Muscle car masters

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

TOBY HAGON

AUSTRALIANS have never had it so good when it comes to topshelf affordable V8s – and the smorgasbord is set to expand.

With the imminent end of local manufacturing there’s a wave of newcomers, updates and replacements set to continue the legacy of high-performance V8s.

Ford’s Mustang is leading the charge, capably filling the void set to be left by the Falcon XR8 (and FPVs before it) come October.

That the Mustang has such a rich heritage and large following in its US homeland ensures a plethora of possibilities over and above the GT.

Chrysler has no intention of letting go of its small but significant patch of V8 turf. The latest 6.4-litre 300 SRT was created almost purely for Australia, an indication of how seriously the company takes demand from Down Under.

Chrysler is also working on making the hugely popular Hellcat – with its 527kW supercharged V8 – available here. In the medium term, that engine will arrive in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to create a new SUV benchmark.

Wheels also understands GM’s interest has been piqued by the success of the Mustang here, prompting it to reconsider the Camaro for Australia. The Alpha platform the car sits on is engineered for right-hand drive, but the Camaro itself isn’t. It’s a big job, and could be shelved until the next-gen Camaro, due about 2020.

Then there’s one last V8 gasp coming from HSV in the form of the GTS-R. As we’ve previously revealed, HSV is set to shoehorn a new supercharged V8 (possibly the LS9 from the Corvette ZR1) into the VF Commodore architecture.

But Holden’s V8 showroom hero will be the next-gen Corvette, finally produced from the factory in right-hand drive. It’ll be low volume and expensive.

This is all a long way from the ’90s and noughties, when the V8 choices were predominantly limited to a Falcon or Commodore.

Long may it continue!

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

What is it: The Hellcat engine stuffed into the Grand Cherokee What to expect: One of the world’s fastest SUVs, making use of the 527kW 6.2-litre supercharged V8 When: 2017 or 2018

Chrysler 300 SRT

What is it: The flagship of the 300 range What to expect: A suitable replacement with a Hemi V8.

Chrysler considered switching its V8 offering to the Dodge brand (as in the US) but Australia may stick with Chrysler. A Hellcat version is also likely for the next generation When: 2019 or beyond

Chevrolet Corvette

What is it: The fastest, sexiest car GM produces What to expect: A Corvette produced from the factory with the steering wheel on the right.

It’ll be sold in Holden dealerships, but don’t expect a Holden badge.

This baby will be pure Corvette When: 2019

HSV GTS-R

What is it: A planned sendoff for the HSV Gen F2 What to expect: A 475kWplus V8 (possibly the Corvette ZR1’s LS9) hero version of the GTS When: 2017, prior to the late-year shutdown of Holden manufacturing off ex plus po Z t 201 sh ma GE