As HSV kicks off its farewell tour of rear-drive v8s, We look back at the HSV GTS-R W1’s most significant forebears.
2001 HSV GTS Coupe
Holden rebirthed its iconic Monaro coupe in 2001, and HSV capitalised on the performance benefits of its sleek two-door body shape. The Monaro-based GTS Coupe was a rocketship; with a standing 400m time of 13.7sec, it was the fastest accelerating home-grown car of its era. It used a tweaked 5.7-litre LS1 V8, dubbed C4B, sourced from Callaway in the US. Its outputs totalled 300kW at 6000rpm and 510Nm at a peaky 4800rpm.
What we said: “The hot-looking GTS is a totally unique beast. Punters adore it. Drivers respect it. Hoons worship it.” – Wheels, April ’02
2008 HSV E-Series W427
At $155,500, the W427 was the most expensive car ever sold by HSV – until the W1. Built in limited numbers to celebrate HSV’s 20th anniversary, W427 was a remarkably cohesive effort, featuring a sensational 375kW/640Nm 7.0-litre LS7 V8 from the Corvette Z06 that revved to nearly 7000rpm. Unique 20-inch alloys with a convex face accommodated huge six-piston brakes. HSV intended to build 427, but the GFC hit and only 137 were delivered.
The Gen-F range was a landmark for HSV, and GTS was king of the castle. Its supercharged 430kW LSA V8 produced more power than any HSV before it, and it managed to apply that grunt in ways previous generations never could. Though Gen-F was based on the existing Zeta platform, GTS was a significantly altered car. A heavy duty rear end and extensive refinement of existing components gave the Gen-F GTS a level of dynamic excellence and outright performance unseen in an HSV.
What we said: “The blown GTS has, for the first time, what feels like real V8 Supercar DNA. It’s a performance Commodore as sophisticated as any of its rivals, regardless of price.“ – Wheels, Sept ’13
Unveiled at 1987’s Sydney Motor Show, the ‘Walky’ is arguably the most recognisable HSV of all time. The VL SS Group A introduced electronic fuel injection to the 5.0-litre Holden V8, producing 180kW. HSV designed it for competition first, showroom second. Masses of plastic bodywork made it one of the wildest-looking Aussie road cars ever created, but it was built like that to win races – and it worked, claiming two Bathurst 1000 titles.
What we said: “It is … aimed solely at racing. And that is the rationale for this car. The result is the finest ever Australian Supercar.” – Wheels, March ’88
Not only was this R-rated HSV acceptable in the ’90s, it was fashionable. Whether searing ‘Yellah’ duco and touring-car-inspired spoilers are remembered as ugly or iconic, the original GTS-R was significant. Based around the acclaimed GTS and its stroked, home-grown 5.7-litre V8, peak power of 230kW (in the HRT-optimised ‘blueprint’ version) was big for 1996. A Tremec T56 six-speed manual was the only transmission and a Hydratrak LSD was standard. Production was limited to just 85 units.
What we said: “HSV’s eye-popping GTS-R is an exclamation mark… an in-your-face muscle car with Schwarzenegger swagger.” – Wheels, Nov ’95