1982 Holden VH Commodore SL/X wagon road trip - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens - Words & Photos

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Glenn Torrens fills the tank, dons his sunglasses, turns up the air-con and puts the T-bar into D...

It was an important date: Sally’s ninth birthday in the NSW coastal mecca of Coffs Harbour, five hours’ drive north. I could have driven something boring, but for a fun family get-together, I decided to arrive in a fun classic family car: my oh-so-eighties VH Holden Commodore SL/X wagon. Cruising in the Commodore, I had a quiet laugh when Sally and her brother Rich, whose parents own a this-century Subaru and Nissan, couldn’t figure out that the plastic things on the doors were what made the windows go up and down!

holden-vh-commodore-wagon-roadtrip-6.jpgSawtell: this NSW North Coast location is a great place for fish ‘n chips before a 400km drive

Two days after that 900km return overnight trip, I had an invitation to witness some Australian Federal Police driver training activity for a Street Machine magazine article. I drove the Commodore again; another overnight trip of around 900km, this time to Canberra.

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holden-vh-commodore-wagon-3b.jpgThe kids were amazed at the ‘silly’ old-school window winders in Uncle Glenn’s Commodore

One week after returning from Canberra, I again jumped in the mighty beige wagon and cruised the Pacific and Hume highways to NSW’s Riverina region for my mate Mossy’s birthday. This time it was four days, with a swag and camping gear loaded into the Commodore’s useful cargo area, with our Qld mate Batesy riding shotgun after I collected him from the airport. With a bunch of mates, we enjoyed a long weekend of birthday cake and beers in Wagga, fresh cheeses and a beer in Coolamon, chocolates in Junee and steak – and more beers – in Jugiong.

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holden-vh-commodore-wagon-boot.jpgBedding, boots and beer. It’s all you need for a long weekend get-away! Oh, and bucks. Some of those required, too

 

 

 

Two days after I arrived home, my SL/X racked up another couple of hundred kays down the freeway in an evening, this time to collect some NOS (new/old stock) exhaust parts for another of my Commodores’ restoration… and another two days later there was another 250km return run down the freeway to celebrate another birthday!

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holden-vh-commodore-wagon-roadtrip-2.jpgThe archtecture and the car are both Australian classics

In little more than three weeks, I’d driven my classic 3.3-litre Blue-powered Commodore SL/X 3689km, humming along nicely with the air-con on.

holden-vh-commodore-wagon-roadtrip-3.jpgAfter an afternoon on the sauce celebrating a birthday, my mate Batesy and I camped from the Commodore

Of course, during the 1980s no-one thought twice about jumping into a six-cylinder air-with-steer Commodore wagon and driving to Coffs, Canberra or Coolamon. But when this Commodore was new, there weren’t too many freeways (for example the Sydney-Newcastle freeway wasn’t completed until 1989 – seven years after my VH SL/X was built) and a car’s cruising speed wasn’t as fast as my day-after-day-after-day 110km/h.

holden-vh-commodore-wagon-2.jpgMy mate Batesy and I livin’ the dream!

But with so many trouble-free cruising kays in such a short time, I can’t help but feel a terrific sense of achievement with my ex-little-old-lady, 37-year-old time-warp Commodore wagon.

holden-vh-commodore-wagon-roadtrip.jpgA Commodore wagon outside a country pub. Very Australian 

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