Following the split with Peter Brock
, Holden formed
their own Special Vehicles operation, aptly titled
Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).
Tom Walkinshaw Racing
(TWR) from the UK was contracted to carry out wind
tunnel development of a radical body kit designed to
improve aerodynamic efficiency of the racing Commodores.
HSV was established in October 1987, a 10 year agreement
being struck between Holden and Tom Walkinshaw Racing,
and their first iteration, a Group A, was produced
in March 1988.
Such was the hurried development of
the car the HSV were unable to display the actual vehicle
at the 1987 Sydney Motor Show, instead opting for a
life-size cardboard cut-out.
To be eligible for Group A Touring Car racing, Holden
needed to manufacture 5000 examples, which is exactly
what they did, with some 500 sporting versions among
The Group A’s engine was now fed
electronically, which was just as well because it now
had to lug around an additional 65kg’s of fiberglass
aerodynamic body kit.
Like the proverbial “dogs
balls”, the Walkinshaw inspired HSV’s were
anything but subtle, prompting then HSV managing director
John Crennan to state at the vehicles launch;
some people it may be over the top, but everything
on the vehicle is there for a good reason. In many
ways this is the most advanced car ever produced in
Soon dubbed the “Walkinshaw Commodore”,
it was at first rather difficult to sell. For starters,
it was not a “Brock Commodore”, and the
price was almost as over the top as the gregarious
body kit. Holden had undeniably got it wrong, deciding
that instead of producing the required 500 units they
would instead produce 750.
Meanwhile HSV set about
creating a more sedate Calais SV88 model, which was
released in April 1988. Using the standard Calais V8
as a donor car, they set about performance tuning the
engine and suspension, while making subtle interior
trim modifications. On the exterior, new front and
rear spoilers were fitted, along with a louvered grille.
Today the Walkinshaw Commodore, complete with “bird-bath” rear
spoiler and over-the-top body kit is a highly prized
collectors car - just don’t be tempted to add