GM Holden Shows Two Long-Awaited Concepts

By Chris Haak

02.29.2008

Holden, the General Motors subsidiary in Australia, revealed two long-awaited, much rumored concepts today at the Melbourne International Motor Show. While both are derivatives of the VE Commodore (just launching in the US as the Pontiac G8), it’s hard to say which model will prove most interesting to enthusiasts.

Holden Coupe 60 Concept
Ever since the debut of the VE Holdens in 2006 (intially available only as four door sedans), as well as the discontinuation of the popular and legendary Holden Monaro coupe, Holden – and in fact GM rear wheel drive performance enthusiasts – have been begging the company for a new Monaro. Holden was coy about the car’s chances, implying that with renewed concern about CO2 emissions and fuel prices, the car’s chances for another resurrection in the short term were slim.

At least, until today. The Holden Coupe 60 concept is basically a VE Commodore that is 60 millimeters shorter (yet with the same wheelbase), and an aggressively-sloping roofline. Like the 2005 Chevrolet Camaro concept, it is a pillarless coupe, and like the Camaro, if/when it reaches production, it would probably have a fixed B-pillar to keep the weight down and the safety up. Under the hood (or bonnet, as the Holden press release states) is a 6.0 liter V8 calibrated to run on E85, coupled to a six speed manual transmission.

Holden is being noncommittal at the moment about the car’s prospects for production. Reading between the lines, however, it does seem like a reasonable possibility, since the car would not require nearly as much engineering effort as an all-new car, since the platform’s engineering is already complete and in production elsewhere.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss said, “This is a vehicle I know our designers would dearly love to see go into production, but for the moment it has to remain a concept only.”

However, Project Designer Manager, Peter Hughes, said, “With Coupe 60 we think we have designed a car that has the potential to write another chapter in the book of Holden icons.”

From the quotes above, it sounds like the car definitely has potential for production, but it is not confirmed yet. If it is produced, would GM dare import it as the Pontiac GTO again, or has the company learned its lesson and would instead call it something less risky like “G8 Coupe” or “G8 Sport Coupe?”

For high-resolution photos of the Holden Coupe 60 Concept, click here.

HSV W427 7.0 Liter Supercar
Holden Specialty Vehicles (also known as HSV) is the company that tunes and builds high performance versions of Holden vehicles. HSV has already built several other hot rod variants of the VE Commodore, but the latest one will take on all comers. It is basically a Commodore with the Corvette Z06’s 7.0 liter LS7 V8 engine producing in excess of 496 horsepower (370 kW) and 472 lb-ft (640 Nm) of torque, connected to a six speed manual transmission.

Backing up this impressive powertrain are goodies such as bi-modal mufflers (similar to those on the Z06 and other Corvettes), dry sump lubrication (also lifted from the Z06), 30% stiffer springs, a 20 mm lower ride height, and magnetic ride control with an all-new calibration. Brakes are six-piston front calipers with a 50% (!) increase in pad surface area.

Visually, the W427 features an all-new unique front fascia, all-new 20 inch wheels, and an all-new three-piece carbon fiber spoiler. Other than fuel consumption (which actually may not be much worse than the other V8-powered HSV sedans), the only problem with this car is its price. It’s expected to be about $150,000 Australian ($141,000 US) including the VAT, or about twice as expensive as the next-most-expensive HSV model. That’s a big chunk to bite off, but also an extremely impressive piece of machinery.

I don’t ever expect this car to come to the US. Why would any buyer want to pay $100,000 for a Pontiac when a $60,000 Cadillac CTS-V would have similar, if not superior, performance, better comfort, and arguably more attractive (mature?) styling? The other obvious question is whether GM tuners such as Mallett, who is already capable of stuffing small block V8s under the hood of Pontiac Solstices and Saturn SKYs, will start working their magic with LS7 crate motors and Pontiac G8s. The LS7 crate motor costs less than $15,000 from GM Performance Parts; of course labor would add a large premium, as would all of the ancillary components such as a beefed up drivetrain, larger brakes and wheels, etc., but Mallett can probably build a car that can match this one’s performance for less money.

For high-resolution photos of the HSV W427 7.0 Liter, click here.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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5 Comments

  1. Bring on the Aussie equiptment, man! Those guys have the right idea!

  2. I agree I haines, especially the Coupe 60. I wish then we could have lesser and softened security norms to allow the return of pillarless coupe aka hardtop coupes, I miss these kind of body style.

    If it’s goes here as a Pontiac, maybe they could call it the “G8 Sprint” as a nod to the 1967-70 LeMans/Tempest Sprint models with the OHC Pontiac 6 engine or “Formula” as a series trim in the Firebird in the 1970s.

    Then another possibility is sold it as a Buick. I know Buick and performance don’t ring well but Buick got once some muscle with the Gran Sport/GS from 1965 to 1974 (some other sources mentions 1975) and the Grand National/GNX in the mid-1980s. If Oldsmobile was still around, it could had been a 442…..

  3. Of course it must be pointed out that the Pontiac G8 which costs 30k USD is far more money for the Aussies to buy in their home country – where it’s produced!

    So maybe the sam mathematical magic can be worked on a car like this one and it can be sold in the US for a lot less money.

  4. If the US gets the coupe then why on earth not call it the G8 Monaro? Whilst it’s a new badge in the US how hard would it be to sell if the G8 is a success?

    By the by, if the coupe is to be built then it’ll happen in the next model cycle and there’s little chance of it being built in Oz since the Holden plant is running near capacity and couldn’t supply the necessary volume for the coupe……if the G8 is a US success then the tooling for it and the coupe might be copied & transfered to the US for the next model cycle…or partially CKD’ed from Oz body in white and US components.

  5. If we get the coupe than wouldn’t it stand a good chance of being called the……Firebird?

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