The HSV GTS-R nameplate could be making a comeback in the guise of a Gen-F2 HSV if a recent trademark registration is anything to go by, marking 20 years since the original HSV VS GTS/R.
The trademark registration, which was registered on December 2, 2015, covers both vehicles and merchandise.
It was during 1996 that HSV last used the GTS-R moniker with the VS GTS/R. Limited to just 85 units, the GTS/R was built to closely resemble the Holden Racing Team V8 Supercars race vehicles circling Mount Panorama.
Priced from $75,000, GTS/R owners were flown to Melbourne to inspect the build of their vehicle and were also awarded a personalised apparel pack. They also only had one colour choice — Yellah — a bright burnt yellow that is now synonymous with this road-going race car.
The original GTS/R was also the first production HSV to feature external carbon fibre decals on the wheels and side skirts. Only 15 per cent of the 85 vehicles produced were further Blueprinted to increase power output from 215kW to 226kW of power from its 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V8.
Blueprinted versions fetched an extra $11,000 when new. One example — build number 002 — sold for almost $200,000 in 2008, while another higher mileage example is currently for sale with an asking price of almost $100,000.
While there are rumours circulating that the 2016 HSV GTS-R will use an LS9 engine and bespoke components, it’s unlikely to be go beyond the current LSA configuration. The cost of engineering a bespoke engine and components would far outweigh the return on investment.
In 2013 when the HSV Gen-F GTS first launched, HSV engineers spoke of the troubles getting the LSA project over the line and the challenges in cooling the engine and its components sufficiently. They also said that returning an investment on the LSA project required three years of production, plus the latest spread across most of the HSV range.
HSV engineering manager Graeme Dusting told CarAdvice that the total HSV Gen-F project was “definitely the most expensive [program] in HSV’s history” he also claimed that “the business case is on fairly conservative volumes, across three years…”
To get the supercharged V8 project approved, Dusting claimed 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.
“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,” he said.
If we were to make a prediction, the GTS-R project could comfortably see the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 in the current Gen-F2 GTS take a 10 per cent power hike from 430kW and 740Nm to around 475kW and 800Nm.
In 1996, the VS GTS/R fetched an extra 15 per cent over the regular GTS, which could mean that the Gen-F2 GTS-R will carry a price tag of around $120,000 and a limited run to retain exclusivity.
The fact that HSV’s trademark covers merchandise and apparel suggests that it could follow suit with the historical GTS/R by offering owners an exclusive apparel and merchandise pack to go with their purchase.
Given that Holden will cease manufacturing in Australia by late 2017, an announcement for GTS-R would logically be placed during 2016 to give the limited range a decent run.
CarAdvice contacted HSV for comment, but they declined to comment on future products.
CarAdvice will keep you posted as more information comes to hand. Thanks to Muscle Car Stables for the images of the 1996 VS HSV GTS/R.