Ticket to HSV’s Clubsport ranks
HE spectacular demise of Peter Brock’s HDT Special Vehicles after his infamous bust-up with Holden l e f t a chasm in the performance-car market that was never going to be unfilled for long.
Brock showed there was demand for cars with a little more performance and panache than the regular production models could offer.
His retuned and restyled Commodores instantly struck a chord with go-fast fanatics and they sold like hotcakes.
Holden too was aware of the demand and quickly found another partner, Tom Walkinshaw, for a new venture, Holden Special Vehicles.
The HSV Clubsport has been the mainstay of the HSV range over the years and remains so today. WHEN Walkinshaw picked up the Holden brief he really just took up where Brock left off, though without the Brock signature that made the HDT Special Vehicles cars so special. As with Brock before him, Walkinshaw changed the appearance of the Commodore by adding a bolt-on body kit, usually made up of fibreglass or plastic front and rear bumpers, a rear boot lid spoiler, side skirts and badging. Special alloy wheels completed the picture.
Inside it had sports seats, special dials, cruise-control, CD sound with six speakers, power windows and mirrors and a trip computer.
Mechanically it had upgraded springs, shock absorbers and sway bars, larger brakes and special HSV alloy wheels with low-profile tyres.
Under the bonnet the VT Clubsport had a 5-litre Holden V8, the last model to get the local V8, and with some special tuning from HSV the output was pushed up to 195kW at 5200 revs and 530Nm at 3600 revs.
The transmission choices were a four-speed auto or a five-speed manual box, both of which were beefed up to cope with the extra engine grunt.
When the VT II upgrade arrived in 2000 a 5.7-litre Gen III V8 had replaced the old Holden engine, and a six-speed manual had replaced the five-speed gearbox.
On the lot
PAY $11,000-$13,000 for a VT, or $14,000-$16,000 for a VT II update.
Though the car’s value is still declining, there will probably be a point in the next five to 10 years where the value will stabilise and might even go up again. That’s when the rarity factor kicks in and people realise the number of cars available is declining.
In the shop
BUYING a Clubsport requires a little more diligence than buying an ordinary Commodore. For starters it’s important to make sure it’s a real HSV Clubsport and not a clone made up to look like one.
Check for an HSV build plate, but even that isn’t an iron-clad guarantee that a car is genuine. A phone call to HSV is worthwhile to help verify a car’s credentials.
It’s also important to check that all the HSV features are still on the car. A
sure way to devalue the Clubsport is to fit regular Commodore or aftermarket parts when the genuine HSV parts break or wear out.
It helps to have someone knowledgeable in HSV models cast an eye over a car before purchase. An HSV club is a good point to start for info and assistance in buying a car.
Once you’ve established the car is real, carefully check it for signs of a hard life.
Clubsports are often driven hard, so take careful note of transmission noises, clutch operation and diff clunks and noises.
The VT/VT II was renowned for rear tyre wear, so look for worn tyres, and take particular note of any uneven wear across the tyre tread. The wear is a function of the independent suspension, and is made worse by towing.
Kits are available from suspension specialists such as Pedders to correct the problem, and it’s worth fitting them to get more life out of the tyres.
The Gen III V8 was also renowned for its high oil consumption and rattles. Holden developed fixes for problem engines, so that should have been sorted out, but take note anyway.
In a crash
SOLID body construction made for a good foundation for crashworthiness, which was boosted by a driver’s airbag.
It also had good active safety with a sound chassis backed up by standard ABS anti-skid brakes and traction control.
At the pump
HSV owners were not too fussed about fuel economy. Performance was their priority, so they weren’t too alarmed to find a VT/VT II Clubsport would do 13-16 litres/100km on average.
The bottom line
A future classic muscle car that can be driven daily now.
Power and glory: the VT HSV Clubsport could be a classic.