Holden Commodore VT, VX History

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Glenn Torrens traces the Holden Commodore's heritage, this time looking at the VT and VX series


Holden Commodore VT

303,895 built

For VT, an all-new body was wrapped around the VS drivelines: Ecotec 3.8-litre V6, V6 Supercharged and a surprising final fling for the fuel-injected Aussie 5.0-litre V8:
We all expected the ex-Corvette LS1 V8 but that came later. When new, VT received some criticism for being heavy but the extra safety and integrity of the bigger body – plus standard features such as driver’s airbag and electric seat, and independent rear suspension on all sedans and wagons – made the weight worthwhile. But the independent suspension – not quite right on early-build VTs – chewed-out rear tyres.

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The VT was a great looking car, with every model, from the base Executive up, styled by true car enthusiasts to be ‘premium’ and ‘aspirational’. The SS took on a new mantle as an upmarket performance car; more like an HSV than ever. VTII in mid-1999 saw the introduction of the imported GM LS1 all-alloy 5.7-litre V8 including, a little later, a special 300kW version for HSV’s GTS.


Holden VX Commodore

211,125 built

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As with most model updates, the VX Commodore from August 2000 had styling tweaks to the lights, bumpers and interior trims. There was greater differentiation between models, with the base Executive having a slabby great body-colour garnish on the bootlid that reminded some wiser owners of 1960s Belmonts. Berlina and Calais (and HSV) had extra inset lights at the rear and different grille and headlight styling.

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Most people didn’t notice but the VXII update gave the series – plus the new Monaro and the LWB luxury twins of Statesman and Caprice – far better driveline smoothness with a rubber-bushed driveshaft and an extra toe-link in the rear suspension for a little more mid-corner sharpness without the need for harder bushes. Surprisingly, it was fitted to the wagons, too.


Another Great Eight

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With a roller cam, increased compression, sequential injection and a twin-cat exhaust, the 5.0-litre V8 used in the VT was a lovely last blast for the then two-decade old all-iron design. However, even before the VT had been launched, Holden was working on its replacement, GM’s LS-series V8 announced in 1996 for the C5 Corvette. Developed by GM in the USA with iron and alloy blocks and several capacities, for Australia (and Middle East export) Holden chose the alloy 5.7-litre version closely related to that used in the Corvette. In Holdens it had 220kW; HSV had an internally identical version with 250kW thanks to breathing and PCM tweaks. Shock, horror, the engine has only two valves per cylinder and used pushrods in an era of multi-valve over-head cam screamers but its real-world output, economy and durability has endeared it to fast car fans as one of the world’s great engines.


Read more:

- Holden Commodore VY, VZ plus V2 Monaro

- Back to Holden VT-VZ series homepage


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