Holden per­for­mance guru leaves to make car­a­vans

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

THE cre­ator of the most pow­er­ful car in Aus­tralia— the $100,000 su­per­charged Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles GTS— has shocked the car in­dus­try by re­sign­ing to take up a job with a car­a­van maker.

Joel Stod­dart, one of Aus­tralia’s most re­spected au­to­mo­tive boffins, has quit as HSV’s chief en­gi­neer just days be­fore his lat­est cre­ations started rolling off the pro­duc­tion line.

The 15-year vet­eran was one of HSV’s long­est serv­ing se­nior ex­ec­u­tives. The sud­den exit stunned in­dus­try ob­servers, who viewed it as omi­nous— but HSV says Stod­dart’s de­par­ture is not an in­di­ca­tion that it is scal­ing back its en­gi­neer­ing op­er­a­tions.

Holden boss Mike Dev­ereux said ear­lier this year the VF Com­modore would end in 2016. It is likely Holden will re­place it with a glob­ally de­vel­oped front­drive four-cylin­der sedan, be­lieved to have lit­tle po­ten­tial for the per­for­mance car di­vi­sion.

HSV sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Tim Jack­son says:

HSV is cat­e­gor­i­cally not scal­ing back its en­gi­neer­ing op­er­a­tions. Joel has been a fan­tas­tic as­set to HSV and we’re sad to see him leave. But as a great a leader, he left a great team be­hind him.’’

HSV im­me­di­ately filled the chief en­gi­neer role, ap­point­ing Graeme Dust­ing, who has worked there for more than a decade.

Stod­dart’s new job is head of re­search and de­vel­op­ment at Jayco, the big­gest car­a­van maker in Aus­tralia, pro­duc­ing about 10,000 new car­a­vans and mo­torhomes a year. It was sad to leave HSV af­ter all th­ese years and we parted on good terms, but it was time for a change,’’ Stod­dart says.

I have a lot of fond mem­o­ries. The high­lights for me were ob­vi­ously the lat­est HSV GTS, the limited edi­tion W427 and the all-wheel-drive Coupe4 pro­ject.’’

Stod­dart joined HSV as a pro­ject en­gi­neer in 1998 and spent 51/ years as chief en­gi­neer.

He was the main driv­ing force be­hind get­ting the su­per­charged V8 into the lat­est GTS. At sev­eral stages dur­ing de­vel­op­ment, HSV con­tem­plated drop­ping the idea.

Joshua Dowling

Ahitch in time: HSV chief en­gi­neer Joel Stod­dart, be­low, is leav­ing be­hind su­per­charged V8s at Holden but

he’ll still be in the van­guard

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