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 800-plus horses.
It’s a decade since CSV one-upped its more established rival in the secondary-manufacturer stakes with the first local installation of GM’s Corvette 7.0-litre LS7 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 best-selling 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,” says Dichiera.
I built ’69 Mustangs 25 years ago for people, I’ve built GT XYs… 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 black-striped manual Mustang pictured here is a far more extensively engineered and visually customised beast, 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 of the forced-induction Stangs you pick.
“The [two] cars are currently sitting at about 450 rear-wheel kilowatts, so they're making about 610 horsepower at the wheels,” says Dichiera.
“Say it’s about a 20 per cent loss, it’s probably about 540kW. There’s a few little tweaks we’re [still] doing. Because they're such a high-compression engine, if we do an E-85 tune on them, we'll get to 600kW.”
Maximum torque should exceed 800Nm. 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 about 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 $170K W1.
CSV’s best times were produced by bolting a set of sticky Nitto rubber on the rears, though Dichiera says a set could be purchased alongside the Pirelli Trofeos planned as standard for the turbo.
A taller final drive ratio – from 3.55 to 3.31 – was also applied to the stock six-speed manual to avoid time-consuming upshifts from both second and fourth – for the respective 0-100 and quarter-mile runs.
The turbo manual also features a Torsen limited-slip diff primarily intended to aid rear grip off the line but also beneficial for the track that CSV says is this variant’s targeted domain. (Dichiera hopes it will follow a couple of former CSVs into GT production racing.)
In addition to the beefier rear axle, new driveshaft and new exhaust system, the “racer” version features a $6000 KW Club Sport adjustable coil-over suspension, $8000 worth of aero body kit comprising front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser and “NASCAR-style” rear wing all in carbon fibre, and a $12,000 wheel and tyre package.
The Rotiform monoblock rims are wrapped in those Pirellis that are 295mm wide up front and 305mm at the rear. Brembo calipers are retained from the GT but cop a rotor and pad upgrade.
If it’s not unfair to say the CSV 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 its turbo twist on 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”.
Customised plumbing was simplified by blow-off valves being integrated into the turbos.
The 3.5-inch exhaust exits to dual 4.5-inch tips via central and rear mufflers. CSV hasn’t ruled out a bi-modal system for drive-by regs, though says the car “isn’t super loud”.