From the first Commodore VL-based Group A car in 1988 to the 375kW W427 – the company’s 20th anniversary ‘gift’ to the auto industry – HSV has been providing a hungry car-buying public with the touch of excitement not easily found in regular production cars.
HSV took over from where HDT left off in 1987, after Holden conducted a world-wide tender for a partner to establish a facility that would continue the local sporting-sedan tradition.
That partner was TWR, a diverse and innovative UK-based operation that had its chief focus in production car racing and was well known in Australia for, among other things, its Bathurst-winning efforts, with an XJS Jaguar, in 1985.
TWR, which started in Britain as a small operation working out of a back street in the late 1960s, had also overseen four international championships, including wins in the Spa 24-hour race in 1981 (in a Mazda) and 1984 (in a Jaguar). Founder and Chairman, Tom Walkinshaw, was European Touring Car champion in 1984.
TWR’s diverse activities, in race car development, design and engineering, were the perfect foundation for developing a team that would take the Australian muscle car into new areas of refinement and sophistication.
The first evidence of this collaboration was the VL Group A Commodore project in 1988, the now-famous ‘Batmobile’ (so-named because of the massive rear-deck spoiler and radical body kit) that was built as a homologation car to comply with FISA international Group A regulations, the precursor to today’s V8 Supercar series.
Today, HSV is known for producing cars that the public just love to drive, led by Managing Director Tim Jackson.
Under the Walkinshaw umbrella comes the company’s motorsport operation known as Walkinshaw Racing. Headed by Adrian Burgess, Walkinshaw Racing encompasses the recently launched Mobil 1 HSV Racing team, whilst also supplying engines and other componentry to a range of Holden backed Supercar teams.
The synergies of running a motorsport and performance car operation from the one Clayton based facility are obvious and while it might be a cliché, HSV engineers can literally be found assessing data and plotting Supercar victories on a Sunday and be back at HSV on a Monday building the supercar of tomorrow.
Today HSV is a shining example of Australian ingenuity, enterprise and business savvy.