1989 APV Group 5i - Reader Ride

By: Paul Mitchell with Guy Allen

Presented by

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When Holden and Brock broke up this was one of the outfits that sprang up to fill the gap

Editor's note: In the print magazine (Unique Cars Magazine #435), we added that Paul the owner was looking to sell the car. There was a misprinting error in his email, the correct email address for contact is: paultip2001@hotmail.com


APV is relatively little known these days, but it was a serious player in the performance Holden market after the legendary Peter Brock and Holden split in 1987.

In 1989, motoring writer Bill Tuckey wrote in the Financial Review: "One of the other five companies offering hot-rodded Holdens – and certainly the one that presents the biggest threat to HSV – is APV Special Vehicles Pty Ltd. It is owned by four former senior executives of Brock’s HDT who tendered for the replacement contract, won eventually by Walkinshaw. Jeff Hughes, Neville Page, Rob Payne and Ray Riach picked themselves up after Brock’s break with Holden’s and set up their own company in July, 1987.


"They reasoned that they had the expertise in designing, sourcing, fabricating and assembling the sorts of cars that had been so successful for Brock and Holden dealers; at their peak, they were selling around 1000 HDT-modified Commodores a year on very fat profit margins. In APV’s first 12 months, they delivered 210 full-built Commodores and 300 modified to special private and/or dealer orders; HSV, by comparison, is now running at a rate of 1400 a year, but with a much wider range of models." APV also built a range of EA-based Fords.


This car is one of their products and, when you look at the build plates, it’s dated October 1989 out of the Holden factory and November 1989 out of the APV facility.

Paul got the keys to this one around nine years ago and gets it out for the occasional drive. "I bought it off a friend in Victoria and he almost never used it," says Paul, "So it sat under a carport the whole time. I made sure it’s running perfectly and kept it in the shed ever since."


Paul says that under the paint is a 304 SS V8, a major suspension upgrade and a number of other mods. "It’s a very quick car when it needs to be," he says. "It’s not harsh – it’s has firm suspension." Driving the car is very reminiscent of the earlier HDT machinery, in that it sits relatively flat through corners but retains a decent ride quality.


On the outside, you could easily miss the significance of the car. The APV badging is there but is very subtle, while there’s a unique nose cone on this one and of course the body skirts.

The APV price sheet for these lists them as a Group 5i, based on V8 Executive, Berlina or Calais sedans, with a run limited to 200. The list of modifications was very long, with a lot of emphasis put on chassis and suspension. Of course there was a lot of customisation involved, so you’d be hard put to find two cars that are exactly the same.

Paul is selling the car, and you can contact him via email at paultip2001@hotmail.com


Valuation guide: Rare and valued on a case-by-case basis


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