VN Group A prototype restoration

By: Glenn Torrens

Presented by

holden vn group a holden vn group a

One of the two known ex-Holden development prototype VN Holden Commodore SS Group As is to be restored by its NSW-based owner

Tagged as a ‘Pilot’ car, it was used extensively for testing at the Holden Proving Ground and on public roads. After its stint as a development vehicle, it escaped scrapping – the usual fate for development cars – and had a competition-grade safety cage installed. It took on a new role as a display and promotional vehicle for activities – such as charity track days – including time with Peter Brock at the wheel.

Over the years the car was updated to VP and then VR styling, involving a change to the more shapely VR rear quarter-panels. It carries most of its special Group A driveline including the original-number, four-bolt mains engine, ZF six-speed manual gearbox, special-build, narrow-track BTR rear axle under the Group A shell with its wider rear wheel-arches and 330mm and 290mm four-wheel ventilated PBR disc brakes. It also has its original Calais-spec dash and remnants of its Group A interior trim.

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It is fitted with a towbar and Holden’s optional heavy-duty rear quarter-panel bracing. Towbar? When developing new models, Holden engineers used a dyno trailer, with an independent braking system, to load-up engines and drivelines during testing.

The Group A specification twin-throttle intake manifold has been replaced by a standard road-spec single-throttle manifold. The special stub-type exhaust extractors remain, as does the correct-codes Holden specification plate and yellow PILOT plate that replaced the ADR compliance plate under the bonnet of many engineering test cars.

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The new owner has all the components – and he has bought a panel-donor VN Commodore – to restore this important piece of Aussie motoring history. Plans are to initially return it to its early-90s HRT/Telecom guise, with a long-term idea to return it to road-going specification in the future.


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