1983 Holden Commodore VH SL – Today’s Tempter

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

VH SL Tempter front side VH SL Tempter front side
VH SL Tempter rear boot VH SL Tempter rear boot
VH SL Tempter interior boot floor VH SL Tempter interior boot floor
VH SL Tempter interior VH SL Tempter interior
VH SL Tempter interior dash VH SL Tempter interior dash

After an affordable running project? This VH wagon has good bones with much room left for improvement

Holden’s VH Commodore landed in 1981 as a third-iteration of the original Commodore generation.

It was a light facelift styling wise and, under the skin, the improved Starfire-four and 2.85lt six were the first to receive the five-speed manual.

The model range was reshuffled to a three-tier hierarchy: SL as the base, SL/X as the mid-tier, and SL/E as the top-spec option.


This SL wagon workhorse comes to market fitted with the bigger of the two blue motor sixes: the 3.3lt.

Specified with the three-speed auto, the car has been the seller’s daily driver since they purchased the car in 2015.

To their credit; the listing is very well written and detailed with pertinent information.


The body is coated in the original paint, and bears a few scratches and bumps amassed over the years. The seller states that there is minimal surface rust, but no structural rust.

The interior also shows signs of a life-lived; with a tear in the driver’s seat and some cracking to the dash; although the rest of the cabin looks to be in fair condition.

The original engine was replaced in 2003 with an identical and correct 3.3t blue motor, with the seller carrying out a host of other maintenance over the past few years including: new brakes, tailshaft centre bearing, front wheel bearings, air filter, battery, valve cover gasket, headlight/indicator switch and a lot more.


The VH’s seller also makes a few of the car’s foibles clear, in that the TriMatic drinks a little more ATF oil than it should, the speedometer needle bounces around a bit, and the odometer didn’t work for a few thousand kilometres but seems to have fixed itself. The rear right window only winds down half way, and the air-conditioning compressor switch failed in 2017 after the whole system was reconditioned in 2016, and is yet to be fixed.

While the workhorse wagon has served its current owner well over the past few years, they state that "given the historical value of the car", they would like to see it go to an enthusiast who has the time to give it the attention it deserves.

The seller says they have a host of spare parts to accompany the car, including; lights, bumpers and tail lamps.

The Commodore VH wagon is based in New South Wales and is listed for $7,500.

Check out the full listing here!


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