Holden gets green light from Detroit to build $165,000 Commodore with supercharged Corvette power
MAY 27, 201611:44AM
The HSV GTS will form the basis of a new Holden supercar with Corvette power. Picture: Supplied.
News Corp Australia Network
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TALK about going out with a bang!
Holden will build a Commodore with more power than a Lamborghini as a high octane farewell present before the Adelaide production line falls silent next year.
The fastest and most powerful Commodore ever made will also be the most expensive, expected to cost in excess of $165,000 — almost twice the price of the dearest model on sale today.
It will be the last V8 sedan made locally, and the most powerful vehicle produced in more than 100 years of Australian car manufacturing.
Holden declined to comment on “future model plans”, however News Corp Australia can exclusively reveal General Motors in Detroit has finally given the green light to build a Commodore powered by the supercharged “LS9” V8 from the Corvette ZR1.
The supercharged V8 from the Corvette ZR1 is heading for the Commodore. Picture: Supplied.
The supercharged V8 from the Corvette ZR1 is heading for the Commodore. Picture: Supplied.Source:News Limited
The swan song supercar will eclipse the power of the current Commodore flagship — the Holden Special Vehicles GTS — with performance that will outpace the latest Porsches and Ferraris.
It will only be available with a manual gearbox because the engine has too much power for an automatic.
With in excess of 600 horsepower (or 475kW in modern terms) the limited edition will have more grunt than a V8 Supercar racing machine.
Fewer than 250 are expected to be built, as there are only a limited number of these particular supercharged V8 engines available out of the US.
The heart of the matter: the LS9 supercharged V8 has more than 600 horsepower.
Holden dealers have been inundated with inquiries following speculation on internet forums — but the project is so secret they too are in the dark.
Fan gossip says the car will be called “GTS-R”, a reference to a limited edition from 1996. But News Corp understands the new super sedan will have a unique name to reflect its exclusivity.
The supercar will be made by Holden Special Vehicles, a separate Melbourne-based firm that has been building Holden’s performance models for 29 years after the breakup with racing legend Peter Brock.
HSV GTS will get a more powerful stablemate, but the name is still a mystery. Picture: Supplied.
Part of the reason the Holden supercar is so expensive is because it will be built in a partially complete form on the Adelaide production line with the supercharged engine and gearbox from the HSV GTS — which will then be replaced by the “LS9” V8 at HSV in Melbourne.
It is not the first time HSV has performed a ‘heart transplant’.
In 2008 the company replaced the “donor” Holden engine with a massive 7.0-litre V8 from a racing version of the Corvette; in the end 137 HSV W427 cars were built at a cost of $155,500 each. Production ended prematurely in 2009 as the Global Financial Crisis took hold.
With buyers holding out for the last locally made Commodores, Holden is confident the supercar will be an instant sellout — especially as the imported Commodore due in 2018 will only have four-cylinder and V6 power.
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IT’S a new Holden Monaro, but not as we know it!
This sleek coupe unveiled in Detroit overnight is set to become the successor to the Holden Monaro.
The concept car might be wearing Buick badges but the grille has been designed to accommodate the proud Holden symbol as the company looks to source 24 new imported models from around the world by 2020.
Sleek lines ... The Buick Avista has a twin turbo V6 engine. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
While there is not a V8 under the bonnet, the next generation Holden Monaro will have a twin turbo V6 with just as much grunt as a V8. For the tech heads: that’s 300kW of power.
Most importantly for performance-car fans, however, the sporty coupe is rear-wheel-drive — just like every Holden Monaro since 1968.
Holden is yet to officially confirm the arrival of the two-door Buick — or if it will wear the iconic Monaro badge — but News Corp Australia understands the coupe will arrive in local showrooms in 2018 to challenge the Ford Mustang, which has become an instant sellout success.
Behind the wheel ... Get into gear in the new Buick Avista. Picture: Supplied.
Behind the wheel ... Get into gear in the new Buick Avista. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
The Buick-sourced coupe will at least be some consolation after General Motors executives confirmed last year there would not be a V8 version of the next generation Holden Commodore, likely to come from Opel in Germany once the Holden factory in Elizabeth closes in 2017.
The Holden Commodore of the future is expected to be powered by a choice of four-cylinder or V6 power, and front-drive or all-wheel-drive only, which is perhaps why enthusiasts are rushing Holden showrooms to get the last of the V8 model.
Although Commodore sales were their second lowest on record last year, more than one-third built was a V8, the highest proportion in the nameplate’s 38-year history.
Luxury ... The cockpit of the Buick Avista is designed to be comfortable and stylish. Picture: Supplied.
Luxury ... The cockpit of the Buick Avista is designed to be comfortable and stylish. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
Holden sold the Monaro from 1968 to 1977 based on the Kingswood, and then from 2001 to 2006 based on the Commodore.
Holden secretly designed a two-door version of the latest Commodore but it was scrapped having never seen the light of day after General Motors went bankrupt in the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis.
The HSV GTS-R nameplate could be making a comeback in the guise of a Gen-F2 HSV if a recent trademark registration is anything to go by, marking 20 years since the original HSV VS GTS/R.
The trademark registration, which was registered on December 2, 2015, covers both vehicles and merchandise. It was during 1996 that HSV last used the GTS-R moniker with the VS GTS/R. Limited to just 85 units, the GTS/R was built to closely resemble the Holden Racing Team V8 Supercars race vehicles circling Mount Panorama.
Priced from AU$75,000, GTS/R owners were flown to Melbourne to inspect the build of their vehicle and were also awarded a personalised apparel pack. They also only had one colour choice — Yellah — a bright burnt yellow that is now synonymous with this road-going race car.
The original GTS/R was also the first production HSV to feature external carbon fibre decals on the wheels and side skirts.
Only 15 per cent of the 85 vehicles produced were further Blueprinted to increase power output from 215kW to 226kW of power from its 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V8.
Blueprinted versions fetched an extra AU$11,000 when new. One example — build number 002 — sold for almost $200,000 in 2008, while another higher mileage example is currently for sale with an asking price of almost AU$100,000.
While there are rumours circulating that the 2016 HSV GTS-R will use an LS9 engine and bespoke components, it's unlikely to be go beyond the current LSA configuration. The cost of engineering a bespoke engine and components would far outweigh the return on investment.
In 2013 when the HSV Gen-F GTS first launched, HSV engineers spoke of the troubles getting the LSA project over the line and the challenges in cooling the engine and its components sufficiently. They also said that returning an investment on the LSA project required three years of production, plus the latest spread across most of the HSV range.
HSV engineering manager Graeme Dusting told CarAdvice that the total HSV Gen-F project was “definitely the most expensive [program] in HSV’s history” he also claimed that “the business case is on fairly conservative volumes, across three years…”
To get the supercharged V8 project approved, Dusting claimed there were “an unbelievable amount of hoops to jump through” but HSV formulated a firm case to build the car and Holden engineering and manufacturing ultimately gave the project the green light.
“Holden engineering didn’t think we’d keep it [the supercharged V8] cool enough because they had trouble with Camaro during development. And the Adelaide plant didn’t want to build it,” he said.
If we were to make a prediction, the GTS-R project could comfortably see the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 in the current Gen-F2 GTS take a 10 per cent power hike from 430kW and 740Nm to around 475kW and 800Nm.
In 1996, the VS GTS/R fetched an extra 15 per cent over the regular GTS, which could mean that the Gen-F2 GTS-R will carry a price tag of around $120,000 and a limited run to retain exclusivity.
The fact that HSV's trademark covers merchandise and apparel suggests that it could follow suit with the historical GTS/R by offering owners an exclusive apparel and merchandise pack to go with their purchase.
Given that Holden will cease manufacturing in Australia by late 2017, an announcement for GTS-R would logically be placed during 2016 to give the limited range a decent run.
CarAdvice contacted HSV for comment, but they declined to comment on future products.
Many Commodores are now reaching an age where their engine mounts are beginning to crack and fail due to the high torque they have been placed under throughout their lifetime. Signs of a worn engine mount could include engine vibrations, misalignment, engine damage, broken belts and hoses or excessive noise.
Most modern Commodores are equipped with hydraulic engine mounts, which feature a fluid chamber designed to dampen noise and vibration into the cars cabin. Although these mounts do offer comfort they are certainly more prone to failing under the heavy loads placed on them.
There are many options available to replace these mounts, though often aftermarket upgrades can be costly and overkill for street use resulting in an uncomfortable ride. These Transgold engine mounts are an affordable solution and a direct OEM replacement to help counter any excessive movement that could be occurring under your hood.
You can pick up the Transgold mounds for around $55 from Supercheap Auto stores or online [URL="http://clixtrac.com/goto/?211411"]HERE to suit the LS1 fitted in the VT-VZ commodore range, V6 VE Commodore and many more.