Unicorn Commodores - What Do You Reckon? 429

By: Glenn Torrens

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Chasing a hot tip, Glenn Torrens finds himself in a one-sided discussion with a bloke with no clues

Regular readers may remember my mention of a ‘Special Production Formula VL Group E Turbo’ Commodore earlier this year.

However, I couldn’t find any reliable info anywhere.

Many long-term enthusiasts, journos, insurance company staff and collectors I’ve spoken to have at some time heard tall tales regarding ‘special’, ‘secret’, and ‘only-one-ever-built-for-my-boss’s-uncle’s-mate,’ cars.

| Read more: 'Special Production' build plates - What Do You Reckon

Another bloke I know, Jim, has played with Commodores since the VB. He owned and restored the HDT Commodore prototype from 1979 and owned one of the 1980s ex-track VL Turbo Group E/Improved Production race cars this allegedly ‘special production’-plated car was apparently built to be. Jim’s ex-racer didn’t have any ‘special production’ build plate.

Recently I interviewed Warwick Bryce. He’s the ex-Holden engineer largely responsible for the 1980 VC Holden engine’s 12-port head design, the VK Commodore’s optional Bosch EFI, the integration of the Nissan engine into VL and Buick engine into VN, the development of the new heads and EFI for the VL SS Group A and VN V8 motors - and all the 3.8, 5.0 and 5.7-litre engine calibrations until VT. Oh, he was also on the team that created the early-90s experimental over-head-cam three-valve Holden EFI V8 that’s become legendary among Holden V8 enthusiasts.

Surely, he would know…

He knew nothing of it, mentioning that with the HDT-homologation V8 and turbo-optioned VLs flying the performance flags for Holden, there was no need for the model and simply no ‘special production’ department at all at Holden when performance development was managed in conjunction with HDT.

However, one of the owners of these allegedly ‘special production’ VL Turbos (allegedly there are two – which is why I thought it worth investigating despite a quarter-century of my professionally honed scepticism) read of my investigations and messaged me via Facebook:

"You F***** lying piece of sh*t", "You talk so much sh*t it’s sickening", "f888en lying mongrel piece of sh*t", "sh*t talker", "Dumb arse sh*t you got no idea about",  "I just wanna burn you now and hopefully I catch you at a car show", "Yeah I’ve seen your cars and your knowledge", "Driveline codes lol you got no idea what your talking bout lol driveline codes you understand what you talk about", "I don’t care what you or your mates think as I can prove not claim that your so wrong", "Your a gronk with no idea about Holden or there cars I’ve got screen shots of your knowledge and your cars lol and proof you will see as I said maybe not the way you will want to".

That’s just a sample of the more than 1000-word rant from this bloke… yet despite my respectful asking, he didn’t provide even a glimpse of the paperwork/proof he claims to have from (his words) ‘Holdens tech line’ of the ‘special production’ car he wrote was ‘first brought in the 80s by my Aunty.’ Reasonable proof is what any enthusiast, buyer, collector, museum, insurance company or Unique Cars magazine reader would expect… but not this bloke! But as I asked before: if anyone – especially ex-Holden staffers – knows anything, get in touch!

In complete contrast to this is a very special Holden Commodore I know of: a 1990 VN Commodore SS Group A prototype.

It has the yellow PILOT plate that Holden fitted to production-line built prototypes. The second under-bonnet plate lists the VN Group A’s model and driveline codes confirming it as factory-built, not a test-hack converted by Holden engineers.

Later, it became a spare Holden Racing Team car and was later updated with VP and then VR Commodore panels.

It’s been restored recently by a bloke I know, Nick. With its build plates and hardware backed-up by photos, videos and other evidence over 25 years, there is absolutely no doubt about its provenance. Nick’s family’s and suppliers’ efforts with this restoration is to be commended and we’ll be featuring it soon.


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