Pictures of what appears to be the last of the Commodore-based HSV models have been posted on the Club VF Facebook page in Australia.
The lightly camouflaged sedans and utes are said to be undergoing final production at Holden Special Vehicles’ plant in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton before being signed off as milestone 2017 models in the last year of Holden Commodore production.
Among them is believed to be the ‘GTS-R’ sedan, registered as a trademark by HSV last year. The ‘R’ is said to be the most powerful GTS ever – the hero model that honours HSV’s contribution to Australia’s go-fast car scene.
Some media across the Tasman say the ‘R’ will be powered by General Motors’ supercharged LS9 engine, the unit from the Corvette ZR1. The 6.2-litre V8 delivers 476kW at 6600rpm and 814Nm at 4200rpm.
But measured heads among the Australian motoring press believe that HSV couldn’t afford to build a limited-edition Commodore with an LS9 engine. Why? For starters, HSV would need to import a new gearbox to handle the LS9’s torque output.
The six-speed Tremac TR-6060 gearbox in the current HSV range is an MG9 variant limited to 759Nm of torque. The gearbox in the Corvette ZR1 is the MH3 variant of the TR-6060, good for 881Nm of torque.
Engineering and compliance costs for the LS9 engine and MH3 gearbox would be counter-productive. The engine alone costs US$26,000. HSV isn’t rolling in cash – its 2015 profit of just over A$3.0 million was down roughly 45 per cent on the A$5.7 million it earned in 2104.
Three new colours are expected to come with 2017 HSV models: bright green Spitfire, burnt orange Light My Fire, and a dark Son of a Gun. Among the pictures here are the Maloo with new exhaust outlets; and what could be the GTS-R, coloured Son of a Gun, with quad exhausts, and camouflaged wheels.