Home' Supercar Xtra : Apr May 2016 Issue 92 Contents 35
“We had a lot of help from Holden but
we used it to good effect. It was all a huge
success. And had we not done it HDT would
have faded away, I guess.”
Trying to juggle a successful racing outfit
with production-car commitments wasn’t
without its challenges for this small organi-
sation, especially in the Group A days.
If there was a problem on the road-car
production line, it could have direct conse-
quences on the track.
“We weren’t able to build enough of
those VK Group A Commodores the way we
wanted them in time, with the double-row
timing chains and so on,” says Harvey.
“So we had to race the cars mostly bog-
standard in 1985; we had the stock carby
on it, I think the exhaust was free, but it was
mostly just a bog-standard car.
“At Bathurst that year we were running
second and third and I think my car broke
the chain on lap 98. Peter did more laps but
broke before the end as well.”
The challenge of the VK Group A,
however, was nothing compared to that of
its 1988 VL successor, built by the nascent
Holden Special Vehicles organisation after
the famous Brock/Holden split of February
“That car was all about aero track per-
formance and it was a good car; it won at
Bathurst and that was what it all about,”
“But it was a complex car, not so much
from the race-car point of view but produc-
tion. That was the biggest task I think that
HSV ever faced. It was a complex thing to
“The first time we started assembling the
car one of the guys came over to me one day
and said, ‘The side skirts don’t fit properly’.
“He took me over, I had a look and, no,
they didn’t fit. Then another bloke said the
“At this stage we had the supplier full-
steam ahead making them!
“Then I tried them on another
Commodore and they fitted. I thought,
“So I spoke to Holden and they said,
‘Oh yeah, those cars were made at the
“The last car they ever built at that plant
was the VL Group A; they closed the plant
because it was the oldest plant they had and
a lot of the machinery had, I suppose, seen
“So we had to redo the side skirt in two
pieces and concertina it in so it could fit
The touring-car world has moved on from
the days when there was a deep connec-
tion between race cars and their road-going
equivalents, but Harvey doesn’t think it’s a
“Today it’s totally different, they’ve
designed the thing themselves, they’ve built
this thing that’s strong everywhere,” he
“It’s a proper race car, whereas we were
fiddling around with road cars and trying
to make them into a race car, which was a
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the 1983
Bathurst winner still drives the car that
is most prominently associated with his
“I’ve got a Commodore still,” he says.
“I bought a 60th anniversary model that
had a few features on it. It’s just a six, I don’t
need a V8!”
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V8X92 p30-35 WIAB Commodore.indd 35
21/03/2016 2:21 pm
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