IT WAS one of the most saddening automotive revelations of 2017. Not only did the awe-inspiring HSV GTSR W1 mark the end of homegrown V8 muscle sedan production in spectacular fashion, but we learned that the pilot car gracing the cover of Wheels in May had been condemned to the crusher.
But in a startling about turn, Manheim Auctions has today announced that the car, along with the final GTSR sedan and GTSR Maloo Ute, had not only been spared an untimely death, but will be offered for sale to the public.
In a short release today, the vehicle auction specialist confirmed “vehicles include the last built GTSR Sedan, the last built GTSR Maloo Ute and the press test pilot GTSR W1 which has been extensively featured in press reviews”.
The three incredibly significant cars will go under the hammer on Saturday March 17 at 2:00pm and interested parties should expect furious bidding. All 275 of the official production cars sold out soon after the announcement that the mighty LS9-powered model would be built, but today’s news gives hardcore (and well-heeled) enthusiasts one last chance to get their hands on one.
HSV marketing general manager Damon Paull explained that GTSR W1 number-one had been built as a fully registerable example from the start, and would not be subject to state-by-state rules that require some pre-production prototypes to be destroyed if they are built before homologation of a model.
“Pilots come in two forms,” he said. “There’s saleable and non-saleable pilots. Non-saleable pilots tend to be built nine to 12 months out from job one and saleable pilots tend to be a lot closer.
“This was built as a saleable pilot. Whilst it was never part of the 275 regular production vehicles for Australia.”
It is understood that HSV will retain its own pair of GTSRs for posterity but had decided to auction the very first “To give those fans an opportunity to purchase that part of Australian automotive history,” said Paull.
As for what W1 #1 will fetch at auction is anyone’s guess.
“In terms of what it will go for, I simply don’t know. There’s certainly going to be a strong level of interest we would expect.”
In September last year, W1 number 110 sold privately for $280,000 - $110,000 more than the original owner would have paid for the car and, given the provenance of the very first example, this insanely rare and desirable car is likely to break even more records.