Ticket to HSV’s Clubs­port ranks

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

TModel watch

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.