financially viable.
While an obvious rival for the Ford Mustang, HSV’s business case is believed to be built on around 1000 units per year, well short of the 9000-or-so Mustangs that will find homes in Australia in 2017 (8714 to the end of November). Pricing won’t be confirmed until closer to the Camaro’s July 2018 release date, but MOTOR understands it’s aiming for the $80,000-$85,000 mark.
This is a substantially more than the Mustang, however, HSV will only be importing the high-spec 2SS model, which is more powerful and better-equipped than its Blue Oval rival.
Powering the Camaro is GM’s latest 6.2-litre LT1 V8 producing 340kW/615Nm through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Performance figures are yet to be released, but based on US testing we’d expect 0-100km/h in around 4.8sec for the manual and 4.5sec for the auto.
Also standard on the 2SS are Brembo brakes and Chevrolet’s sports-tuned suspension, though there’s currently no word on if the optional MagneRide dampers, such as those fitted to the HSV GTS, will be available to Australian customers. Inside, there’s electrically adjustable heated and ventilated seats, a nine-speaker Bose audio system and head-up display.
HSV’s existing dealers – 58 in Australia and six in New Zealand – will be rebranded Chevrolet, though an HSV presence will still be required as the brand expects to offer as many as five models in years to come. As part of its new long-term agreement with Holden, HSV effectively now has access to the entire GM catalogue, whether that be hotting up Holden’s offerings or converting the more niche products.
Over the next 25 pages, we’ll celebrate what’s been, while investigating what’s to come.