HSV's range of 2017 models has been spotted at what appears to be the brand's production facility in Clayton, Victoria.
Images posted to the Club VF Facebook group depict a number of lightly camouflaged sedan and ute variants undergoing final production.
CarAdvice exclusively revealed last year that HSV had registered the 'GTS-R' trademark, intended to sign off the brand's contribution to Australia's local performance car scene with a more powerful version of the GTS flagship.
Since then, other media outlets have speculated about the existence of a 'GTS-R W1' variant, which is alleged to contain a potent powerplant beneath the bonnet. Speculation suggests it could feature a supercharged LS9 engine, which is a crate engine that powers the manic Corvette ZR1.
The vehicles pictured here debut three new colours expected to launch with the 2017 HSV range. The bright green colour is called Spitfire, the burnt orange colour is Light My Fire (and is expected to replace Some Like it Hot), while the dark colour is called Son of a Gun (which is expected to replace Prussian Steel/Mystic Green).
The light camouflage has shown new exhaust outlets for the Maloo, which are rhombus shaped — currently the Maloo uses quad exhaust pipes. We also expect minor changes to the rear bumper bar and wheels, but no changes to the front.
Also pictured is a ClubSport LSA in Son of a Gun, but its changes appear to be limited to the wheels with the front and rear ends both camouflage free.
Peaking our interest though was the Light My Fire GTS, which could be the GTS-R or the rumoured GTS-R W1. It features extensive camouflage on the front and rear, along with the wheels and the front quarter panel.
The current GTS uses a long vertical strip that sits on the front quarter panel, but the vehicle pictured seems to contain a smaller vent on the side. This change could indicate an active cooling vent, similar to the functional vents introduced on the Holden Commodore VFII, which sit atop the bonnet.
We speculated last year that the GTS-R is unlikely to feature too big a power jump given how much engineering work was originally required to fit the supercharged LSA engine under the bonnet of the GTS.
The LS9 crate engine can be purchased from Corvette for around US$26,000 and features 6.2 litres of displacement. The supercharged V8 produces 475kW of power at a peak rpm of 6600rpm and 814Nm at 4200rpm.
To add to the doubt that this engine will make its way into the HSV range, the current Tremec TR-6060 is an MG9 variant, which is limited to 759Nm of torque. The uprated version used in the Corvette ZR1 is the MH3 variant of the Tremec TR-6060, which is limited to 881Nm of torque.
A change in engine, along with a change in gearbox would require countless hours of extra engineering and compliance work, which costs money. Given the vehicle would be limited in terms of production and given that it would only be produced until October this year, it's hard to see a business case that would make sense for HSV, especially with its current financial state.
Premoso Pty Ltd, the company that operates HSV in Australia, filed documents with ASIC in May this year that show profits for financial year 2015 had dropped from a little over $5.7 million in 2014 to just over $3.0 million in 2015 — a slump of almost 50 per cent.
Either way — we'll keep you posted on developments and will bring you more information as it comes to hand.
Is there anything in particular you'd like to see featured in the final range of locally produced HSVs? Click on the Photos tab to see the full gallery.