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The 'other' supercharged HSV

The Harrop Clubsport has so much torque it’s difficult to remember what life was like without it.

Holden Special Vehicles may have created the fastest and most powerful car ever made in Australia with the new GTS but that has prompted aftermarket tuning companies to go one better – for less money than the $100,000 Holden.

Harrop Engineering, which built its reputation in V8 Supercars and now manufactures superchargers for Lotus and Ford Performance Vehicles (as well as the tuner trade) has turned its hand to the new HSV Clubsport.

It has fitted a bigger supercharger to the Clubsport’s 6.2-litre V8 than the one that comes standard on the HSV GTS. The result is a car with more power and torque for $25,000 less than the HSV GTS.

The Harrop supercharged kit costs $12,500 “drive-in, drive-out” to use the aftermarket parlance, which includes a driveline warranty backed by Harrop for the remainder of HSV’s new-car warranty.

Incredibly, Harrop has managed to extract 500kW and 900Nm (the HSV GTS is rated at 430kW and 640Nm) without having to “crack the engine open” to modify the internals.

Excuse the tech jargon for a moment but the power jump is in part because the standard HSV Clubsport’s 6.2-litre V8 has a higher compression ratio (10.7:1) than the HSV GTS’s 6.2-litre V8 (9.1:1) – and the Harrop supercharger has a bigger rotor group which can pump 2.3 litres of air per revolution versus the GTS’s 1.9 litres.

That doesn’t sound like much but the difference becomes apparent when the supercharger spins up to its maximum of 18,000rpm. The finishing touch: Harrop dials up a tad more boost for the supercharger, up from the GTS’s 8psi to 10psi. But of course, most enthusiasts rarely stop there so Harrop has come up with its own long list of extras.

The performance brake package has six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers (as with the HSV GTS) although the discs are smaller in diameter than the GTS’s. The HSV GTS has a massive, strengthened differential to handle all the power; so Harrop came up with its own strengthened diff centre that uses the same ratio as standard ($1925).

For those who want more noise without creating an ear-bleed, the Harrop 3-inch exhaust system (from the catalytic converters) adds carbon-fibre tips and $2110 to the bill. For the truly keen there is a German suspension set-up that’s been adopted by Harrop that has nine levels of adjustment front and rear ($2940).

Don’t like the standard wheels and tyres? The massive 9-inch-wide front and 10-inch-wide rear wheels add $6860. You can refit the standard Continental tyres that come standard with the new HSV range. Before you know it, you have a BMW-like parts option pricing list. But most of that is forgotten the first time you feel the acceleration.

The Harrop Clubsport has so much torque it’s difficult to remember what life was like without it. Helpfully, the power is delivered evenly rather than in a sudden rush which helps preserve the rear tyres. You know a car is fast when you need to spend most of your time not using too much throttle for fear of breaking traction.

Despite being a manual (autos tend to launch harder and faster) the Harrop Clubsport gets away smoothly but only once the speed gets above 40km/h can you open the throttle. And yet it’s incredibly driveable and not temperamental, as other modified cars are.

Our only regret? Not bringing a timing device with us to test the 0 to 100km/h potential. But having travelled more than 1000km in a new HSV GTS I can vouch that this Harrop monster feels quicker. Do you need all the added extras? I’d say the supercharger, the stronger differential and the free-er flowing exhaust are musts. As good as the other options are, they’re not necessities in my opinion.

That still brings the Harrop package in at $20,000 less than a HSV GTS – and adds $16,525 to the price of a $62,990 Clubsport.

VERDICT

It’s not a HSV GTS but it’s a worthy alternative for those who can’t quite stretch the budget to $100K drive-away for the real deal. The most complete, refined and “normal” feeling aftermarket supercharged HSV I’ve driven.

Harrop HSV Clubsport

Price: $62,990
Engine: Harrop supercharged LS3 6.2-litre V8
Power: 500kW and 900Nm
Supercharger: $12,500
Exhaust: $2110
Strengthened diff: $1925
 

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