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Holden Special Vehicles – one of the most evocative makers of go-fast Aussie cars. First established in 1987 as a joint venture between Holden and Tom Walkinshaw Racing, HSV is considered the de-facto skunkworks arm of Holden, building several legendary performance cars throughout the years.
For a listing of all HSV brake pads, click HERE.
If you want a walk down memory lane or just simply familiarize yourself with HSV’s history, read on.
HSV’s illustrious series of cars all began with the almighty VL Commodore. And their very first offering? The Commodore SS Group A SV. Born of the Group A era’s racing homologation regulations, the Commodore SS Group A SV looked like something pulled right off the Bathurst blacktop.
The first thing you notice about the “Walky” is its outrageous aero package. Whilst polarising in its day, the SS Group A SV’s aero has become part of the charm attached to the legendary piece of Aussie muscle. Not only that, but Plastic Fantastic’s aero also reduced drag by over 25%.
Under the bonnet, the SS Group A SV received an electronically fuel-injected 4.9L V8 that was built to race-spec. This netted about 180kW and 380Nm - certainly nothing to scoff at, especially in it’s time.
In the wake of the Group A SV’s success, HSV then released the VL SV88. Based on the Holden Calais, the VL SV88 was less hardcore than the Group A SV and geared more towards luxury. The VL SV88 came equipped with a reworked version of the familiar 4.9L V8. This motor saw a 10kW increase to 135kW and 355Nm thanks to the use of leftover HDT internals.
Outside, the VL SV88 was fitted with a minor bodykit and special colour-coded wheels. Inside, the VL SV88 was equipped with HSV leather and velour seats. Buyers could also choose to add a car phone or a mobile fax.
To round out the HSV VL offerings, there was the VL F20. By far the rarest of the HSV VLs, only 4 F20s were ever built. They featured parts from both the SV88 and the Group A SV and were fitted with the Nissan-sourced straight-6 motor.
- VL (1988-1989) All Models Front: DB1085 GCT, DB1085 HD, DB1085 ULT, DB1085 SRT
- VL (1988-1989) All Models Rear: BS1385
HSV began tinkering with the VN Series Commodores in 1990. The VN Series saw the introduction of mainstay HSV badges such as the Clubsport and the Maloo. The VN also saw the final HSV to be dubbed the SS Group A SV.
The final Commodore built to suit Group A racing’s homologation regulations, the VN SS Group A SV was built in fewer numbers than its VL older brother with only 302 ever produced. Holden’s 5.0L V8 was fettled with even more to produce a hefty 215kW. That power was sent to the rear treads via the ZF 6-speed manual transmission pulled straight from the Corvette ZR-1.
Whilst it’s aero package was far more understated than that of the VL, it still looked the part and looked right at home on the race track. All of them were given a coat of Durif Red, except for three black examples. Two of these were offered as part of a giveaway by Tooheys and one was painted black especially for a Malaysian prince.
HSV’s VN offerings also gave us two iconic nameplates that would stick around until the Commodore’s final chapter, the Clubsport and the Maloo.
The Clubsport was released as a more attainable means for enthusiasts to get into HSV ownership. Featuring muscle car performance without as many luxury features, the Clubsport could be had for less money, making it an instant success.
The Maloo was HSV’s first foray into the world of utes. Gifted with the same performance credentials as the Clubsport, the Maloo had a slight speed advantage over its sedan counterparts thanks to its lightweight body.
- VN (1990-1991) All Models Front: DB1085 GCT, DB1085 HD, DB1085 ULT, DB1085 SRT
- VN (1990-1991) All Models Rear: DB1086 GCT, DB1086 HD, DB1086 ULT
- VN w/ Twin Piston Front Caliper (1990-1991) All Models Front: DB1353 GCT, DB1353 HD, DB1353 ULT, DB1353 BR
- VN w/ Twin Piston Front Caliper (1990-1991) All Models Rear: DB1354 GCT, DB1354 ULT, DB1354 BR
The VP Commodore possesses the distinction of being the first Commodore to be offered with independent rear suspension, which made a world of difference when it came to modernising the Aussie family hauler’s handling. HSV took advantage of this and introduced two more iconic nameplates that would become common place until the final Gen-F2 range – The Senator and the GTS.
The Senator was released as a model that offered both luxury and performance. Built to the same performance spec as the Clubsport, the Senator came feature-packed to set it apart from the rest of the HSV stable. Automatic climate control, leather interior, remote central locking, power windows, power mirrors and a limited slip differential were all standard fare for the Senator.
The GTS was introduced as HSV’s range topper, featuring a revised version of the 5.0L V8 found in the VN Group A SS SV. Singing to the tune of 200kW, the GTS was HSV’s most powerful offering in the VP series. It’s body kit received styling cues taken from the VN Group A. Standard on the GTS were brake calipers lifted from the Corvette C4.
On top of the GTS’ impressive performance credentials, it also received the same features as the Senator, with a factory-fitted security system and trip computer to boot.
- VP (1991-1993) All Models Front: DB1085 GCT, DB1085 HD, DB1085 ULT, DB1085 SRT
- VP (1991-1993) All Models Rear: DB1086 GCT, DB1086 HD, DB1086 ULT
- VP w/ Twin Piston Front Caliper (1991-1993) All Models Front: DB1353 GCT, DB1353 HD, DB1353 ULT, DB1353 BR
- VP w/ Twin Piston Front Caliper (1991-1993) All Models Rear: DB1354 GCT, DB1354 ULT, DB1354 BR
The introduction of the VR Series brought a styling overhaul to the Commodore range. Some might argue that HSV started implementing the more extreme styling cues that would become a signature of today’s HSVs with the VR Series. The VR and VS featured classic HSV mainstays such as the Clubsport, Senator and GTS with 1996 seeing the release of the Grange, a HSV-fettled version of the long wheelbase Statesman.
But the star of the show? The GTS-R. The mere mention of those four letters illicit thoughts of big wings, V8 grunt, hefty price tags and of course, the colour yellow. Or more accurately, “Yellah”.
Designed to be a close to a road-going V8 Supercar as possible, the GTS-R represented the pinnacle of Australian automotive engineering at the time. The GTS-R received a six-speed transmission, a Hydratrak LSD, carbon-fibre inserts all-round the body, bright yellow interior accents, and of course, that enormous rear wing designed to emulate those seen on the HRT race cars of the same era.
But the party piece? Aside from the polarising bright Yellah paint-job, it’s the 5.7L V8 stroked from the original 5.0L motor, fettled by Harrop to produce a healthy 215kW. You could also opt for the “blueprinted” option, which sent the motor over to HRT to be stripped down and rebuilt, netting about a 15-20kW increase in power.
Whilst it’s daring appearance certainly divided opinions, there’s no doubting that the GTS-R was made all the more special for it. With only 85 examples ever built, the GTS-R remains one of HSVs most exclusive offerings. So if you fancy one in your garage, be prepared to pay a pretty penny – even for one requiring some TLC.
- VR/VS (1993-1997) All Models Front: DB1085 GCT, DB1085 HD, DB1085 ULT, DB1085 SRT
- VR/VS (1993-1997) All Models Rear: DB1086 GCT, DB1086 HD, DB1086 ULT
- VR/VS w/ Twin Piston Front Caliper (1993-1997) All Models Front: DB1353 GCT, DB1353 HD, DB1353 ULT, DB1353 BR
- VR/VS w/ Twin Piston Front Caliper (1993-1997) All Models Rear: DB1354 GCT, DB1354 ULT, DB1354 BR
The VT Series of HSVs carries the special distinction of being the last of the breed to carry an Aussie-built heart and the first to use the all-American LS motors.
Released in 1997, the VT Series 1 HSV GTS took the motoring world by storm. Not allowing the Aussie-built 5.7L V8 go down without a fight, HSV sent the GTS out of their doors packing 220kW, with a “blueprint” option that added a further 15kW to that figure. This made it the fastest Holden production car ever built upon being released. The VT Series 1 GTS was also the first HSV to receive Harrop Brake calipers standard.
Considered ahead of its time, the VT Series 1 HSV GTS received praise across the pond too, being compared to likes of the Aston Martin DB6 and the Lotus Carlton by none other than Jeremy Clarkson.
These accolades were soon surpassed with the introduction of the VT Series 2 HSV GTS 300 in 2000. The GTS 300 featured an all-new heart in the form of the Gen III LS1 V8 which was built specially for the GTS 300. Thanks to a working partnership with Callaway, an American shop famous for the hot Corvettes, the LS1 was subjected to substantial internal modifications which resulted in a power output of 300kW and 510Nm – by far the most power ever seen out of a HSV production car.
- VT (1997-2000) All Models Front: DB1353 GCT, DB1353 HD, DB1353 ULT, DB1353 BR
- VT (1997-2000) All Models Rear: DB1354 GCT, DB1354 ULT, DB1354 BR
- VT (1997-2000) w/ Front Harrop 4-pot Caliper: DB1355 ULT, DB1355 SRT
- VT (1997-2000) w/ Rear Harrop 4-pot Caliper: DB1356 ULT, DB1356 SRT
The VX Series Commodore was released as a minor styling update to the VT Series. Featuring a smoother, more streamlined design for the headlights and taillights, the VX Commodore’s styling was instantly more appealing to coincide with the turn of the millennium. In turn, the HSV models were also treated to a styling update with more aggressive body-kits to further differentiate them from their Holden counterparts.
With the release of the VX also came the return of the Holden Ute, which hadn’t been seen since the VS Commodore. This allowed HSV to bring back the Maloo, a sorely-missed offering in their line-up.
Coinciding with the release of the Monaro, HSV released hotted-up versions known as the Coupe GTO and the Coupe GTS, which received performance credentials equivalent to that of the Clubsport and the GTS respectively.
Performance-wise, nothing much was changed from the VT Series 2, still offering the 255kW LS1 and the 300kW Callaway-special LS1 V8.
- VX/VU (2000-2002) All Models Front: 7599 GCT, 7599 HD, 7599 ULT, 7599 SRT
- VX/VU (2000-2002) All Models Rear: DB1332 GCT, DB1332 HD, DB1332 ULT, DB1332 SRT, DB1332 BR
- VX/VU (2000-2002) w/ Front Harrop 4-pot Caliper: DB1355 ULT, DB1355 SRT
- VX/VU (2000-2002) w/ Rear Harrop 4-pot Caliper: DB1356 ULT, DB1356 SRT
Y Series (2002-2004)
The Commodore received another styling update in 2002 with the release of the VY. The front and rear end were given a complete overhaul, being treated to more angular styling. This allowed for HSV to conjure up some pretty intimidating creations in the aesthetics department.
The Y Series 2 range of HSVs saw a power increase to 285kW, closing the gap between the Clubsport and the 300kW GTS. The Y Series HSV range remained largely the same with the Clubsport, GTS and everything else in between.
That is until the Adventura and the Crewman were released, which of course, didn’t miss out on the HSV treatment. The VY marked the first time HSV was given an AWD system to play with. This gave us the Avalanche (based on the Adventura), the XUV (based on the Crewman) and the Coupe4 (based on the Monaro). These three models were arguably HSVs most unique offerings to date but were ultimately set back by the added weight that entailed the use of an AWD system.
- VY (2002-2004) All Models Front: 7599 GCT, 7599 HD, 7599 ULT, 7599 SRT
- VY (2002-2004) All Models Rear: DB1332 GCT, DB1332 HD, DB1332 ULT, DB1332 SRT, DB1332 BR
- VY (2002-2004) w/ Front Harrop 4-pot Caliper: DB1355 ULT, DB1355 SRT
- VY (2002-2004) w/ Rear Harrop 4-pot Caliper: DB1356 ULT, DB1356 SRT
The VZ Series not much more than a minor facelift to the VY, but the Z-Series range of HSVs saw a big update in the form of the all-new LS2 V8. This new powerplant sang to the tune of 292kW. This of course negated the need for a 300kW GTS, so the GTS badge was put on hold for the Z-Series.
Apart from the GTS, the Z-Series range was still treated to the usual HSV offerings, including the AWD models.
The Z-Series Maloo R8 earned the title of “World’s Fastest Ute”, managing an average speed of 271km/h and besting the previous record holder, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 which only managed 249km/h. This record was later scrapped, however as the Maloo used was found to be not be stock.
- VZ (2004-2006) All Models Front: 7599 GCT, 7599 HD, 7599 ULT, 7599 SRT
- VZ (2004-2006) All Models Rear: DB1332 GCT, DB1332 HD, DB1332 ULT, DB1332 SRT, DB1332 BR
- VZ (2004-2006) w/ Front Harrop 4-pot Caliper: DB1355 ULT, DB1355 SRT
- VZ (2004-2006) w/ Rear Harrop 4-pot Caliper: DB1356 ULT, DB1356 SRT
In 2006, Holden fans rejoiced with the release of the VE Commodore. Based on GM’s Zeta platform, the VE Commodore was essentially a brand-new car from the ground up and as a result, was met with resounding praise.
HSV went to work right away and the results speak for themselves. For the first time, styling was modified further than body kits, with changes made to the sheet metal of the base Commodore as well as well as the addition bespoke LED taillights.
The E-Series HSV range featured the Clubsport R8, Clubsport R8 Tourer, Maloo R8, Senator, Grange and of course, the GTS.
The existing LS2 V8 was tuned further to produce 307kW and 550Nm. The E-Series was also treated to a sports-tuned ESC system as well as the innovative Magnetic Ride Control system. In 2008, the LS3 V8 was introduced which upped power output to 317kW.
2008 also saw the limited release of the HSV W427 – the most powerful Australian car ever made at the time with an output of 375kW and 640Nm from its 7.0L LS7 powerplant. It was also the most expensive Australian car ever released, priced at an eye-watering $155,000.
The E-Series 2 was released in 2009, receiving minor styling updates and new wheel designs as well as the addition of daytime running lights and Intelligent Launch Control.
In 2010, the final E-Series was released in the form of the Series 3. The HSV range received yet another styling update as well as a power bump to the GTS’ LS3 powerplant to 325kW.
- VE (2006-2013) w/ AP 4-Piston Caliper Front: DB1937 HD, DB1937 SRT
- VE (2006-2013) w/ AP 4-Piston Caliper Rear: DB1938 HD, DB1938 SRT
- VE (2006-2013) w/ AP/Harrop 6-Piston Caliper Front: DB1933 SRT
- VE (2006-2013) w/ AP/Harrop 6-Piston Caliper Rear: DB1934 SRT
The story of the VF Commodore is a bittersweet one - the very best the Australian motoring industry had to offer but also the last hurrah, being the last Commodore to be built on Australian soil.
Because of this, HSV made sure that the Gen-F HSV range was truly something special. Along with the usual styling enhancements that entail the HSV treatment, the Clubsport and Maloo produced 317kW from their LS3 V8 powerplants. Their R8 counterparts received a bump in power to 331kW.
The Gen-F2 update further bumped power up to 325kW for the Clubsport and 340kW for the R8. The Gen-F3 update saw the Clubsport receive a detuned version of the Supercharged LSA which would put out a healthy 400kW.
The GTS however, was gifted with an all-new powerplant in the form of the 6.2L Supercharged LSA V8 which produced a staggering 420kW and 740Nm, surpassing the W427 as the most powerful Australian car ever made.
In 2017, the HSV decided that a final swan song of sorts was needed. And what better way to do that then to resurrect one their most sacred nameplates? Enter the GTS-R. Boasting the familiar 6.2L Supercharged LSA V8 with a 15kW bump in power to a monstrous 435kW and 740Nm, the GTS-R is a worthy final chapter to the Aussie muscle car story.
HSV decided that just wasn’t enough and conjured up the GTS-R W1. If you thought the GTS-R’s 435kW was mind-blowing, you might want to take a seat. The GTS-R W1 packs a hand-built 6.2L Supercharged LS9 Gen VII V8 putting out an ungodly 474kW and 815Nm. Certainly can’t say the HSV Aussie muscle car didn’t go down without a fight.
- VF (2013-2017) w/ AP 4-Piston Caliper Front: DB1937 HD, DB1937 SRT
- VF (2013-2017) w/ AP 4-Piston Caliper Rear: DB1938 HD, DB1938 SRT
- VF (2013-2017) w/ AP/Harrop 6-Piston Caliper Front: DB2317 HD, DB2317 SRT
- VF (2013-2017) w/ AP/Harrop 6-Piston Caliper Rear: DB1937 HD, DB1937 SRT
The Street Road Track brake pad is an ultra-high performance brake pad for the road going race car. With its high friction mu and extreme tolerance to heat, your HSV can go hard and stop harder, every time. The specially developed shims reduce heat and noise, enhancing the Street Road Track performance on the track, and useability on the street.
For more HSV pads, click HERE.
Find out more about the Bendix Street Road Track brake pad HERE.
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