If ever there was a year when you simply want to just mash the throttle on a 1996 HSV GTS-R, and leave nothing but a trail of smoke and rubber as you tear off into the distance, this is it.
Now, in true 2020 fashion, you can do exactly that from the comfort of your couch, thanks to an update to the Microsoft Forza Horizon 4 computer game.
Three iconic HSV models have just been added to the Xbox game, but there’s a catch.
In the ‘Series-25’ update to Forza Horizon, the bright ‘Yellah’ GTS-R is joined by the 2011 VE-Series HSV GTS and the car that started it all, the 1988 VL Group A SS ‘Walkinshaw’.
They are additional to the 2014 GEN-F GTS sedan and GTS Maloo, and pre-HSV 1985 HDT VK Commodore Group A ‘Blue Meanie’ which are already in the game – but unlike the cars already known to players, the new HSV line-up has to be earned rather than bought.
The Walkinshaw is a prize for winning the “Holden Your Horses” championship, the VE GTS is yours for taking the “Down Under” championship, but the GTS-R requires a 50 per cent completion of the Spring event playlist.
I’ll admit, I’m not sure what all that means, but a brief session driving an HQ Sandman in three races (tip: put better tyres and brakes on your car before racing) secured the VL – so if I can do it, anyone can. The GTS-R is next on the list.
Released as a flagship to the VS Commodore-based lineup, the GTS-R featured a 5.7-litre V8 with 215kW and 475Nm, paired to a six-speed manual transmission.
If you wanted more oomph, there was a $10,500 blueprinted ‘HRT Optimised’ engine option (hefty, considering the car listed at $76k) which boosted output to 230kW and 500Nm. Only 12 buyers did.
The ‘any colour you like as long as it is pastel yellow’ bodywork was accentuated by carbon fibre trim components, a giant HRT touring-car style rear wing and oh-so-90s tri-spoke 17-inch wheels. Rumour has it that the colour choice on the GTS-R came courtesy of a well-priced batch of unsold VS Commodore taxis…
The interior followed suit, with unique yellow-cloth trim, identification badges, and… well, little else. Even an $80,000 bespoke Commodore was still a Commodore in 1996.
Just 85 were made, with 10 of those exported across the ditch to New Zealand.
Clayton’s finest moment? Probably not, but the VS GTS-R is an undeniable Australian motoring icon from a time of hypercolour t-shirts and rollerblades. A real one is six-figure spendy, and a decent VF Commodore is easily quicker, so perhaps get your game on and ‘win’ the HSV ‘Banana’ as fun ‘stay at home’ way of scratching that HSV itch!
Let us know how you get on in the comments below!