The supercharged HSV GTS project almost became stillborn when parent company Holden raised concerns over the engineering and manufacturing viability of the project.
HSV engineering manager Graeme Dusting cited that Holden engineers – many of whom worked on the Camaro project that uses the same ‘LSA’ 6.2-litre supercharged V8 – were concerned that cooling the powerful engine and its ancilleries may be problematic.
At a time when Holden actively wanted to reduce the complexity of building Commodore derivatives at its manufacturing plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, the company also believed that installing a unique rear suspension module and engine for the HSV GTS has potential issues.
The Holden marketing team, however, was behind the idea of a supercharged Commodore from the start.
“[Holden] marketing were happy, they thought it was a good idea,” told Dusting.
“But Holden engineering didn’t think we’d keep it [the supercharged V8] cool enough because they had trouble with Camaro during development. And the Adelaide plant didn’t want to build it.”
To get the supercharged V8 project approved Dusting claims there were “an unbelievable amount of hoops to jump through” but HSV formulated a firm case to build the car and Holden engineering and manufacturing ultimately gave the project the green light.
Although Dusting described the total HSV Gen-F project as “definitely the most expensive [program] in HSV’s history” he also claims that “the business case is on fairly conservative volumes, across three years…”
HSV engineers flew to the US to work with Chevrolet engineers, and added several oil coolers to ensure the supercharged V8 powertrain stays comfortably within acceptable operating temperatures even during track work.
“Our engine cal [calibration] blokes got to know them [Chevrolet engineers] quite well,” he says of the relationship.
“They were fantastic. Couldn’t be more helpful.”
With no plans for HSV to export the GTS to North America, and no plans for Camaro to come here, engineers from both HSV and Chevrolet could work collaboratively in the knowledge that they aren’t building products that will compete against each other in the same market…