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Maxs SS Offline
#1 Posted : Saturday, 1 June 2019 12:43:04 PM(UTC)
Maxs SS

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I noticed on the Australian Muscle Car Sales site a VB commodore that I have not seen for a long time.
It is an SLE 5 litre factory 4 speed manual. My brother had one of these when they were first released.
The add says one of only 50 made. I believe this is incorrect as my information was 100 units with the 3.08 diff and 100 with 2.78.
Presents as a good example for $35,000 so will be interesting to see how it goes.
HK1837 Offline
#2 Posted : Saturday, 1 June 2019 3:30:06 PM(UTC)
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I reckon there were s lot more than that. Just local to me heaps were wrecked in the 80’s as they were a cheap source of 5.0L and 4spd. If you wanted 5.0L and TH400 donor these were plentiful from Statesman and Caprice but 5.0L and 4spd really only came in GTS and these were still popular in the 80’s but VB’s were almost throwaway cars as you could buy a new one. Sure you could find 5.0L and 4spd in other cars like Sandman etc but not as common to find cheaply.
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Maxs SS Offline
#3 Posted : Saturday, 1 June 2019 3:58:44 PM(UTC)
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In the SLE model the 5.0L motor was standard with the auto box. I believe the 4 speed manual was a rare option.
HK1837 Offline
#4 Posted : Saturday, 1 June 2019 4:03:28 PM(UTC)
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Option yes. Rare, not in my experience.
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Dr Terry Offline
#5 Posted : Saturday, 1 June 2019 6:14:36 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Maxs SS Go to Quoted Post
In the SLE model the 5.0L motor was standard with the auto box. I believe the 4 speed manual was a rare option.


Not true. The standard SL/E powertrain when the VB was released was 4.2 V8 Trimatic.

To get either a 4-sp manual or 5.0 V8 (or both) there were various 'option packs' available.

In the SL/E model there was the 306, 309, 309 & 310 etc.

I believe there were far more than 50 made. We used to contract for a large Sydney Holden dealer back then & a 5.0 (man or auto) was quite commonplace. It was the car of choice for the dealer principle & senior management. Many fleet customers also ordered them for their senior management.

Dr Terry.
If at first you don't succeed, just call it Version 1.0
Maxs SS Offline
#6 Posted : Sunday, 2 June 2019 1:35:37 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Dr Terry Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Maxs SS Go to Quoted Post
In the SLE model the 5.0L motor was standard with the auto box. I believe the 4 speed manual was a rare option.


Not true. The standard SL/E powertrain when the VB was released was 4.2 V8 Trimatic.

To get either a 4-sp manual or 5.0 V8 (or both) there were various 'option packs' available.

In the SL/E model there was the 306, 309, 309 & 310 etc.

I believe there were far more than 50 made. We used to contract for a large Sydney Holden dealer back then & a 5.0 (man or auto) was quite commonplace. It was the car of choice for the dealer principle & senior management. Many fleet customers also ordered them for their senior management.

Dr Terry.


I'll reword my comment.......If you ordered the 5.0L in the SL/E the auto trans was standard and the 4 speed an option.

Does anyone have build numbers to see how many 5.0L 4 speeds were built ??
HK1837 Offline
#7 Posted : Sunday, 2 June 2019 3:53:59 PM(UTC)
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I don’t know of any, but just by how many I saw locally to me it has to be a significant amount. I rarely saw A9X’s and there were many hundreds of these but lots of 5.0L manual VB SL/E’s. I even recall at least two I saw dumped and partially burnt in the local bush and another 6-10 in local wrecking yards. I used to take notice of the cars as I started collecting ID plates back in the early 80’s, I never bothered with Commodore ID but I always looked at it.
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HK1837 Offline
#8 Posted : Sunday, 2 June 2019 4:37:21 PM(UTC)
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Going back to the original post, I doubt very much GMH would have fitted a 2.78 rear axle behind an M21 Aussie 4spd with 15” rims. Plus 2.78 rear axle ratio was replaced by 2.6 well before VB release. You could still get 2.78 in a banjo or disguised banjo (small Salisbury) which means only 6cyl and 4.2L got it. 5.0L manual was generally standard with 3.36 or 3.08. Torana with its smaller tyres and less weight generally used the taller ratios with 5.0L and 4spd.
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Dr Terry Offline
#9 Posted : Monday, 3 June 2019 11:38:49 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Maxs SS Go to Quoted Post

I'll reword my comment.......If you ordered the 5.0L in the SL/E the auto trans was standard and the 4 speed an option.

Does anyone have build numbers to see how many 5.0L 4 speeds were built ??


Yes I guess it is the wording, but I think the way GM-H had their options arranged, neither the TH400 or 4-sp manual was "standard" with a 308.

As I said they were sold as "option packages". There were 306, 308, 309 & 310 Packs for the SL/E.

These were 4.2 man, 4.2 auto, 5.0 man & 5.0 auto, not necessarily in that order, I'm working from memory here. Other items, such as dual exhaust, power windows & central locking came with some of the packs as none of these were standard on the base SL/E in the VB series.

Dr Terry
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justgm Offline
#10 Posted : Monday, 3 June 2019 2:59:55 PM(UTC)
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Hi , from VB parts book October 1978 , 3.3-MC6-3.36-Econ-3.08
3.3-M20-3.36-Econ-3.08
3.3-M40-3.08-Pref-3.36
4.2-M20-3.08
4.2-M40-2.78-Perf-3.08
5.0-M21-3.08-Perf-3.36
5.0-M41-2.60-perf-3.08






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#11 Posted : Wednesday, 5 June 2019 6:30:41 AM(UTC)
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Generally to get a 5.0L you had to choose an option pack - it wasn't a single "tick box" option to get the 5.0L on its own.
And as Terry and others have mentioned, these packs were readily available, with 5.0L auto and 5.0L manual combinations, that were easily chosen.

The biggest engine you could order in the base & mid level VB was a 4.2L - the 5.0L was exclusive to the SL/E.
It wasn't until VC when they started restricting the 5.0L (it's not even in the VC sales brochures) that the manual 5.0L became rare (outside of HDT VCs), and that was a product of the times (oil prices) that brought us the 4 cylinder Commodore.

You also have to consider the marketing in 1978/79. GMH were working hard to get people to accept the "new" Commodore - a massive departure from the tried & tested H-series formula. How many old blokes used to bemoan the death of the Kingswood, and claim they'd never buy a Commodore? The VB offered a very different sales package, and marketing pushed heavily on the Euro origins - hence the various "sporty" packages available.

It would have been tough to encourage someone who would have previously bought a 5.0L Premier to consider a VB SL/E. The lure of a manual behind the 5.0L - a wolf in sheep's clothing, not available outside of a GTS in the H-series, was an aspirational car. A lot of Euro "sporting luxury" cars (like the BMW) were also commonly available with a manual trans, so the VB 5.0L/M21 slotted nicely into that niche market too - offering a lot more power (well, torque) as well.
Cheers,

Mick
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HK1837 Offline
#12 Posted : Wednesday, 5 June 2019 7:20:53 AM(UTC)
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Well put Mick. The 4spd 5.0L wasn't exclusive to GTS in W size vehicles though. Although 5.0L 4spd is not common (in volume terms) outside of GTS and Sandman in the W size Holden (HQ-HZ) there were significant amounts of 4spd 5.0L Kingswood (and HZ Kingswood SL) sedans and utes made, plus a number of others in wagon, coupe and van in most luxury levels. There was also at least one HQ Statesman built as 308 4spd. The only one you couldn't order a 308 in was HQ cab-chassis, and with 5.0L in HJ-HZ cab-chassis it was only with a TH400 or later TH350. Probably the rarest place to find 5.0L 4spd in HJ-HZ would be in a wagon or any LS/Premier (I don't think there were any HJ LS manuals made with any engine).

I remember the VC and WB release, the 5.0L was only available in Statesman and by special order in VC for Police or similar usage. The dual exhaust 4.2L XT5 engine was that much better than the final red 4.2L XT4 engine and not that much down on power compared to an XT5 5.0L that I guess GM decided that the VC didn't need the 5.0L.

It is a shame so many of those VB SL/E's were destroyed as less than 10 year old cars to donate their driveline. Most of the cars I saw in wreckers were still really good cars and not wrecks. They were simply bought from dealer trade-ins. The only thing wrong with them appeared to be faded metallic paint and some driver's seat wear. An awful lot of HJ-HZ Premier sedans and wagons and Statesmans went the same way at my local wrecker. In the mid 80's you could buy a low-ish kM HZ Deville at the auctions for $2000 or a 5.0L Premier wagon for similar and even less for an SL/E. Even then the front doors off the Holdens were $300 each and $1000 for a good running 5.0L, but most of the trim and panels off the SL/E's were junked as no-one wanted them. So they pulled out the driveline, the head and tail-lights and a few other trinkets and sent them to the scrap metal yard
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If we all had the same (good) taste, who would buy all the Fords?
justgm Offline
#13 Posted : Wednesday, 5 June 2019 2:19:08 PM(UTC)
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VB Option packs.308 pack L31,M21,N10 (dual exhaust),U80 (rear seat speaker)
310 pack L31,M41,AU3 (electric door locks), G80 (LSD),N10 (dual exhaust),U80(rear speaker)A31 (power windows)
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