Car reviews - HSV - GTS - 30 Years
Last of the GTS line celebrates HSV’s 30 years of motoring fun factor
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12 May 2017
IS IT really 30 years since Peter Brock, dressed in a tuxedo and bow tie, pulled a satin cover from his controversial HDT Director performance sedan at a nondescript reception centre in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield to trigger a chain of events that resulted in Holden ripping up HDT’s car construction contract with The General?
Holden had warned the race ace, both verbally from senior Holden executives and finally in a legal letter from its lawyers, not to launch the car, based on Holden’s VL Commodore, as GM engineers believed it breached the sacrosanct Australian Design Rules (ADRs).
As Holden’s name was on the car as the manufacturer, it felt its business was at risk of facing the wrath of Canberra. In the end, Brock went ahead, and so did Holden, severing the contract.
To fill the void, Holden went searching for a new performance car partner. Enter stage left Tom Walkinshaw, the gruff Scottish-born ex-racing driver and car-enhancer from the United Kingdom.
Enlisting Holden director John Crennan and Brock’s former right-hand man at HDT and racing partner John Harvey, Walkinshaw created Holden Special Vehicles 30 years ago this year, although the new entity did not produce any cars until 2008. Even then, that first car, the VL Group A SS race homologation Commodore, was sold under Holden badges.
Still, HSV came into being in 1987, and to celebrate, HSV has produced a run of 30 Year specials that, sadly, will also become the last big Aussie V8s to come from the company’s factory in Clayton as Holden folds its manufacturing tent in Australia.
To celebrate the long line of HSV V8 models, we drive the GTS, the hottest of the standard range and arguably the HSV variant that many fans will remember long after Aussie muscle cars are dead and buried.
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