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Con­firmed: the most pow­er­ful Aussie car ever is com­ing

Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS - by TEAM MO­TOR

HSV’s yella beast re­turns; Porsche’s lat­est fast limo

HOW’S this for an ex­cla­ma­tion point to mark the end of the lo­cal car in­dus­try? Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles is about to re­set its own benchmark as the cre­ator of the most pow­er­ful Australian-made car of all time.

The epic 476kW/820Nm LS9 su­per­charged 6.2-litre V8 from the pre­vi­ous-gen­er­a­tion Corvette ZR1 is com­ing to the Com­modore. While there has long been spec­u­la­tion about Com­modore adopt­ing the LS9, MO­TOR can con­firm the project only got the green light in re­cent weeks.

Most of the engi­neer­ing work un­til then had been the­o­ret­i­cal. Com­puter sim­u­la­tions were run to see if the Com­modore’s body could han­dle the LS9’s awe­some 820Nm of torque and how the en­gine might pair with the VF’s elec­tronic ar­chi­tec­ture. There were early dis­cus­sions about who would fit the en­gine; to keep costs down it would have been bet­ter to fit the LS9 on Holden’s pro­duc­tion line at El­iz­a­beth, SA.

The LSA in­tro­duced at VF (or “Gen-F” in HSV-speak) in 2013 is al­ready a big enough stretch for Holden’s mass-pro­duc­tion line. It was even­tu­ally de­cided the only way LS9 was go­ing in a Com­modore was if HSV in­stalled it at Clay­ton, Vic­to­ria.

That’s in part why the LS9-pow­ered HSV will cost close to $165,000 when it hits show­rooms in 2017. Be­cause it will get built with two en­gines, even though each cus­tomer only gets one.

HSV’s new su­per­car will ini­tially be built as a GTS on the El­iz­a­beth pro­duc­tion line and then get trans­ported to HSV in Clay­ton in its usual par­tially-com­plete form. Although it seems a waste to get the car built with an LSA en­gine only to take it out again, HSV

wanted all the other hard­ware the LSA brings, such as the stronger dif­fer­en­tial and axles, and ex­tra cool­ing an­cil­lar­ies.

Once at HSV, the LSA will come out and the LS9 will go in, a process it per­fected with the W427, when the mas­sive 7.0-litre V8 was in­stalled by hand be­tween 2008 and 2009. If you can only drive an au­to­matic, this car’s not for you. It will come with the ZR1’s six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion only.

Don’t hold your breath for a power in­crease to 500kW or be­yond; the LS9 is al­ready so pow­er­ful, it’s un­der­stood HSV does not want to fur­ther stress the driveline. Main­tain­ing the stan­dard power and torque out­puts (as HSV did with the LSA) means the LS9 will keep its GM-tested re­li­a­bil­ity stan­dards.

While HSV is un­der­stood to have de­vel­oped a unique sus­pen­sion cal­i­bra­tion for its fi­nal su­per­car, ap­pear­ance changes will be rel­a­tively lim­ited. The front bumper, rear wing, rear bumper in­serts, unique (but still 20-inch) wheels, and badg­ing are ex­pected to find them­selves un­der the scalpel for some cos­metic surgery.

The rear wing won’t be a cen­tremounted surf board sim­i­lar to the one fit­ted to the GTS-R from 1996. The alu­minium boot-lid can’t han­dle the ex­tra weight and stress of such a de­sign.

Like the W427, the front fas­cia is ex­pected to have a dra­matic ap­pear­ance change, which may not sound like a big deal, but trust us, it is. Front bumpers cost a cool $1 mil­lion (or there­abouts) to tool up, test and pro­duce be­cause they must meet crash safety stan­dards.

This adds mas­sive cost to the devel­op­ment of any car, but even more so when only about 250 bumpers (plus some spares) will be made.

Don’t ex­pect a see-through panel in the bon­net (as per the Corvette ZR1) to show-off the flashy LS9; the cost to re-en­gi­neer and re-test a new bon­net is also pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive.

And don’t ex­pect to see car­bon­ce­ramic brake discs or car­bon­fi­bre wheels. The GTS six-pis­ton front calipers (made by AP Rac­ing for HSV to its be­spoke de­sign) and 390mm discs are al­ready the big­gest ever fit­ted to an Australian pro­duc­tion car.

The cost to con­duct val­i­da­tion and sta­bil­ity con­trol test­ing on car­bon-ce­ramic brakes would have blown the bud­get. Same deal for car­bon-fi­bre wheels. These items alone would have added at least $60K to the cost of each car.

Con­trary to spec­u­la­tion, the GTS-R badge won’t be used on this

End of the line: HSV’s swan­song Com­modore might not look ex­actly like our il­lus­tra­tions, but it will be breath­tak­ingly con­spic­u­ous

Tyre-fry­ing 476kW/820Nm LS9 en­gine first ap­peared in pre­vi­ous-gen­er­a­tion Corvette ZR1 EX­HAUST­ING Big-bore dual ex­haust ex­trac­tors must fit into the rear tray and dif­fuser. Its job is to speed up air-flow un­der the car, cre­at­ing a zone of neg­a­tive...

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