1987 Holden Commodore VL Calais – Today’s Tempter

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

VL Calais front side VL Calais front side
VL Calais side VL Calais side
VL Calais engine VL Calais engine
VL Calais interior VL Calais interior

VL HDT LE clone: Factory LW5 turbo and five-speed manual car, numbers-correct

Holden’s VL of 1986 marked a massive departure point for the traditional brand, and was met with strong public criticism and scepticism aimed at its range of ‘bought in’ Nissan inline-sixes.

V8s were still optional-able but, with new unleaded fuel, were significantly in the minority.

Over time, people found there was a lot to like about the overhead-cam fuel-injected alloy-head RB30, and it won a large legion of fans – especially with young modifiers over the succeeding generations.


Beyond the powerplants propensity to accept massive turbos and massive boost; the Holden factory treated the VL Commodore to more extensive sound deadening and improved NVH, both over the preceding VK as well as the rival XF Falcon – the VL’s main fleet rival.

Suspension tunes were more comfortable too thanks to softer springs and a faster steering-ratio.

This 1987 Calais example has been built up into what is said to be an HDT LE clone.


The seller states that the Calais is a factory LW5 3.0lt RB30 turbo matched with its original five-speed manual gearbox, all numbers-correct.

It is a factory red car as well, and is said to present immaculately with lots of money spent and all work done professionally. It’s supposedly a country car and free of rust.

It’s covered 170,000kms but looks incredibly well-kept. We would guess that it’s not wearing its original paint, though any one interested may have to get in touch with the seller to ask a few more questions.


As it stands, the car presents very well, and would be a tremendously fun thing to have in the shed.

The VL Calais is based in New South Wales and is listed for $42,000.

Check out the full listing here!


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