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HSV clocks up 85,000 cars

Group smile: HSV production staff celebrate the completion of the company’s 85,000th vehicle, a ClubSport R8 LSA.

Another production milestone for HSV, even as it plans for next phase in 2018

9 Jun 2016

AUSTRALIA’S biggest and best-known performance car manufacturer, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), has celebrated the production of its 85,000th vehicle, a Commodore-based Gen-F2 ClubSport R8 LSA.

The factory-backed operation – due to mark its 30th anniversary next year just as local Holden production draws to a close – says it will deliver the car to HSV’s longest-serving dealership, Garry and Warren Smith in Oakleigh, Victoria, where a lucky buyer can snap it up.

The dealership is not far from where HSV began operations in 1987 in the wake of Holden’s falling out with Peter Brock and his HDT special vehicles company.

Born to fill the hot Holden vacuum, HSV was founded in a deal between Holden and former British touring car racer and UK special vehicle builder Tom Walkinshaw in association with Holden executive John Crennan, who became HSV’s founding managing director.

One of the first employees was former race driver and HDT staffer John Harvey.

Current managing director Tim Jackson said HSV’s beginnings at its first production site at Notting Hill were humble, “with just three employees, a single desk, two chairs and one telephone”.

He said that over its 29 years, the company had been constantly reminded of the continued dedication and passion shown by its employees, dealers and customers.

“This is a milestone that can be proudly shared by them all,” he said.

While it took HSV about four years to turn out its first 5000 vehicles, the most recent 10,000 cars have come in little more than three years, at the rate of about 3000 a year.

HSV’s cars are part-built at Holden’s Elizabeth factory in South Australia before being shipped to HSV’s current production base at Clayton, Victoria, for finishing touches on a dedicated assembly line.

It remains to be seen what will replace this arrangement when Holden Commodore local production finishes in the second half of next year, although, as GoAuto has reported, HSV is keen to continue business with Holden by developing a new program using the imported Commodore as a base.

The Walkinshaw organisation – now headed by Tom Walkinshaw’s son Ryan – has already branched out into a new operation at the Clayton factory, converting US-built Ram pick-ups for Australia, New Zealand and – possibly – other RHD markets under the American Special Vehicles banner.

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