THIS YEAR MARKS THE END OF HSV AS WE KNOW IT. WHILE THE BRAND WILL LIKELY SOLDIER ON, WE PAY TRIBUTE TO THREE GLORIOUS DECADES OF HOLDEN-BASED HAULERS
HSV’S HERO CARS UNITED
If you’re reading this, it is more than likely that you were exposed to Holden–Ford rivalry from a young age. If your dad or extended family didn’t hammer loyalty to one — and only one — brand into you, your schoolmates would have. The rivalry was kept alive through the intense heat of motorsport competition, spurred on by the old manufacturers’ motto of ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’. Some you win, some you lose. That applied to both Holden and Ford, and the win that meant the most was the Bathurst 1000 — the 1000km race at Mount Panorama Circuit, regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport down under. Throughout the heyday of Australian motor racing, the Holden Dealer Team (HDT) — a Holden-backed race team — was one of the biggest players in the field and scored numerous on-track victories between 1969 and 1986. Peter Brock, widely considered to be the bestever Australian racing driver, took over HDT in 1980 as Holden looked to cease its support of the team. Brock’s idea was simple: in exchange for financial backing from Holden dealers, HDT would manufacture a number of special highperformance Commodores, available only through the dealers that were backing HDT. That set the stage for Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) — not that anyone realized it in the early ’80s. It was only around 1986, when Peter Brock began pushing some seriously crazy ideas such as his ‘Energy Polarizer’ — a box containing crystals surrounded by magnets, which he believed would enhance performance and handling by ‘aligning the molecules’ of the car — that things began to fall into place for a new performance division to come to life. Seeking to distance itself from Brock’s controversial claims, Holden partnered with Tom Walkinshaw Racing in the late ’80s to create HSV, effectively cutting any remaining factory backing of HDT in the process. Since then, a queue of collectors has lined up to purchase the latest and greatest HSVs as they have rolled off the production line, each generation raising performance and technology. While the HSV GTSR W1 is the most powerful and highly specced HSV ever built, it’s also the final HSV to be produced on the Holden Commodore platform as we know it. With the HSV era ending, we set about getting together some of HSV’s biggest hitters from the years gone by. Special thanks to the HSV Owners Club, for making it possible, and to Turners Cars, Penrose, for giving us the room to pack in so many iconic machines.