Traditionally renowned for its modified Commodore V8s, Holden Special Vehicles has turned to the humble Colorado pick-up as the basis of its future model range.
The Walkinshaw family-owned official Holden hot tuner confirmed its dramatic change of direction in the wake of the end of local Commodore production with the unveiling of the Colorado-based SportsCat last week.
The SportsCat is only part of the plan for Holden Special Vehicles, which has signed a new deal with Holden to convert Chevrolet Silverado utes to right-hand drive for local sale (as well as the Camaro sports car). Later it will also add a large 4X4 wagon – most likely the Chevy Suburban.
Production starts at HSV’s new assembly line in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton in January and the first examples should be on sale in Holden dealerships soon after. Pricing isn’t announced at this stage, but will obviously rise from the most expensive Colorado you can buy at the moment… the $54,990 Z71.
The SportsCat is a separate project to the more highly modified Walkinshaw Performance Wildfire, which is expected to have a 300kW Cadillac twin-turbo V6 engine if it makes it into production.
The drivetrain in the SportsCat remains unchanged, which means the 2.8-litre Duramax four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine continues to pump out 147kW and 440Nm when mated with a six-speed manual transmission.
Add another 60Nm with the optional six-speed auto. There are no changes to the shift-on-the-fly 4X4 system. Key mechanical changes are focused on chassis tuning. HSV’s goal was to improve both on-road and off-road behaviour.
A HSV sports suspension increases both front spring rate and height, adds a strut brace, swaps to a 33mm front anti-roll bar, retunes the dampers, widens the track by 30mm (via wheel offset), and swaps to 18×10 forged alloy wheels for lower unsprung mass and fits them with 265/60 Cooper Zeon LT hybrid tyres. There are also new tunes for ABS, traction control and stability control, with the latter continuing to include Trailer Sway Control, Roll-over Mitigation, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control. The SportsCat alone adds an AP Racing brake package (which includes beefy four-piston front callipers working on beefy 362mm x 32mm discs), a rear de-coupling anti-roll bar for better off-road articulation and the option of Australian-developed Supashock dampers.
HSV says ground clearance is improved to 251mm from 215mm, front ride height goes up by 45mm (springs 25mm, tyres 20mm) and the approach angle is improved from 28 to 32 degrees. The Colorado’s 3,500kg braked towing capacity and 6,000kg Gross Combined Mass are unchanged.
“We set ourselves some pretty aggressive targets heading into the SportsCat program,” said HSV’s Engineering Director Joel Stoddart. “We wanted to set a benchmark for on-road driving dynamics without compromising the vehicle’s off-road performance; and, if possible, extend the vehicle’s off-road capabilities.”