HSV Commodore VS

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HSV Commodore VS

1995 - 1997
  5.0 to 5.7 ltr.
  185 & 215kW
  6 spd. man; 4 spd. auto
Top Speed:
  223 km/h
Number Built:
  4 star
HSV Commodore VS
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4


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.

To help keep costs to a minimum, HSV used parts from the Holden SS body kit rather than use the fully blown HSV version, but no compromise was made where it counted.

Blessed with the wonderfully free-revving 185i HSV V8 mated to a five speed manual or four speed auto, the word Manta came to mean optimum performance in a more minimalist style.

All VS HSV’s were now fitted with a 250 km/h speedometer (excluding the Manta which carried over the standard SS version), now readily identified with special HSV insignia. Other standard kit included some boot luggage tie down rings, colour-keyed seatbelt webbing, dual horns (for the Chapel Street cruisers) and a fire extinguisher.

The GTS-R was the obvious stand-out to the HSV range, painted in XU-2 Yellah with matching seat colour inserts, it featured a massive race-style rear wing, the styling arguably more in-your-face than the VL Walkinshaw. But unlike some fibreglass clad wannabe’s on the road today, the GTS-R could back up its pimp-my-ride looks with some serious muscle.

In total, only 75 were built for Australia and 10 for New Zealand, all using the brutal 215i 5.7 litre HSV engine, blueprinting available as an option, the rear wheels driven via a T56 six speed gearbox and Hydratrak diff. Enough to wipe the smirk off any pretenders.

Those that purchased a GTS-R new were given a tour of the HSV facilities, lunch with the managers, and then a tour of the race facilities, all finished off with a photo opportunity. Not that any owner really needed any reassurance that they were buying something special – particularly when their new car was capable of a 0 – 100 km/h sprint in around 6 seconds.

The HSV iteration of the Statesman was dubbed the “Grange”, and was available with either the 185i or 215i engines. Launched in October 1996, it was appropriately supplied with a bottle of arguably the best plonk to ever come out of Australia the “Grange Hermitage”. The Grange was a fantastic car, but we are not in a position to comment on the Hermitage – but for our more modest budget if it comes anywhere near the Grant Burge Meshash then lets hope the new owners cellared it.

To help keep your HSV secure when parked at the local railway station, HSV introduced the ISS, or Integrated Security System. As claimed, there was no single way for a thief to beat the system which automatically isolated the three essential electrical systems when the ignition was switched off.

In addition, each build number was printed onto a holographic HSV logo embedded into the dashboard, and any attempt to remove the badge from the dash would cause the number to be destroyed. It goes without saying that if you are purchasing a VS HSV, this is the first thing you should check out.

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