HSV’s 474kW GTSR W1 was sold out before it was even announced.
Just 300 of the supercharged LS9 V8-powered sedans will be produced as a last hurrah to the locally-made Holden Commodore, a car that rolls off a Holden production line for the last time on October 20, 2017.
Despite strong demand the number of vehicles being produced is constrained by supply of the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 engine, which is no longer produced. HSV also wanted to ensure the car was produced in limited numbers to increase its exclusivity and, therefore, its appeal.
That means more than 500 cashed-up V8 lovers and Holden fans will be disappointed – some angry – at the prospect of missing out on the quickest, more powerful and most expensive car ever produced in Australia.
“We know some people who’ve bought our cars over a long period of time will miss out,” acknowledged HSV managing director Tim Jackson.
He said there had been in excess of 800 orders across the Australian and New Zealand dealer networks.
Jackson also said maintaining exclusivity was key to the project, something the brand has learned in almost 30 years of producing Australian V8 muscle cars. The original VL Walkinshaw was planned for 500 units but demand meant another 250 were added to the program. Those extras were a struggle to sell to the point where some were converted back to regular Holdens. More recently Holden committed to building up to 427 of the 7.0-litre V8-powered W427 but just 137 were produced.
“There comes a point … where part of the appeal is exclusivity and if you then run it out to whatever volume might be applicable then you lose some of that exclusivity and you sort of fall over the cliff in terms of desire and demand and interest from the customer base,” said Jackson. “So that’s why we’ve gone more with a range style of strategy [with the regular GTSR models and 30th anniversary models].”
Jackson said it would be up to dealers who they sold their allocation of cars to – determined by how many other models each ordered throughout the year. The prospect of missing out will no doubt leave some would-be buyers seething.
“We sell to a dealer network. We can’t dictate who they sell to,” he said. “Ultimately our customer first and foremost has been our dealer network.”
HSV is also expecting some dealers – there are 56 in Australia and six in New Zealand – to hold on to a car for themselves, further limiting the number of what is set to be one of Australia’s most desirable cars that go to private buyers.
However, some dealers only got one W1, something that has started a bidding war with some potential customers.
There’s a real chance prices for the W1 will increase soon after it goes on sale, according to valuation experts at Glass’s Guide.
“Even in the short term you’ll get people buying them and reselling them immediately at a profit,” said Glass’s managing director Santo Amoddio.
“That’s what happened with the last of the GT Falcons. Even the dealers were selling them above retail.”
In decades to come Amoddio believes the significance of the GTSR W1 means it could be highly sought after, pushing prices up further.
“In the short term people that are going to flip them immediately – you could probably get a 20 or 30 percent premium. Over time they could potentially double in value.”
But he cautions against speculating on one saying there are significant ongoing costs above the price of the car. They include insurance, storage and servicing.
As for HSV’s loyal buyers, many of whom may miss out on an initial W1 allocation, there is one consolation.
HSV said it will hold on to “three or four” W1s as part of a second chance raffle, whereby buyers of multiple HSVs would be selected from a draw to buy the car at the regular $169,990 price, plus dealer and on-road costs.
“Were going to hold some cars for frequent buyers,” said Jackson. “The best mechanism we feel we can put in place to at least give them a second chance is to hold a few cars back and we can actually raffle those cars. It’s a mechanism we’d like to put in place to support those who’ve supported us.”
Jackson also said the regular GTSR – with 435kW from the lesser LSA 6.2-litre supercharged V8 – would be available for those wanting one of the last Australian HSVs.
The regular HSV GTSR gets the same brakes and body – including wider front guards made from plastic – as the GTSR W1 but without the monster engine.