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A Holden-sourced hotrod for the U.S. has all but been confirmed by GM after an OnStar slipup and the resulting media storm, but official details are still just out of reach. Even without that information, there’s a reasonable argument to be made that the rear-drive Chevrolet SS will be less than prolific.
In Australia, few concept cars are as revered as the Holden Hurricane, which originally debuted at the 1969 Melbourne Motor Show.
Created in almost total secret by a small staff of engineers, in conjunction with Holden’s Advanced Design group, not only was the Hurricane a futuristic styling exercise (the lift up canopy was very Buck Rogers), it also incorporated a number of technological advancements which can be considered the forerunners of many features found on modern cars and trucks.
These include automatic air conditioning, a rearview camera and the ‘Pathfinder;’ an early guidance or navigation system, that relied on a series of embeded magnets along the route which the car traveled, plus a dash mounted indicator which signaled the driver when to turn. It can rightly be considered as a precursor to today’s GPS units.
Power for this fiberglass wonder came courtesy of an experimental 253 cubic inch (4.3-liter) V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor, which cranked out a respectable (for the time) 263 hp. Like other aspects of the car, this engine was an innovation for its time, and the 253 was later introduced to production Holdens.
Other neat aspects of the Hurricane (internally coded RD 001) included digital instrumentation, flip up headlights, station-seeking radio, foam lined gas tank, safety locks, even an onboard fire warning system.
“There are some genuinely remarkable ideas and technology in the Hurricane,” said Rick Martin, former Holden Chief Studio Engineer. “From the automatic air-conditioning and magnet-based guidance system, to the inertia-reel seat belts and metallic paint, this was a car that was genuinely ahead of its time.
Given that RD 001 was such a groundbreaking vehicle, it deserved better than languishing in a back room, gathering dust once its show days were over.
In 2006 a decision was taken to restore the Hurricane to it’s former glory, though in order to achieve the desired result, much time was needed researching the car and its innovative systems, plus using original parts wherever possible. Paul Clarke, Holden’s manager for Creative Hard Modelling, has been largely responsible for managing the restoration, what original components weren’t salvageable were remade using modern techniques to achieve 1969 specs.
Now completed and as fresh as the day it made it’s original debut, the Holden Hurricane is due to make another debut, this time the Motorclassica car show at the Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building, which runs from October 21-23.
The Hurricane was not only years ahead of its time, it also set the stage for future milestone concept cars from Holden, including the GTR-X, Torana TT36, Coupe 60, the GMC Denali XT (requested specifically by GM for the North American market) and the award-winning EFIJY.
It also helped foister the brand’s reputation as a builder of world class show and concept vehicles (currently it operates one of the three GM design centers capable of making such vehicles).
“The entire team has done a fantastic job in bringing [the Hurricane] back to life,” Clarke said. “This beautiful concept plays a crucial role in Holden’s story and the company has such a great sense of history and heritage that it was very important to bring RD 001 back to life. It’s been a challenging but incredibly rewarding process.”
For more information on the amazing Hurricane, click here
Gallery: Holden Hurricane
You probably have not heard of a car company called Joss, and you probably won’t see one running around in your neighborhood either, but this new Australian supercar builder will be unveiling their first production model later this year.
So far known as the JP1 (official model name will be announced at the cars launch), this 2200-lbs supercar will feature a 6.8-liter V8, producing about 500-hp. Power will be fed to the rear wheels by a Albins Zero-Shift automated manual gearbox, which should see it accelerate from 0-60 mph in a claimed sub-3.0 second range, and onto a guesstimate top-speed of 224 mph. Sounds impressive and we hope it can actually back those claims with real world numbers.
A rendering of this $500,000 car was shown recently at the 2011 Australian Motor Show, with the current prototype taking center stage on their booth. Only 25 examples will be built each year, let’s hope they each find nice garages to call home.
[Source: Motor Authority]
This is why Australians are cool! Not only is the FPV Black Concept a sinister looking sedan, but it’s powered by a supercharged Ford 5.0-liter V8 making 449-hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Sure our Boss 302 makes similar numbers without a supercharger, but you can be sure the torque levels at low rpm in this mean sedan are unreal. Plus, it also makes for an easily tuneable platform.
Built by the Ford Performance Vehicle division (Australia’s version of SVT), it’s based on the FPV Falcon GT – which already gets that incredible powerplant. What’s new here is the murdered-out look and a few extras.
The list of add-ons is long and gives a look at the sort of accessories and special edition models Ford may offer. Included on the concept is a full black paint job with a matte black stripe package on the hood, rear spoiler, doors and rear diffuser. A set of stunning slit-spoke 5-spoke 19-inch wheels has been outfitted to the sedan, and custom bodywork includes a custom front bumper with new brake duct coolers.
Improving handling is a track-tuned suspension setup, while a stainless steel exhaust lets the big engine howl. And for added stopping power there’s a six-piston front and four-piston rear brake setup.
Inside doesn’t escape the black theme ether with dark leather interior. Even the trim pieces come in black.
Unveiled today at the Melbourne Auto Show in Australia, it’s the first ever FPV concept car and hopefully a sign of things to come. Now if only the Falcon was available in the U.S.
Contrary to a rather exciting recent report that’s been circulating, Ford won’t be bringing the Falcon to U.S. shores, meaning we won’t get to appreciate some Ford of Australia engineered RWD V8 sedan goodness unless we book a day long flight to down under. Original plans to bring the Falcon to the U.S. (requiring Ford of Australia to engineer a new left-hand drive version of the car) were reportedly canned in 2008 and have not been revived.
It’s not all bad news, however, with Ford still likely to bring the Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) Falcon GT’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine to America. Execs at the Blue Oval’s Aussie division have confirmed their desire to export this new engine, which in the top-level Falcon makes 449-hp and 420 ft-lbs of torque.
As for what it would be used for, both the Mustang and Ford Raptor are obvious choices.
[Source: Car & Driver]
We recently reported on rumors that Chevrolet is planning to bring back the Caprice full-sized sedan, based on the RWD Holden Statesman. This, however, is being denied by the folks at Holden, with Emily Perry, the Australian automaker’s communications director, commenting that “We have no plans to export that vehicle as a civilian car at this stage.”
GM had already announced a police interceptor based on the Statesman and sold as a Caprice to police agencies in North America, and recently even added the Caprice PPV (Police Patrol Vehicle) Detective Package to the list.
Interestingly, Perry wasn’t as unequivocal when it came to the question of the Commodore returning to the U.S. (sold in North America as the Pontiac G8 from 2008-09). Former Holden marketing director Mark Reuss had commented in the past that the company was looking for ways to salvage something from the G8 program and it has been suggested that GM may be looking to build a small prestige brand of RWD cars within the larger Chevy brand, much like what Hyundai has done with the Genesis.
The entire return of the G8/Commodore seems extremely unlikely however, with an all new platform due out in 2012, meaning that GM would have to act soon in bringing a rear-drive Holden back to the U.S., before the architecture becomes obsolete.