Chevrolet Holden Motorsports Oh the humanity

VIDEO: Chevrolet SS Pace Car lights my fire

Chevrolet SS safety car

The 2014 NASCAR season has begun with the bizarre sight of the Chevrolet SS (née Commodore SS) Pace Car catching fire while it was leading the field around Daytona International Raceway.

“Tower, we’re on fire,” came the confirmation from Brett Bodine behind the wheel of the flaming Pace Car.

Feeling a bit sorry for the Pace Car, and perhaps Holden’s plight, racing legend Dale Earnhardt Jr came to the Chevy’s defence: “I guess it was the batteries in the back for the lights, because cars just don’t catch on fire like that,” Earnhardt said.

“It was pretty weird.”

A faulty battery pack to power the safety lights has been blamed for the fire.

The light-hearted incident was best summed up by Brad Keselowski who was the driver behind the Pace Car at the time: “When you think you’ve seen it all, then you see that!

“That was an interesting one; I just saw the whole back of the car on fire. I thought it was a race car, and then someone said it was the pace car and I just started laughing.”

You can see video of the incident after the break.

[Source: SB Nation]

Chevrolet Holden

Chevrolet gives V8 Commodore SS hope post-2017

Holden VF Commodore SS

According to the website the V8-powered VF Commodore SS may have a life beyond the closure of Holden’s local production operations in 2017:

Holden fans will still have the chance to drive a rear-wheel drive V8 sedan with the Lion badge on the nose after the death of the VF Commodore in 2017 if a General Motors plan to build a second generation Chevrolet SS gets the green light.

GM is currently studying the feasibility of developing and building the next SS in the USA, taking over from the current Commodore VF-based version that is built in the doomed Elizabeth plant.

If the business case does stack up it will definitely be exported to Australia and sold as Holden.

Keeping the SS alive would also provide a lifeline for Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), which is facing an uncertain future without a rear-wheel drive Commodore to hot up into Clubsport, GTS and the like post-2017.

If you read the full article you’ll see there’s still quite a bit of water to pass under the bridge to make this happen. But if you like your Aussie V8s maybe you can still just want one.


GM Holden News

Holden to cease local production in 2017

Holden VF Calais

News has come through from General Motors in Detroit confirming the inevitable: Holden will stop making cars in Australia in 2017.

GM’s full statement can be read after the break, but here’s a few snippets:

“We are completely dedicated to strengthening our global operations while meeting the needs of our customers,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world.”


Holden will continue to have a significant presence in Australia beyond 2017, comprising a national sales company, a national parts distribution centre and a global design studio.


Since 2001, the Australian dollar has risen from US$0.50 to as high as US$1.10 and from as low as 47 to as high as 79 on the Trade Weighted Index. The Australian automotive industry is heavily trade exposed. The appreciation of the currency alone means that at the Australian dollar’s peak, making things in Australia was 65 percent more expensive compared to just a decade earlier.

This may have been a day we knew would come, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept. We hope those many thousands of workers who will lose their jobs are able to minimise the impact they will face.

Ford 2016; Holden 2017; how long until Toyota pulls the plug?

[Pic: GM Corp]

Ford Holden News Toyota

The elephant in the assembly hall

Holden VF Calais

The future of Australia’s automotive manufacturing sector has been in the news quite a bit lately. The decision by Ford to cease local manufacturing in 2016 has certainly helped. But increased scrutiny has also brought government assistance to the automotive sector into the spotlight.

In the face of declining sales the public is asking why the government is spending so much to support local manufacturing if the multinational companies making merry with our taxpayer’s loot are just going to leave anyway.

So the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries is here to put things right. They’ve commissioned a report to investigate what would happen to the local economy if Holden and Toyota were to follow Ford’s lead and close down their factories by 2018.

The magic number produced by the FCAI report is $21.5 billion. Apparently that’s the size of the hole our economy would find itself dealing with if cars were no longer made in Australia.

As it currently stands Australians contribute $18 each on a per capita basis to come up with the $500 million passed on to the automotive sector. According to the FCAI report that investment gives a return of $934 per person, bringing us back to the impressive $21.5 billion figure.

That’s a pretty good return on investment, don’t you think.

You can download the FCAI report here (1.8mb PDF), all 86 pages of it. Yet in the whole report just two thirds of a page is set aside to discuss the demand for the motor vehicles made in Australia.

It’s true a potential $21.5 billion hit to our economy is no laughing matter, but unless the FCAI can come up with some buyers, you know, actual people who want to buy our locally made cars in sufficient numbers, then isn’t the end inevitable?

[Pic: GM Corp]

Holden Video

The world’s fastest ute?

Holden VF SSV ute at the Nurburgring

When we first saw pics of the Holden VF ute circulating at the Nürbugring we sensed it was little more than a marketing gimmick. And it looks as though we were right. With the VF SSV Redline ute Holden is claiming the title of the world’s fastest utlility vehicle at the Ring, a title which, until now, never existed.

Holden test driver Rob Trubiani was at the wheel during an industry pool test day and posted a lap time of 8:19.47, around 11 seconds better than their 8:30 target time. Holden says the car is a “product-correct engineering test vehicle” with its speed limiter removed and increased negative camber at the front wheels.

You can expect to see and hear a lot more about this lap when the VF ute goes on sale. For now there’s a decent gallery of pics and four videos for you to watch.

The main video shows the full lap with commentary from Trubiani, it’s actually quite a decent effort we have to say. Despite Trubiani’s claims that the ute’s electric power steering is the duck’s guts, to our untrained eye it looks a touch light and requires too much turn to reach full lock.


Great balls of fire!

V8 Supercar driver Karl Reindler has walked away from this astonishing crash with nothing more than second degree burns to his hands. The incident happened at Barbagallo Raceway this morning after Reindler stalled his car on the starting grid and was hit from behind by Steve Owen, who also escaped without serious injury.

Speaking after the accident Reindler said, “I loaded the clutch up and it stalled. I had my foot all the way down; I didn’t even release the clutch. I couldn’t get it going at all. There’s nothing I could do.

“Before I knew it I saw flames inside the car. I guess I panicked and tried to get out as quick as I could. My body’s fine, it’s just my hands.”

[Source: Speedcafe]

UPDATE: New video has been added above which shows Channel 7 pitlane reporter Mark Larkham inspecting the burnt wreckage of Reindler’s car. Replays and subsequent commentary from Neil Crompton and Mark Skaife follows. After the break you can see footage of the incident as it happened.

Formula 1 Holden Motorsports

TeamVodafone confirms Bathurst driver swap

The TeamVodafone V8 Supercar website has confirmed the planned promo event at Mount Panorama, Bathurst is all set to go ahead next Tuesday, 22 March. The event will start at 11am and features five time Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes and 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button.

Both men will drive their own car around the legendary 6.2km circuit during the event. After a lunch break Lowndes will take to the track in a McLaren MP4-23 F1 car, while Button will do laps in the Holden Commodore V8 Supercar.

Entry is open to the public and a gold coin donation will be collected to go towards the Queensland and Victorian flood appeals. It’s sure to be a once in a lifetime, which is exactly why AUSmotive will be there to see all the action.

[Source: TeamVodafone]

Holden Motorsports

Another look at Fabian Coulthard’s spectacular Bathurst crash

Here’s a couple of new YouTube clips of Fabian Coulthard’s violent crash from lap 1 of the recent Supercheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst. The two clips were recorded by fans from the inside of The Chase and give a good insight into the crowd reaction.

GM Safety Issues Volkswagen

Crash test footage: They don’t make them like they used to!

Here’s a couple of YouTube clips that prove beyond any doubt that they don’t make cars like they used to.

While it may be feeble to compare two different crash tests filmed over with cars built 20 years apart (first clip an early 1980s Holden VB Commodore, second a Volkswagen Mk5 Jetta), the results shown are both shocking and confronting. In isolation, the second clip itself is still quite alarming, but comparatively, it is rather more reassuring.