Holden VC Commodore Hillclimber Update

By: David Morley, Photography by: David Morley

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holden vc commodore rear bumper holden vc commodore rear bumper

Morley's VC Commodore hillclimber project gets a few more items scored from the snagging list

The little jobs keep piling up on Project Hillclimber, but I’m doing the smart thing; knocking them over one at a time as time permits. I’d hesitate to call the last month or so a flurry of activity, but I am still making headway.

Holden -commodore

That started with disabling the locking steering column. A lot of people throw away the ignition barrel in favour of a couple of switches for the electric fuel pump and ignition and a big red starter button. Looks cool, but I’ve a feeling it’s a bit of a J. Arthur Rank. I want to stick with the standard ignition key. That’s assuming I can still reach it when belted in by a four-point harness, and I haven’t a-c-t-u-a-l-l-y tried that yet so, who knows, I may be joining the big-red-button brigade anyway.

Holden -vc -commodore -partsTwo pieces, no waiting. Or locking from now on 

Point is, no matter what I do, I have to disable the steering column lock (for obvious reasons). In the case of an old Commodore, the column locks via a big old metal pin that lives in the column and fires into a notch in the back of the steering boss. Simple but effective. So was my method of removing it: Brute strength. Eventually, I bent the pin and snapped it, taking half out from the front, the rest from behind. Sorted.

Holden -vc -commodore -tailshaftAll bolted up. Can't really call it a loop; more like a tailshaft strip

Then there’s the matter of a tail-shaft loop. The two-piece tailshaft on a VC Commo is a bit of a known weak point on these cars, but they’ll usually wobble and vibrate for a long time before they actually fall apart. There’s a factory cross-member that acts as a loop to catch the front half of the tailshaft should it find itself flailing away under the car, but the front of the rear half needed something fabricated to catch it.

Holden -vc -commodore -rear -bumper

I already had a hole in the floor that forms one of the four mounting points for the new battery location and it turned out to be in the perfect position to double as an anchor point for one side of my tailshaft loop. So it then became a simple matter of cutting a strip of steel to length, bolting it to the floor on one side and then drilling a hole on the opposite side of the tunnel and slipping a bolt through the floor there with a big washer on the inside. Almost seemed too easy.

Holden -vc -commodore -rearFound all the lights and trim...Even found the bumper

I also figured it was time to reassemble the rear bumper and tail-lights that I pulled apart to remove the tow-bar and paint the panel between the lights black. It’s a look I’ve always liked on these cars, but don’t look too closely at the quality of the actual paint job. They call me Clancy. ‘Clancy of the Overspray’. Somehow, I managed to find all the relevant nuts, bolts and washers and replaced the lights and the bumper. Heck, I even managed to snap the stainless trims back into place and only broke one plastic clip. Result.

I keep thinking I’m getting closer until I look at the list I made and discover that I’m only about  a quarter of the way through it. Part of the problem is that every time I look at that damn list I wind up adding a couple of things to it that I hadn’t thought of yet. On the plus side, there’s nothing on the list that I don’t have at least some idea of how to tackle, so maybe there is hope. Just gotta keep the faith.


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