HSV Commodore VR
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
The upgrade from VP to VR represented a significant
change, none less so than for HSV. By now, the brand
had matured into something wild and exciting, the envy
of most and able to match it with the best European
machinery going around – and on a price basis
they well surpassed almost anything on the market.
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
to reduce back pressure.
Larger 17x8 alloys previously reserved for the Senator’s
were now standard fare, as was ABS. And now the family
man could partake in a little HSV magic, with both
sedan and wagon version of the Club Sport being available
(the longer-wheelbase wagon version utilising the side
skirts developed for the Statesman).
For the GTS, HSV stroked the engine out to a stonking
5.7 litres, or 350ci. Not since the days of the Monaro
GTS had this figure been mentioned in the company of
a Holden, however in HSV guise the unit was good for
an awesome 215kW and 475Nm.
When fitted to the Senator,
it was mated to a six speed box and new high performance “Hydratrak” differential,
developed entirely in Australia as a joint initiative
of HSV and BTR.
The GTS featured a larger rear spoiler and distinctive
GTS badges on the flanks, the switch away from decals
making the car immediately appear far more up-market.
Unlike Henry Ford’s model T, there were at least
three colours from which to choose, Diablo Red, Sherbrooke
Green and Alaskan White.
Some protagonists argued the
GTS had evolved into more of a grand-tourer than race-bred
special, and their argument was somewhat founded when
you considered the standard fixtures list, which included
air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows, power
door mirrors and a security coded sound system.
At the upper end of the HSV range was the Statesman
and Caprice, the latter iteration fitted exclusively
with the 215i engine. The larger wheelbase HSV’s
were always going to be a compromise on comfort vs.
performance, and so the HSV engineers choose to fir
16x8 wheels shod with higher profile 65 series tyres.
The ride was supple and refined, and didn’t give
much away from a handling
perspective. And it could
always be argued that the GTS also contained many creature
comforts – that was until you hit the windy