Holden Special Vehicles (usually abbreviated to HSV) is the officially designated performance vehicle division of Australian motor car manufacturer Holden. Based in Clayton, Victoria and established in 1987, HSV modifies Holden products such as the Commodore, giving them unique body-work and alloy wheels, up-spec interiors, and improved all-round performance thanks to upgraded engines, brakes, transmissions and suspension.
HSV was created in 1987 as a joint venture between Holden and TWR - an operation owned by Scottish racing car driver and entrepreneur Tom Walkinshaw. HSV effectively replaced the Holden Dealer Team (HDT) special vehicles operation run by Peter Brock, after Holden severed its ties with HDT in February 1987 following the "Energy Polarizer" and "HDT Director" controversies. With the more recent demise of TWR's global companies, HSV still remains a partnership between Holden and Walkinshaw, the joint ownership company being Premoso Pty Ltd.
The first car produced by HSV was the SS Group A SV in 1988 (based on the VL Commodore and not to be confused with the HDT's similarly named VL SS Group A). The HSV had a distinctive body kit with a large rear wing (earning it the nicknames "The Batmobile" and the "Plastic Pig") and was powered by a modified version of the Holden 5.0 litre V8, which had dual throttle body electronic fuel injection and was rated at 180 kW in road car form. It was built as a touring car homologation package for Group A racing and in racing form, managed to win the 1990 Bathurst 1000 race in the hands of Allan Grice and Win Percy for HSV's racing arm, the Holden Racing Team.
Over the years HSV have built an array of modified vehicles, most of which have been based on the Commodore and powered by either Holden or Chevrolet sourced V8s. Notable HSV models include the HSV SS Group A (both the 1988 VL and 1990 VN Commodore versions), the SV 5000, Clubsport, Senator, GTS, GTS-R, XU6 and the Grange. The 2006 HSV GTS is the most powerful production vehicle in Australia, producing 307 kW from its 6.0-litre Chevrolet V8, and can produce claimed 0-100 km/h times of 4.9 seconds, and 13.2 second 0-400 metre sprints.
An all-new Holden Commodore chassis, known as the VE was unveiled in July 2006. Following this, a new range of "E" Series HSV models were released in August 2006. Changes to the exhaust system yielded a 10 kW increase in power (see below) for the LS2 to 307 kW. Extensive modifications to the base VE Commodore sheetmetal and interior were introduced, most notably the unique LED tailights and distinctive side vents. The new GM 6L80-E 6 speed automatic transmission from the VE Commodore is offered, and Electronic Stability Control is standard on all models. The GTS and Senator Signature additionally feature switchable Magnetic Ride Control to improve ride and handling. As such, the E series represents HSV's most expensive model developments in its history. In October, a new Grange model based on the Holden WM Statesman was released featuring the same V8 and MRC suspension as the Senator Signature and GTS, albeit with its own unique settings. At the Melbourne Motor Show, HSV previewed a new flagship model the HSV W427. This car carries a 7.0 L LS7 V8 engine from the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The car is reported to have 370 kW @ 6400 rpm& 640 nm @ 4800 rpm. On the 28th of March 2008, HSV announced that the LS3 6.2 litre engine will be fitted to all HSV Vehicles (with the exception of the LS7 W427) from April 2008. The LS3 power output is 317kw, whilst peak torque has not increased over the LS2. May the 12th , 2008 saw the announcement of a new HSV E Series model; the HSV "Tourer". This new model, based on the E Series Commodore Station Wagon is slated to be released in October 2008.