Wagon Day - Revcounter 436

By: Guy Allen

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holden vk wagon holden vk wagon

On-again or off-again project? It's looking like a goer

I wonder how many other people wandered out to their shed, and pondered the future of their toy, when Holden announced the Commodore nameplate was, from the end of 2019, officially pining for the fjords. It hardly came as a surprise. For many it was a welcome relief as the fully-imported ZB series was seen as an insult to a locally-developed line – no matter how good it might have been as a car.

The demise of the Commodore name has given owners and collectors pause for thought about their own examples. Though I’d never be described as a died-in-the-wool fan of the breed, I’ve had a few as company cars across the years and currently have one in the shed at Chateau Despair. Well, most of one. It’s a VK Berlina wagon I bought from Mick, ringmaster and head mechanic at Glenlyon Motors and one of our workshop columnists. It arrived minus a powerplant and transmission. At least one of those problems was fixed when we tracked down an excellent 355 stroker project engine – brand new – for less than replacement cost. So far so good.


That was over a year ago. You see life got in the way and I kind of got distracted by a bunch of other projects, including two other car purchases. Things got to a point where, really, the sensible thing to do was sell the VK as a project and move on.

That wasn’t a popular decision, as Mick had been looking forward to building it. However I suspect he had quiet faith that my notoriously short fuse with prospective buyers would inevitably foil any plans to offload the thing. And so it turned out to be. Sure I was made a few ridiculous offers from people who would happily steal it, but not buy it. Sod them.

Anyway, not long after I’d spat the dummy over the whole selling process, Holden comes along and gives muggins pause to rethink the plan. It’s a funny thing with old cars, getting them back is always a whole lot more difficult (and expensive) than just hanging on to what you have. Bugger it, let’s build it.


Mick seemed pretty chuffed with the idea, and we’ve gone back to politely squabbling over what transmission we fit, what fuel system and a whole bunch of other details. I’m for using a Trimatic, for simplicity and cost-saving, while Mick likes the idea of a four-speed. He’s also keen on fuel injection, but I’m leaning towards a simple carburettor. No matter, they’re all minor issues.

What I am looking forward to is finally getting the thing on the road, maybe mid this year. It will be the first wagon I’ve owned in over 30 years. The other was a 1966 Toyota Crown that I now deeply regret letting go. And, since Commodores have now gone the way of the dodo, it’ll be good to have a working example in the shed.


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