Holden VH, VK Commodore History

By: Glenn Torrens

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holden commodore vh holden commodore vh

Glenn Torrens traces the Holden Commodore's heritage, this time looking at the VH-VK series


Holden VH Commodore

141,018 built

A lower bonnet line plus sharper-styled headlights and tail lights distinguished the VH series – SL, SL/X and the distinctive SL/E, available with an optional (and now highly collectible) burgundy, light or dark blue, or green-over-silver Shadowtone paint. Four-cylinder and 2.85-litre sixes were available with the option of a Borg Warner five-speed manual gearbox, as well as the four-speed manual and Trimatic.

In early 1982, the SS badge returned to Holden dealers (there had been an HQ Holden SS sedan and LX Torana SS sedan and hatch) in a red – and later white – simple no-nonsense performance sedan with standard 4.2-litre V8, M21 performance four-speed gearbox, silver-hued alloy wheels and lower, tighter suspension. Many SSs were built to Group One, Two and Three specs by Peter Brock’s officially endorsed (and increasingly successful) Melbourne-based HDT Special Vehicles. The VH was to be the last chrome-bumper Holden.


Holden VK Commodore

135,705 built

Holden -vk -commodore

Large wrap-around moulded plastic bumpers, a three-slat plastic grille and extra side windows behind the rear doors’ window frames were the controversial styling updates for the VK Commodore in February 1984. There were also new badges: Executive, Berlina, SS and Calais were the steps up the range from the base SL.

Australian-made six-cylinder power remained but was 3.3-litres only (except outside Australia where the four-cylinder was still available) with option of five-speed but had extra tech of Electronic Spark Timing (EST) and now-black paint. Bosch electronic multi-point fuel injection, badged Ei, was standard on Calais and optional on others. Calais had oh-so-1980s video-game electronic instruments, too. The optional V8 is now 5.0-litre only… and news of the V8’s planned demise kick-started the now famous "V8s ’til ’98" campaign by Street Machine and Wheels magazines. HDT had a bigger role in assembling the SS models as well as the Formula Blue-hued SS Group A.


Read more:

- Holden Commodore VB-VC
- Holden Commodore VL 

- Back to Holden Commodore VB-VL heritage homepage



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