1980 Holden VC Commodore SL/E Project - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens, Photography by: Glenn Torrens

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holden vc commodore front holden vc commodore front
holden vc commodore 2 holden vc commodore 2
holden vc commodore rear holden vc commodore rear
holden vc commodore roof holden vc commodore roof
holden vc commodore engine bay holden vc commodore engine bay
holden vc commodore dash holden vc commodore dash
holden vc commodore door trim holden vc commodore door trim

Unable to resist a bargain, Glenn Torrens grabs a piece of 80s Aussie luxury

It popped up on one of the Facebook sales pages I regularly haunt: It’s an Atlantis Blue VC Holden Commodore SL/E. It looked to be all-there and was quite reasonably priced. Just three suburbs away, a poke and a prod under the tarpaulin in the seller’s backyard revealed a Commodore that I thought could be easily brought back to life.

It’s one of my favourite cars and pretty much my favourite colour. And even though my garage has enough ‘projects’ in it… How could I resist?

holden-vc-commodore-2.jpgThis is how my VC rolled off the tow-truck. Under that tarpaulin, an open windscreen aperture meant soggy carpets

Towed home a few days later, I got stuck into the old girl. Judging by the stunning condition of the interior, I reckon this poor old dame has been cherished for maybe 25 of her 35 years. But then, as with the life cycle of many cars, a new young owner has stuffed a set of lowered springs and a blarey sports exhaust underneath… And then, no surprise, he crashed it.

holden-vc-commodore-rear.jpgYeah she’s had a few hits… Luckily the rear of the body wasn’t too bent under the soon-to-be-replaced boot lid

The boot-lid and nose were damaged, although not too badly. Windscreen and turret damage from a falling tree branch during a storm had sentenced the SL/E to a couple of years in a backyard where the cockroaches had moved in and many interior parts had acquired a feint green haze of mould. The day I inspected it, the front carpets were under water. Yuk!

holden-vc-commodore-roof.jpgA falling tree branch has dented the turret… It will be shrunk back to shape

At home, a closer look along the doors and rear quarters revealed a few minor wibbles and wobbles… but nothing that would require more than few weekends’ worth of effort to fix. There was some rust, too, in the usual VB-VL Commodore traps of the panel below front and rear windscreens and a few bubbles in the spare tyre well. No big deal.

holden-vc-commodore-engine-bay.jpgAfter the 4.2-litre in VB SL/Es, standard power for the VC SL/E was Holden’s then-new Blue 3.3-litre. I’m yet to decide if I want to keep it standard or transplant a later-model V8

Under the bonnet is the standard 3.3-litre Holden blue six-cylinder. The dash shows just 57,000km and lifting the oil filler cap showed an engine that is sludge-free inside. One of the ideas I have is to (maybe) plonk in a later-model fuel injected Holden V8 and four-speed auto – both from a VN or later Commodore – to create a terrific cruiser.

holden-vc-commodore-door-trim.jpgApart from a few $100K HDTs I have had the pleasure of witnessing, this is truly the greatest Commodore interior I have seen… Once wiped clean, of course!

With no log books, an obviously patchy past and the fact it needs restoration, this car will never be a true big-buck collector-spec like an original books-and-condition time-warper. But that’s not going to stop me restoring it to showroom-fresh condition to create a cruiser that any Aussie car nut would throw a thumbs-up at.

holden-vc-commodore-dash.jpgThat‘s right the dash shows just 57,000kms!

It’s survived this long so it deserves to be pretty again!


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