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SECRET LT1 V8 CHEVROLET COLORADO ZR2 PROGRAM REVEALED

It Would Have Come From Australia And It Would Have Been Fantastic.

2021 2022 2023 Chevrolet Holden Colorado ZR2 Sand Dune Metallic
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks

Have you ever thought that the world would be a better place if there was a version of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 equipped with an LT1 V8 and 10-speed transmission ripped from a 2016 Camaro SS? Us, too. Unfortunately, it’s a plan that died when General Motors decided to kill off its iconic Australian brand, Holden.

According to Australia’s DRIVE, Holden Special Vehicles was on the verge of delivering V8-powered Colorado pickup trucks to local showrooms when General Motors abruptly drowned the Holden brand in early 2020. But the program wouldn’t have been limited to Oceana, as HSV was also working on a V8-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 for export to the US market.

2020 2021 2022 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Sand Dune Metallic
Image credit Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks

The plan began in 2017, just as GM was planning to stop making cars in Australia. Instead of throwing buckets of cash at trying to hot-rod the Colorado’s factory 2.8L turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, HSV went looking for a whole new engine altogether.

Luckily, the company had a pair of destroyed Camaro SS muscle cars from side-impact tests required for homologation. The 6.2L LT1 V8 engines and 10-speed automatic transmissions were transplanted into a pair of Colorado pickups. One went to an NA-spec Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, and the other was given to a Holden Colorado that would be developed for Australia.

With bigger brakes and a syncopated burble the only giveaways as to what lay beneath the hood, HSV went about testing and tuning these trucks in plain sight for the next two years. The crew worked on engine and transmission management software, stability control, along with braking improvements to cope with the new power and capability. Apparently, HSV engineers say they have seen 0–60 mph times in the 4.5- to 5.0-second bracket for the Colorado V8.

In fact, the project was even so far along that HSV had already negotiated for the 6.2L LT1 V8 and 10-speed automatic transmission to be installed at the Colorado’s assembly plant in Thailand. HSV was mere months away from ramping up production and beginning deliveries of the Colorado V8 to Holden showrooms.

That’s when the phone call came from Detroit.

Holden was pronounced dead, and work on the HSV Colorado V8 was stopped immediately. It’s too bad because an LT1 V8-powered Colorado ZR2 sounds close enough to a road-legal version of Ford’s upcoming Bronco DR to be worth the trouble.

If Chevrolet Colorado (and GMC Canyon) owners did want more power from their midsize trucks without having to pay five figures for a V8 heart transplant, there’s an alternative solution: supercharger packages offered by the likes of Callaway and Lingenfelter.

Written by Michael Accardi

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