HSV - Holden Special Vehicles Reviews and Road Tests
Holden Special Vehicles is a joint operation between the Tom Walkinshaw Racing Group (TWR), who own 75%, and GMH . Following the formula established by HDT under the leadership of Peter Brock, HSV use models from the Commodore and Statesman range to produce high performance, and highly desirable versions. The emphasis has always been on performance modifications, but with each new model Commodore HSV has included greater body kit and interior change to uniquely identify them from the more run-of-the-mill iterations.
Through clever marketing, HSV enjoys an image that evokes excitement, and has continued to push the boundaries with concept and one off vehicles. Customer loyalty to the brand is unsurpassed, with turnover of vehicles low and resale prices high. The logo is an amalgamation of the Holden logo (the lion) and a Racing Driver, which highlights the profile HSV has with the Australian Touring Car Championship through the Holden Racing Team (HRT).
1988 - 1989
The Walkinshaw Commodore was at first rather difficult to sell. For starters, it was not a “Brock Commodore”, and the price was almost as over the top as the gregarious body kit. Holden had undeniably got it wrong, deciding that instead of producing the required 500 units they would instead produce 750. Meanwhile HSV set about creating a more sedate Calais SV88 model, which was released in April 1988. More>>
1988 - 1991
The first of the HSV’s for the VN series Commodore was, however, not particularly special. The SV3800 was released in October 1988, the name indicating the size of the new V6 carried over from the donor car. The HSV body kit certainly gave the car a more sporting appearance, and suspension mods firmed up the handling and steering. More>>
1991 - 1993
There wasn’t much to separate the VP over the outgoing VN, cosmetically anyway. But that would selling the VP short. HSV were quick to incorporate IRS and other Holden improvements into it’s own range. The VP would see HSV clock up their 5000th vehicle, and only two years later with the same model their 8000th, the latter marked by the release of 138 special edition 5th Anniversary models – each painted in Galaxy Blue over Panorama Silver. More>>
1993 - 1995
The new model HSV displayed bolder lines than its predecessors, courtesy of a beautifully proportioned body kit which featured a specially designed bumper incorporating large central air intake flanked by smaller cooling slots for brake cooling. You could now option your Club Sport with a 185kW version of the ever reliable 5.0 litre V8; among the enhancements were a recalibrated GM-Delco engine management system linked to a Bosch electronic ignition, a cold air box fed denser air to the system and reworked exhaust headers designed to reduce back pressure. More>>
1995 - 1997
With each successive model change in the HSV line-up, the aspirant’s vehicle of choice had been edging little by little out of the financial reach of most. Remembering the quote from John Harvey with the release of the VP Club Sport, that HSV wanted to create a performance vehicle within the range of “Mr. Joe Average” (although any HSV is anything but average), so begat the new entry level Manta sedan and wagons. More>>