It is impossible to celebrate the history of the Commodore without doffing our hats and saying happy 30th anniversary to the first Holden Special Vehicles model, the SV88.
HSV, a joint-venture between GeneralMotors-Holden and Scottish racer and automotive entrepreneur Tom Walkinshaw (his family now owns it), rose from the ashes of the bitter and public divorce between Peter Brock’s HDT Special Vehicles and the General in 1987.
HSV’s first employee was John Harvey who did much of the groundwork in establishing the business, finding premises, sourcing suppliers and convincing dealers in late 1987. A short time later former Holden Sales and Marketing boss John Crennan joined the fledgling organisation as its first CEO, a position he then held for over two decades.
Until local Holden production ceased in October 2017, HSV produced the most powerful and desirable of all Holden Commodores, from VL to VF II, as well as fettling Statesmans, Monaros and utes with name plates like Maloo, Senator, Grange, GTS and probably its most famous moniker, Clubsport, which John Harvey came up with.
Virtually all HSVs were V8 powered and, until the past few seasons, its Holden Race Team was the dominant force in V8 Supercar racing. The operation enjoyed strong corporate support and had an enviable roll call of drivers including Craig Lowndes, Mark Skaife, Garth Tander and even Peter Brock who ultimately returned to the Holden factory fold.
Since that first SV88 rolled out of the Notting Hill factory in 1988, over 85,000 Holdens have benefitted from the special enhancement that is HSV’s stock-in-trade.