HSV's GTS-R: pre-RIP Irrelevant Bogan Flagship?

HSV's recent GTS-R speculation made ninety-nine out of 100 motoring journalists wet themselves spontaneously … but it’s really a last hurrah before the life support gets turned off


Holden Special Vehicles - HSV - Holden’s bad-taste bogan adaptation of what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz - has skipped off and trademarked the GTS-R nameplate for automotive and merchandise use. It’s the Donald Trump of badges. This is beyond enough for a premature jock-jizzing frenzy in some socio-economic subsets.

Headlining the speculation that a car might actually be built some time before the doomed Commodore factory closes: No comment from HSV, except for the firm possibility of a definite maybe that the car could, speculatively, be one day fitted with the supercharged LS9 V8 from the Chevy Corvette ZR1.

HSV's Current Bogan Flagship: The GTS

GTS-R promises 476kW and 891Nm - that’s 638 horsepower and 657 foot-pounds. Send no viagra now. This car will be the ultimate bozo barbecue trump card. Eclipsing even the current HSV cashed-up bogan flagship: the GTS (above) … by 46kW and 79Nm … and one dash-R.

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Previous GTS-R (Mid-1990s)

The last time HSV trotted out the GTS-R badge was 20 years ago - a retrospective jizz generator there, only available in leftover taxi yellow paint, with black wheels and a ridiculous drying rack on the lid of the boot/trunk. With 230kW and 475Nm. And a damn fine looking automobile it is, too, (I’m sure you’ll agree) when viewed through the rose-coloured glasses of history…

So, why not reignite the yellow paint passion of yesteryear as a fitting final tribute to HSV’s go-fast freak show? Straight from the senior executive level of the bumper bar and spoiler fitting factory in gorgeous Clayton, Victoria. HSV headquarters. It’s on all the tourist brochures. Move over, Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you’re not from Australia - visit Clayton before you die. Sorry. Correction: Visit Clayton and you will want to die. Like: Hi - I’m in Clayton. Patch me through to Dr Kevorkian, stat.

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GTS-R is really a hasty remake of the failed W427

HRT 427: heavily promoted, promised but ultimately flatlined and never built

HRT 427: heavily promoted, promised but ultimately flatlined and never built

This GTS-R could not be any more irrelevant than 2008’s absurd W427 project from HSV: The $155,000 boganmobile HSV had to build to get the egg off its face for not building the HRT 427 car it promised. 

That HRT - which does help women of a certain age - was based on the two-door Monaro. W427 was headlined as the fastest, most powerful HSV ever, with a name comprised of W for Walkinshaw and 427 after the seven-litre cubic capacity in inches - so that must have taken … what? … two, maybe three minutes in the boardroom?

You got 4.7 seconds to 100 kays per (that’s 60 miles an hour) plus 375kW and 640Nm. So, really just like a Corvette ZO6 … with four doors and a boot/trunk big enough for about four recently departed first-world meat eaters.

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Bold plans for selling 427 units were announced at the outset, with that car … you know, the dancing girls and the champagne. Usual kind of thing. But then, quietly, in the night, on 28 July 2009, HSV shut down W427 production at just 137 units. Almost - but not quite - 300 short of the initial target. Proving there’s a limit to what even the most cashed-up bogan will spend on this kind of thing.

Production economics 101: if you amortise the R&D cost of those bumper bars and the brothel-spec interior trim over 427 units, and then you sell only 137 … the term ‘budget black hole’ springs to mind. Kinda like if the W427 were a country, that country would be Greece. And these HSV Muppets - the company, not the individuals - are going to go again, with, essentially, the same fundamentals and a different badge. One-trick ponies...

HSV as Investment?

Maybe you’re thinking: Investment. You might buy the last, latest, fastest, most powerful HSV ever built. Be the envy of the other bogans. It’ll be between $100,000 and $150,000. Own a cool car, then retire on the nest egg as the value grows over time. Sound like a plan? Well, the W427 ‘investment experience’ should be a wake up call. Like, hello? Reality here. May I come in for a second? The $155,000 W427 from 2009 is worth about $75,000 as a private sale today, and about $65,000 as a trade-in. Ouch. You’ll see them advertised for more. They just don’t sell at those ego-inflated owner prices.

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Does HSV have a post-Commodore future?

So, enjoy the freak show over the next year or so, as HSV makes like an Australian automotive adaptation of Nero’s infamous performance on that pivotal July day in AD64. HSV boss Tim Jackson and engineering bigwig Joel Stoddart say HSV is here for the long haul, after the factory closes. They point to an as-yet undefined, but rosy, post-Commodore performance enhancing future - despite the evidence that every time they’ve tried hopping up a non-Commodore Holden, the result has been both cringeworthy and an irrelevant economic disaster. Personally I’m looking forward to seeing who, exactly, in the bogan heartland can be enthused by a bad set of bumpers and a killer towel rack on the lid of a Barina, a Cruze or a Craptiva from the old Daewoo factory in South Korea. Correction: from GM Korea. Because that’s what they call it now.

This ridiculously retrospective ‘maybe GTS-R’ closing chapter on HSV is emblematic of a GM Holden culture that still has its eyes locked on the rear-view mirror … because there really is no plan for mainstream relevance for Holden into the future. So let’s talk about you: If you’ve got too much money and you really want the fastest lastest HSV - whip out the black AmEx and go nuts. But don’t kid yourself it’ll be an investment icon into the future. Take a look at the 20-year-ago GTS-R and tell me you’ll still want this one in a couple of decades’ time, when it looks just as crook. A better 2016 GTS-R acquisition strategy is to wait five or six years, and buy one for half price - just like the W427 today. A bad-taste bogan bargain.

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If you’re not one of the hundreds of HSV-loving bogans who are doubtless declaring a fatwah on me right now, HSV akhbah, inshallah, if you’re not looking for your AK and a fresh clip, preparing for jihad with a certain vengeful gleam in your eye as my punishment for HSV heresy ... in other words, if you’re a normal functioning member of society, and you just want a non-ridiculous new car - without the traditional lubrication-lacking dealership pull-through, contact me via the red link below and we'll get you a normal new car cheap. Don’t forget to leave a comment below - especially if you’re one of the very few Kalashnikov waving HSV caliphate proponents who is also functionally literate - I'm looking forward to that.