Holden VN Commodore + VG ute History

By: Glenn Torrens

holden commodore vn 2 holden commodore vn 2
holden commodore vn 3 holden commodore vn 3
holden commodore vn 4 holden commodore vn 4

Glenn Torrens traces the Holden Commodore's heritage, this time looking at the VN series plus the VG ute



215,180 built

Holden -commodore -vn -3

At launch in early 1988, the VN was available as SL (fleet buyers only) Executive, S, Berlina and Calais; the Calais and S were sedan only. There was also a Toyota Lexcen version – but that’s a story for another day. All were powered by the torquey 125kW V6 with either five-speed manual or four-speed auto trans. The fuel-injected 5.0-litre V8 option – and the SS model – arrived in 1989. Due to the wider body being built on the VL’s front track, VNs had a knock-kneed appearance especially on the base-spec 14-inch wheels.

Holden -commodore -vn -5

The VN was where the fledgling Holden Special Vehicles really got into gear, beginning with the SV3800 before SV89, the 200kW-powered SV5000, the Club Sport and the Ute-based Maloo arrived with Holden’s freshly fuel-injected 5.0-litre V8. The number of VNs built – more than 215,000 – is testament to its broad appeal to the family and fleet markets. It received ‘Car of the Year’ gongs from most motoring media organisations including our sister title Wheels.


5690 built

Holden -vg -ute

During the second-half of the 1980s the made-in-Japan Isuzu-sourced Rodeo had been Holden’s offering to the farmer or tradie, but the Australian development of the VN Commodore’s long-wheelbase wagon and luxury Statesman/Caprice versions gave Holden the chance to once again offer a traditional passenger-car based ute, complete with the option of three-seat bench and a column-shift auto.

Holden -vg -ute -2

The Holden Ute (it wasn’t actually badged Commodore) was powered by the same engines as the Commodore range; 3.8-litre V6 or 5.0-litre V8. Unlike every previous Holden ute that had used leaf springs under the tail, the 1990 VG had coil sprung rear suspension shared with the wagon but, with its carrying capacity increased with helper springs.

- Holden VP Commodor, VQ Statesman & Caprice
Holden VR-VS Commodore

Back to Holden VN-VS series homepage 


Unique Cars magazine Value Guides

Sell your car for free right here


Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.