Salute to the classic Australian V8

Australian car manufacturing is coming to a close, putting an end to more than a century of automotive excellence from Down Under. General Motors Holden will close its plant on October 20, but won’t be going gently into that good night. Instead, the team at Holden Special Vehicles has created the GTS-R W1. It’s powered by an LS9 V8, and just 300 examples will be built, providing a fitting (smoky) farewell to the classic Australian V8.

For those who aren’t aware, Holden Special Vehicles is the Holden equivalent of AMG or BMW M. It takes family sedans and turns them into rolling rear-drive smoke machines, able to rip massive burnouts on command. They’re also pretty sharp handlers, too, showing a remarkable turn of speed for big, heavy four-door sports-car wannabes. And, to cap it all off, you can even buy an HSV wagon and ute.

The GTS-R W1 is designed to take everything learned by HSV over the past 30 years, and use it to create the ultimate Australian sports car. Power comes from a supercharged LS9 V8 making 474 kW (636 hp) of power and a monstrous 815 Nm of torque. It might seem a strange thing to say about a big V8 but this is a fairly exotic engine, with connecting rods and inlet valves made from titanium, dry-sump lubrication and a carbon airbox. Ferrari won’t be losing any sleep, but the idea of a four-door family sedan with the engine from a Corvette ZR1 is still exciting.