According to Australian automotive publication Drive.com.au, HSV got the idea to give its performance-obsessed customers a more powerful version of the Colorado pickup whilst it was still developing the HSV SportsCat back in 2017. Rather than tinkering with the truck’s factory 2.8L LWN I-4 turbodiesel engine, HSV decided it would be easier and more effective to tap the 6.2L LT1 V8 engine and GM 10-speed automatic transmission from the Chevy Camaro for its new performance pickup.
The company drove an LT1 V8-powered Colorado around for two years as it tinkered with the setup – all the while going unnoticed due to the prototype’s stock outward appearance. It even negotiated for the V8 engines to be installed on the Holden Colorado’s production line in Thailand after it realized that swapping the factory diesel engine out in favor of a V8 at its home base in Australia would have been too costly.
What’s even more interesting is that HSV was allegedly also developing an LT1 V8-powered Chevy Colorado ZR2 for the United States alongside its SportsCat-based prototype. This was apparently an attempt for HSV to break into the U.S. market and expand its horizons beyond Australia and New Zealand.
All this work went down the drain when GM announced last February that it would be axing the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand – killing Thai production of the Colorado platform and ending HSV’s V8-powered pickup program just months before the vehicle was set to enter production. The company was planning to sell around 2,000 examples of the truck a year at a starting price of $79,990 – which would have made it competitive with the local market Ford Ranger Raptor.
Drive.com.au got the opportunity to test this ill-fated HSV Colorado pickup on track at Sandown Raceway in Melbourne and found it to be unexpectedly well-built, with the writer saying the truck “doesn’t feel like a vehicle that has had a heart transplant,” and that was “surprisingly refined and easy to drive.” They also observed a zero to 60 mph time of about 5.5 seconds.
While a V8-powered Chevy Colorado ZR2 will probably never see the light of day in the U.S., the 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 offers a similar (albeit larger) package when equipped with the available 6.2L L87 V8 engine.