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Ask any car dealers and they’ll tell you: Holden’s best-selling vehicle has always been the Holden Commodore. And to develop the power and oomph of the Commodore further, the Holden company developed a special branch: HSV or Holden Special Vehicles.

HSV was founded in 1987, more or less replacing the Holden Dealer Team that had been led by the legendary Peter Brock. The year after that, HSV came out with the SS Group A SV, which had a head-turning body kit and rear wing that earned it the nickname of “The Batmobile”. More models followed, the majority of which were based on the Holden Commodore.

HSV vehicles are a fusion between the everyday Holden vehicles and the racing “thoroughbreds” of the V8 supercar world. This fusion is made obvious by the HSV marque’s logo; the combination of the heraldic lion’s head and the racing helmet is a variant of the logo of the Holden Racing Team. And a quick visit to the HSV website will show you that the line between HSV and the Holden Racing Team is a very fine one.

The current crop of HSVs is the E-series range. This line was developed with the aim of taking the prestigious European makers on at their own game of combining raw power with engineering excellence and precision. The HSV E-series Clubsport R8, GTS, Senator Signature, Grange, Maloo, Maloo R8, VXR and Signature GTO Coupe are a formidable line-up, all of which have the distinctive HSV E-series style and power.

The bodykit and exterior looks of any HSV vehicle are an important part of the complete HSV package. The side skirts and spoiler all play their part in enhancing the on-road performance of all HSV vehicles as well as giving those anything-but-subtle sporty looks. Other touches, such as the E-shaped vents and the “ring of fire” tail lights are purely aesthetic, but complement the other styling characteristics. Great care is put into the styling of the HSV vehicles, with the overall aim of the design team being to emphasise the latent aggression of the engine beneath the exterior (or maybe the aggression isn’t so latent after all). Other lines and variants of the HSV range have appeared over the last (almost) twenty years since the first SS Group A SV roared out of the factory. The Clubsport, the Maloo, the Grange, the Senator and the GTS, in various incarnations, have featured in the line-up of the HSV Z-series, the VY-Series, the VY2-Series, the VX-Series and the VT-Series. Other HSV models have made occasional appearances, such as the HSV XU6 in the VT-Series and VX-Series, and the HSV SV300 in the VX range.

HSV vehicles are the quintessential Australian muscle car. HSVs are popular not only but also when exported overseas, not only to obvious places like New Zealand, but further afield to Great Britain and beyond. From Melbourne to Manchester, Sydney to Salisbury, HSVs are real classics!

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