CSV IS back – with a ’Stang.
The Corsa Specialised Vehicles company that challenged, and often trumped, HSV in the 1990s and 2000s has turned blue to revive its bird-of-prey badge with a pony car capable of 600- plus kilowatts.
It’s a decade since CSV oneupped its more established rival in the secondary-manufacturer stakes with the first local installation of GM’s 7.0-litre LS7 Corvette V8.
Company founder Peter Dichiera will tell you CSV has never been away since the days of the CSV GTS, building and modifying cars for clients across Australia in the background while he focused on raising a four-kid family – and watching “everyone logging onto a computer, making some software and reckoning they were a tuner”.
After a false re-start with a long-term client who planned to be CSV’s marketing guru, but proved uncharacteristically unreliable, then absorbing the news of Holden’s decision to quit local manufacturing, Dichiera and his team decided Australia’s bestselling sports car was the catalyst for a proper return.
“Basically, the Mustang turned up [in 2015] and we said, ‘Well, Camaro’s not coming so let’s not sit back and wait. It’s an American muscle car, it’s a good project, let’s have a go at it.’ So here we are,” Dichiera tells MOTOR.
“I built ’69 Mustangs 25 years ago for people, I’ve built XY GTs...
I build everything, I don’t love any one brand. Just because I made money from the GM-based cars in the early days doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the opposition. I go where I can make money.”
CSV is producing not one but two Mustangs at its Mildura factory, both based on the 5.0-litre Coyote V8 GT. The supercharged auto version, however, is essentially a kit from the States that the company can fit in a day.
The menacing, red and blackstriped manual Mustang pictured here is far more extensively engineered and visually customised, brimming with carbon fibre and boosted by two turbos.
That’s reflected in a price tag CSV says will be about $125,000 to $130,000 – notably more than the circa-$95,000 sticker likely for
the supercharged version and more than double the stock GT.
Potential power is also almost double the GT’s 306kW, whichever forced-induction Stang you pick.
“The [two] cars are currently sitting at about 450 kilowatts at the wheels,” says Dichiera. “Say it’s about a 20 per cent [drivetrain] loss, it’s probably about 540kW [at the engine]. There’s a few little tweaks we’re [still] doing. Because they’re such a high-compression engine, if we do an E85 tune on them, we’ll get to 600kW.”
Maximum torque should exceed 800Nm. Gulp.
Performance testing suggests that cheeky ‘RIP GTS’ promo plate should read ‘BYE W1’, while also setting CSV up for a stoush with Roush-enhanced Stangs.
The supercharged version has regularly achieved 3.8 and 11.7 seconds in the benchmark sprint tests, the latter at a velocity of 198km/h. Wipe off another few tenths with the better purchase of drag-strip VHT, adds the man known in such an arena in the 1970s as the Mildura Maverick.
Getting all that power down in the manual may be a challenge not yet fully resolved through a trial of different clutches, yet Dichiera says the launch-control-aided turbo model has still clocked a 4.1 and a 12-dead despite wheelspin – both a tenth up on HSV’s claims for the $170K GTSR W1.
CSV’s best times were produced by bolting a set of sticky Nitto rubber on the rears, which Dichiera says could be purchased alongside Pirelli Trofeos planned as standard for the turbo. A taller final drive ratio – 3.31 rather than 3.55 – was also applied to the stock six-speed to avoid time-consuming upshifts for the respective 0-100km/h and 400m runs.
The turbo manual also features a Torsen limited-slip diff primarily intended to aid rear grip off the line, but it’s also beneficial for the track, and CSV says it’s this variant’s domain. (Dichiera hopes it will follow a couple of former CSVs into GT production racing.)
If it’s not unfair to say the CSV
Turbos live deep in the engine bay, replacing the standard cats, which moved aft
Over-engineered standard Coyote engine can cop massive amounts of power
Stock Brembo six-pots are retained, but rotors and pads are upgraded
‘Racer’ Mustang scores $6000 KW adjustable coil-over suspension
Bodykit features plenty of the black weave, including splitter, skirts and wing
Sexy carbon rear diffuser adds plenty of racecar cool and matches wing
Commodores – including the Mondo interpretation of the Monaro – were a thing of beauty in terms of performance rather than aesthetics, there’s also no doubt the Mustang is a looker.
Under the customised bonnet with scoop, the two generously sized Borg-Warner turbos on each cylinder bank are well hidden, positioned where the catalytic converters used to be on the stock Mustang. In turn, the cats have been moved, in Dichiera’s words, “straight up the bum”.
And lag? None, claims Dichiera. “The Borg Warners are unbelievable turbos. Once [boost] is in, you’re just shifting gears and watching the speedo just keep climbing and climbing.”
CSV has yet to finalise names for models that will follow the likes of Veloce, Mondo and Bullet, though it’s found three committed buyers for the supercharged version.
As for future CSVs beyond the Mustang, don’t hold your breath for a modified version of the 2018 Commodore. Dichiera finds little appeal in a model without rearwheel drive or a V8.
There’s no plan, either, to build a CSV dual-cab ute, despite the huge demand for modifications.
“We do a lot of diesel performance tweaking for Rangers and HiLuxes, but that’s just to put some income in the pocket so we can keep operating. I’m not going to go and start building Rangers or anything like that. I’d rather start looking at Bimmers and Mercs.
“When V8s are gone and dead, maybe that [hot-hatch] market will start [for us]. But Mustang is here to stay, and now it’s slapping Holden around the head, [GM] will eventually get the Camaro over here, and if not I reckon those Dodge Hellcats will end up here.
“We’ll work at it one step at a time and we’ll see where we end up.” M