HSV is set to go down in history as the producer of Australia's most powerful muscle car.
Not content to fade away gently at the conclusion of Australian manufacturing, insiders say the brand is working on a secret project to send-off its locally-made Commodore flagship with the heart of a heroic Corvette.
While HSV officially would not comment on its future model programs, it is understood to be working on a project to ensure that the final Australian V8 will "go out with a bang" by putting together a deal to transplant the supercharged 6.2-litre heart of the discontinued Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 into what would be the ultimate Australian muscle car.
Introduced in 2009, Chevrolet's LS9 V8 looks set to be the engine of choice as it is similar in size to the Camaro-sourced LSA V8 used in the current Gen-F GTS – unlike the current LT-series engines that may not fit under the Commodore's bonnet.
Producing 476kW at 6500rpm and 819Nm at 3800rpm, the LS9 would represent the most powerful engine ever sold in an Australian-made car, outgunning Ford's final 351kW FPV GT-F by an order of magnitude.
While fundamentally similar to the 430kW motor currently used by HSV, the LS9 features several key changes intended to produce more performance.
It has a 20 per cent larger supercharger, titanium con-rods, forged internals and larger intercooler along with a race-ready dry sump lubrication system that keeps oil in a remote reservoir beside the engine rather than in a pan underneath the block.
Experts suggest local know-how acquired while developing the dry-sumped 7.0-litre HSV W427 of 2008 could allow the LS9 to go to work under the bonnet of the last Australian muscle car. It's also possible that the Brembo-sourced carbon ceramic brakes of the ZR1 could reappear on the final GTS, pushing prices beyond $100,000.
The catch is that such a model would be a thoroughly limited edition. General Motors is said to have limited stock of the LS9 engine, which could result in less than 200 examples of the ultimate HSV being produced, making it a limited edition in the same vein as the HSV GTS Maloo.
It's also likely that the final GTS would wear the GTS-R nameplate last seen on a production car in 1996. The model would be a fitting crown for HSV's last run of performance cars as the supercharged V8 of the current GTS is set to see wider use throughout the range, while Holden's final Commodore SS looks set to receive the 6.2-litre Chevrolet LS3 V8 that currently serves in the 340kW HSV Clubsport R8.