Future Models - Holden
More Holden V8 sportscar details emerge
Alpha mail: It is looking increasingly unlikely that the Camaro will come to Australia, but a V8-powered rear-drive sportscar that will be sold here may borrow its underpinnings.
V8 Holden sportscar could roll on Alpha platform but mysterious concept ruled out
11 March 2016
HOLDEN remains committed to offering a rear-drive V8-powered sportscar to rival
the Ford Mustang in Australia, and while the vehicle in question is still
shrouded in secrecy, General Motors’ Alpha platform could be at the heart of
the development program.
While a curious and never-released Holden-designed Alpha concept – the
existence of which was unearthed by GoAuto last month – might have evolved into
a global sportscar had the cards fallen differently, General Motors
International Operations design vice-president Michael Simcoe this week
confirmed that the mystery vehicle had been archived, reinforcing the veil of
However, the aluminium-intensive Alpha platform that has gone on to underpin
the new Chevrolet Camaro, various Cadillac models and the recently revealed
Buick Avista concept remains a key question – and one that Holden’s vehicle
development manager Jeremy Tassone has this week kept open as the possible
basis for the lion brand’s future sportscar.
Asked by GoAuto whether the forthcoming Holden sportscar would roll on the
Alpha platform, Mr Tassone confirmed that it is “a possibility”.
“Yes, we’ve said we will have a rear-wheel-drive sportscar, that’s what was
announced,” he said. “Alpha would be one of many vehicles that that could be.
Is it Alpha? I can’t say.
“It’s a global rear-wheel-drive platform. That would be one of multiple
GM has all but ruled out right-hand-drive production for the current
sixth-generation Camaro, which is only a year into its current lifecycle and
will not be replaced until around the middle of next decade.
That has led some pundits to suggest the Corvette – built on a unique platform
in its current C7 guise but likely to move to new underpinnings with C8 due at
the end of the decade – is the most likely candidate, although the iconic
supermodel would surely not be in line for rebadging.
Questions marks also surround the production potential of the stunning Avista
concept, which was unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January but almost
immediately had its prospects as a potential Holden Monaro replacement
downplayed by senior management.
Holden has not gone on record to say the sportscar will be a direct competitor
to the hugely popular Ford Mustang, but Mr Simcoe told GoAuto a rival for the
pony car “would be nice”.
“The brand, because of what Holden represents to Australia, needs to be
holistic and it needs to have, ideally, an entry in every segment,” he said.
“We will perhaps eventually.”
GoAuto discovered the existence of the phantom Alpha concept during a rare tour
of Holden’s design centre last month, but Mr Simcoe explained that the car was
a pitch for a new variant following the internal announcement that the Alpha
platform was coming.
However, while the platform did become a reality, the Alpha concept car was put
“You take a base architecture and you try and get as many variants off it to
maximise the use, and that was just one pitch we thought would work for us –
not just for Australia, it was a global entry,” Mr Simcoe said.
“It was an internal concept once the architecture existed and the Camaro was
being done and we had a package for it so we offered up an alternative, which
didn’t ever go anywhere, therefore we don’t talk about it.
“I can’t tell you what it was, but it was another variant of that architecture.”
Whether elements of the stillborn concept will make it into the design of the
forthcoming sportscar may never be known outside GM’s design studios.
Mr Simcoe praised the Camaro for its effect on the brand in left-hand-drive
markets and said he believed it was the finer car compared with the Mustang.
But when reminded that the Camaro was not available for Australia, he
responded: “we’re working on that”.
“The Camaro, as it sits today, looks more efficient than a Mustang. I think we’
ve got the better of the two vehicles,” he said.
It was previously understood that Australia’s engineering development team had
no involvement with the latest Camaro – the previous version of which was based
on the Australian-designed Zeta platform – but Mr Tassone revealed that a small
part of the iconic car did see red dirt, in addition to a more extensive sedan
“There was some minor stuff that we did early on in architectural suspension
components. Just a few little bits and pieces, nothing major,” he said.
“We did some work on the Alpha sedan. We did 12 months engineering work back
two or three years ago, so we’ve been involved with Alpha.”