Each is remaining tight-lipped on exactly what the 'last hurrah' will be, but a new trademark registration from parent company General Motors might provide some answers.
The carmaker has called dibs on the GTS-R name, which previously adorned a ‘Melbourne taxi yellow’ (officially called ‘Yellah’) sedan in HSV’s VS-derived range almost 20 years ago.
The VS GTS-R immediately connected with Australian Holden and HSV fans, who snapped up all of the 85 units offered for sale despite a relatively steep (by 1996 standards) $75,000 asking price.
For that amount, the venerable Holden fuel-injected eight-cylinder engine had its capacity increased from 5.0 to 5.7 litres for an output of 215kW, but adding ten grand to the purchase price would see the engine ‘blueprinted’ for an output closer to 230kW.
Along with the yellow paint finish, tri-spoke black alloy wheels and a body-kit with Group A Touring Car-like rear wing were not-negotiable one-size-fits-all features, as was the six-speed manual transmission.
The GTS-R’s popularity and that of other HSV products were helped by the dominance of the Holden Racing Team throughout the 1996 Australian Touring Car Championship, with driver Craig Lowndes completing the very rare 'three-peat' of claiming the Championship, Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 in the same year.
The HRT enduro wins were shared with Greg Murphy, who would go on to replace Lowndes in the team for the 1997 season while the Australian tried his luck in Formula 3000 racing.
So what, if anything, does Holden or HSV have planned for the GTS-R nameplate?
There are no details at this stage, and anything under development will certainly be a closely-guarded secret for as long as possible.
One ‘safe bet’ might include a powered-up sedan with outputs to top the current GTS and its 430kW/740Nm. Another safe bet might be a price-tag north of $100,000…
An alternative view could see GM simply moving to protect the nameplate to ensure no-one spoils its going-away party for the locally-built Commodore ahead of the 2017 farewell.
But given the registration also covers “metal trinkets, keys, key rings” and a whole lot more, it appears GM has something up its sleeve.
The registration for the GTS-R name was lodged on December 2. Stay tuned for more.
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