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Torana1978 Offline
#1 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 12:03:24 PM(UTC)
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Happy New Year!

As a Holden fan since 1997, there are a few questions about Commodore.

1.I read that VC Commodore 5.0 V8 was available only for special government fleet order and not for privat buyers. It's true? If so, why? Fuel economy restrictions or something else?

2. As far as I know, in the 80s main export markets for Holden were RHD (New Zealand, Southeast Asia, South Africa). But was there an export LHD Commodores before VT? (factory-built, not conversion)?

Thanks.
HK1837 Offline
#2 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 3:44:34 PM(UTC)
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Initially you couldn’t order 5.0L in VC Commodore, only reserved for Police use. HDT had 5.0L engines but these are not Commodores. The main reason was the XT5 4.2L with dual exhaust was more powerful than the XT4 4.2L. That changed later though.

GMH didn’t tool for LHD with the W Holden or Statesman (HQ onwards). The U sized Torana (LH onwards) was built LHD. I don’t think there were any more LHD GMH (later Holden) products built for export until much later. There were LHD V2 and VZ coupes built as LHD Pontiac GTO and I’m pretty sure LWB (Statesman) as well. And the Zeta platform (VE/F) there were plenty.

Edited by user Monday, 4 January 2021 3:46:44 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Dr Terry Offline
#3 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 5:04:42 PM(UTC)
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Yes, as HK1837 has said there were no LHD Commodores prior to VT/WH when we sent cars to the Gulf states & the USA (VZ Pontiac) etc. The only LHD Holdens prior to that were FB to HG & LC to LX Torana.

I disagree with HK1837's assertion however, that the VC HDT Brock was NOT a Commodore. They clearly have a badge/decal reading HDT/Commodore on both rear doors & the boot lid.

In 1980 at the VC's release, large engines were definitely out of favour. Ford promoted their 3.3 & added the 4.1 6-cyl to option list for Fairlanes & LTDs (almost unthinkable just 2 years earlier). Many fleets downsized to Sigmas, Cortinas, Mazdas, Bluebirds etc. & GMH had very slow sales with their WB Statemans, Caprice sales virtually stopped. Less than 2 years later Falcon outsold Commodore & everybody wanted V8s again.

Dr Terry
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HK1837 Offline
#4 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 7:36:33 PM(UTC)
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I’ll rephrase it. A VC HDT isn’t a Holden Commodore. You couldn’t walk into a dealer and say “I want one of those with a 5.0L engine, in metallic green and light trim etc”.

On the Commodore logo on it, is it so that a “Commodore” could race in Group C with the V5H engine mods? That is 500 “Commodores” were made with those engine mods. Not sure how homologation worked in 1980. In GroupA the HDT and HSV cars afaik had to be sold and marketed as a GMH/Holden product to recognise the 500 evolution of type vehicles, with (at least in VK) 5000 of the VB prefixed V5H 304ci engines fitted to Holden Commodores prior to the VC prefixed GroupA engines fitted to the blue VK GroupA. Not sure how that worked with VL especially the EFI GroupA.
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Dr Terry Offline
#5 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 7:43:29 PM(UTC)
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Yeah, this is an interesting point. HDT didn't achieve his 'manufacturer' status until the VH. Up until then these cars were Holden Commodores modified by HDT, just like a Corsas, WGR or current HDT cars.

The only difference was that they sold them directly thru Holden dealers with full Holden warranty. This was part of the drama when the Holden/Brock split occurred.

I think the whole homologation thing is those days was a bit 'iffy'. Take a look at the DJR XD, what a joke. As it happened Brock was not allowed to race the VC as it was, they made him include the A/C etc. so he 'invented' the lightweight police special' so he could race competitively.


Dr Terry

Edited by user Monday, 4 January 2021 7:45:48 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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HK1837 Offline
#6 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 8:20:35 PM(UTC)
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I found the VK-VL GroupA FIA homologation. All 115 pages of it! Looks at first glance it worked something like L34, where GMH used the base SL/R, updated it from LH L34 into LX L34 and then used A9X to further modify the L34 homologation.

https://historicdb.fia.c...number_5282_group_a.pdf
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Smitty2 on 4/01/2021(UTC)
Dr Terry Offline
#7 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 9:10:16 PM(UTC)
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As I said earlier, homologation in the early 80s was a joke.

They allowed Johnson all sorts of freedoms, 6-cyl kerb weight & all sorts of engine bits.

Meanwhile the A9X couldn't even rum with the rear discs, even though they insisted on the small valve ADR27A engine.

What about Moffat & the Mazda RX7, they didn't even sell an EFI version in the country let alone a peripheral port one.

I'm not sure who was in charge at the time. but !!

Dr Terry
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Smitty2 Offline
#8 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 9:15:50 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
I’ll rephrase it. A VC HDT isn’t a Holden Commodore. You couldn’t walk into a dealer and say “I want one of those with a 5.0L engine, in metallic green and light trim etc”.

On the Commodore logo on it, is it so that a “Commodore” could race in Group C with the V5H engine mods? That is 500 “Commodores” were made with those engine mods. Not sure how homologation worked in 1980. In GroupA the HDT and HSV cars afaik had to be sold and marketed as a GMH/Holden product to recognise the 500 evolution of type vehicles, with (at least in VK) 5000 of the VB prefixed V5H 304ci engines fitted to Holden Commodores prior to the VC prefixed GroupA engines fitted to the blue VK GroupA. Not sure how that worked with VL especially the EFI GroupA.


well... actually in my opinion (and remember I helped set up the whole shooting match up in the first place) a VC HDT is a Commodore, it was made in a GMH VAP (Dandenong) with a GMH car line code and model designation.
It was not sold to HDT in North Melbourne... it went via them for further modifications before delivery to a dealer (all VC HDT orders needed a dealer code.. even internal orders). They had the original engine retained as fitted in the plant
(HDT were NOT allowed to change entire engine only engineering approved parts)

Given that VB Holden was already homologated... why build VC HDTs? Ostensibly for two reasons only... to give the Commodore a marketing kick along by adding a sporting flavour on a limited edition model
(remember that VB only had the SL/E 8VX69 308 pack with 5litre/4 speed as the only decent sporting performance version despite the squillion VB 'Sports pack across 'L'and 'SL' models))
AND
this is the important bit... to give HDT funds... dollars $$$$$. HDT made lots of money making VCs. It was an indirect way for dealers to pay for the Holden Dealer Team racing efforts. Dealers paid GMH for the 'base' car
and HDT for the modifications. Simple arrangement... designed NOT to upset GM Detroit

But.. and this is where things started to unwind, Milamunda Racing (aka HDT racing team) decided they would use the large valve heads and better inlet manifold from the road cars on VC race cars
(VB racers used SMALL valve heads as CAMS had outlawed L34 style engines as used on A9X) as they were getting a pasting from Johnson and other Falcon competitors

Oooop.... NOT homologated ! and Brock was excluded from race results as post-race scrutiny picked up the invalid race engines.

Brock WAS allowed to continue racing with big valve headed engines as long as he fitted all the SL/e fruit salad to race cars (he ended up with aircon evaporators taped to the passenger floor for example)
and PGB was NOT happy...it went all the way to the Vic Supreme Court. No winners in that....(do a Google the whole thing is VERY long!!!)

but ah ha... VH is now released. We now have an Holden built Commodore SS model with NO frills.. with 5 lite engine with V5H options (BIG valve heads, good inlet manifold) and this gets homologated . Woot!Light weight car
with good engine .. but note still a 308 (as Group C rules rules said std size street engine and CAMS set weights for all brands of race cars). These rules stayed thru to the day-glo VKs that came 1-2 at Bathurst
The last hurrah for Group C big bangers.

Next ? comes Group A rules... based on engine size. The hurdle was the 5 litre rule. cars with L31 engines 5044cc were 75 kg heavier than cars with LV2 4987cc engines. and under Grp A rules, a manufacturer had to make a minimum
of 500 examples of either (how we got the Blue Meanie) with another 5000 made in the same carline with the same drive train. GMH made 5,000 Sl sedans, Berlinas and Calais with 4.9litre LV2 engines and V7X mods (being the famous
'5955' improved inlet manifold and of course 'B'cast big valve heads) I had a 234 pack Berlina sedan.. level 2 Berlina level 3 engine LV2 with V7X and 4 speed (M21) gearbox as a GMH co car (which i later bought as I left Holden)

Edited by user Monday, 4 January 2021 9:21:14 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Smitty2 Offline
#9 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 9:25:55 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
I found the VK-VL GroupA FIA homologation. All 115 pages of it! Looks at first glance it worked something like L34, where GMH used the base SL/R, updated it from LH L34 into LX L34 and then used A9X to further modify the L34 homologation.

https://historicdb.fia.c...number_5282_group_a.pdf



I have a very well-thumbed copy of that... and it is interesting to note that it covers
VK, VL carby and VL EFI models and has a numbers of errors in it as well.

Engine capacity for starters for all is given as 4980.8 cc
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Dr Terry Offline
#10 Posted : Monday, 4 January 2021 9:28:44 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Smitty2 Go to Quoted Post

well... actually in my opinion (and remember I helped set up the whole shooting match up in the first place) a VC HDT is a Commodore, it was made in a GMH VAP (Dandenong) with a GMH car line code and model designation.
It was not sold to HDT in North Melbourne... it went via them for further modifications before delivery to a dealer (all VC HDT orders needed a dealer code.. even internal orders). They had the original engine retained as fitted in the plant
(HDT were NOT allowed to change entire engine only engineering approved parts)

Given that VB Holden was already homologated... why build VC HDTs? Ostensibly for two reasons only... to give the Commodore a marketing kick along by adding a sporting flavour on a limited edition model
(remember that VB only had the SL/E 8VX69 308 pack with 5litre/4 speed as the only decent sporting performance version despite the squillion VB 'Sports pack across 'L'and 'SL' models))
AND
this is the important bit... to give HDT funds... dollars $$$$$. HDT made lots of money making VCs. It was an indirect way for dealers to pay for the Holden Dealer Team racing efforts. Dealers paid GMH for the 'base' car
and HDT for the modifications. Simple arrangement... designed NOT to upset GM Detroit

But.. and this is where things started to unwind, Milamunda Racing (aka HDT racing team) decided they would use the large valve heads and better inlet manifold from the road cars on VC race cars
(VB racers used SMALL valve heads as CAMS had outlawed L34 style engines as used on A9X) as they were getting a pasting from Johnson and other Falcon competitors

Oooop.... NOT homologated ! and Brock was excluded from race results as post-race scrutiny picked up the invalid race engines.

Brock WAS allowed to continue racing with big valve headed engines as long as he fitted all the SL/e fruit salad to race cars (he ended up with aircon evaporators taped to the passenger floor for example)
and PGB was NOT happy...it went all the way to the Vic Supreme Court. No winners in that....(do a Google the whole thing is VERY long!!!)

but ah ha... VH is now released. We now have an Holden built Commodore SS model with NO frills.. with 5 lite engine with V5H options (BIG valve heads, good inlet manifold) and this gets homologated . Woot!Light weight car
with good engine .. but note still a 308 (as Group C rules rules said std size street engine and CAMS set weights for all brands of race cars). These rules stayed thru to the day-glo VKs that came 1-2 at Bathurst
The last hurrah for Group C big bangers.

Next ? comes Group A rules... based on engine size. The hurdle was the 5 litre rule. cars with L31 engines 5044cc were 75 kg heavier than cars with LV2 4987cc engines. and under Grp A rules, a manufacturer had to make a minimum
of 500 examples of either (how we got the Blue Meanie) with another 5000 made in the same carline with the same drive train. GMH made 5,000 Sl sedans, Berlinas and Calais with 4.9litre LV2 engines and V7X mods (being the famous
'5955' improved inlet manifold and of course 'B'cast big valve heads) I had a 234 pack Berlina sedan.. level 2 Berlina level 3 engine LV2 with V7X and 4 speed (M21) gearbox as a GMH co car (which i later bought as I left Holden)


Pretty good precis Smitty2.

Dr Terry

Edited by user Tuesday, 5 January 2021 6:38:15 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Bloody auto correct spelling !!

If at first you don't succeed, just call it Version 1.0
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Torana1978 Offline
#11 Posted : Tuesday, 5 January 2021 2:15:34 AM(UTC)
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HK1837 and Dr Terry, thanks.

Apparently, late VC's were eventually available with 5.0. Probably, closer to Vacationer launch (February 1981?).

Edited by user Tuesday, 5 January 2021 2:16:36 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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#12 Posted : Tuesday, 5 January 2021 8:11:20 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
I found the VK-VL GroupA FIA homologation. All 115 pages of it! Looks at first glance it worked something like L34, where GMH used the base SL/R, updated it from LH L34 into LX L34 and then used A9X to further modify the L34 homologation.

https://historicdb.fia.c...number_5282_group_a.pdf


1985 - Under Group A rules Australian manufactured cars recognised by CAMS as Group A - 5000 cars to recognise the body coachwork/silhouette (length, height width etc) regardless of the mechanical specification.
1000 cars to recognise the mechanical package.

Edited by user Tuesday, 5 January 2021 8:13:40 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

castellan Offline
#13 Posted : Tuesday, 5 January 2021 10:48:35 AM(UTC)
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I believe it had to do with that the media was claiming to the world, that the worlds oil was running out some years before that and all the same BS they rant on with nowadays is the same halfwit crap, we had the VC Commodore come out with the rubbish 1.9L 4 CYL that Holden was claiming or intentions to be a best seller, when it was no better on fuel than a 2.85L 6 CYL really over all on the highway, maybe if you sat on 80km/h the 4 will but only a fool sits on such a speed. the only thing the 1.9L could be used for was a city town runabout for old people to toddle about in.

As for the 4.2L and 5.0L the fuel economy is much the same regardless if you are driving such for economy, a lot claim that people do not drive V8's in regards to economy well that's a load of BS, I always did but had the 5.0L their for when I wanted the performance plus I drove on the highway at 140 to 180km/h average toddling along drive many a time and I found when driving at what I liked to drive, at that speed the 5.0L was better on fuel than the 4.2L and much better than the 3.3L because the 5.0L liked to sit on 180km/h with total ease and a 4.2L was pushing it hard at that.

Lets say I was siting on 140km/h or to 180 I would not put my foot down going up hills, so lets say on the flat I did 140 and then I go down a hill I would let it go to 160 say and by the time I got to the top I could be doing 100km/h. yes I was driving for fuel economy most of the time that way and got say 21-22 mpg at 140km/h on the flat, plus I was judging the cars so as to over take by just cruising by them with the speed up already, not sitting on their tail and upping it past them.
I was doing 50.000km a year so fuel economy was a real concern. just that the 3.3L and 4.2L did not cut it for me as all.

I found many people did sit on 120 to 140km/h back in them days and no double lanes much, but no where as many cars on the road as it is nowadays. but I hated the gutless trucks in QLD they were a real pain creeping to the top of hills at 20km/h many a time, so with the 5.0L I could take them on so as to overtake such bastards with the cards on your side but with a 4.2L your pushing it and a 3.3L you can forget it your stuck behind then for miles.

I think it was only that morons claims of V8's being looked down on, I worked pumping fuel in 1976 and tossers were everywhere hugely complaining about V8's chewing up fuel.
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#14 Posted : Tuesday, 5 January 2021 11:26:02 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Dr Terry Go to Quoted Post
As I said earlier, homologation in the early 80s was a joke.

They allowed Johnson all sorts of freedoms, 6-cyl kerb weight & all sorts of engine bits.

Meanwhile the A9X couldn't even rum with the rear discs, even though they insisted on the small valve ADR27A engine.

What about Moffat & the Mazda RX7, they didn't even sell an EFI version in the country let alone a peripheral port one.

I'm not sure who was in charge at the time. but !!

Dr Terry


I totally agree, how about the single timing chain BS f me dead the bastards had the double row gears for f sake. who puts a single row chain on when replacing them, no one but some moron in Holden's bean counters came up with saving 2cents each engine.

Look at the VB race engine, I have 331hp and the blue VC is 391hp AT 6500RPM with L34 valves and 10.5:1 compression ? how with stock pistons, don't think that they could use the L34 pistons in the VB-VC.

Dickie boy's 5.8L 2V heads XD 410hp at 6500 and the XE 437hp at 7500rpm

Camaro 5.7L at 480hp how so, must have better heads than the stock 5.7L Camaro of the time that was a slug in the USA. it was a s box leaf sprung rear drum brake crap. I am sure dickie boy had rear disk ?

Can we find out now what spec engine they were running exactly nowadays ? A 308 even with 330hp for a stock valved un ported head sounds a bit high to me as most worked street 308 only had 330hp with L34 valves and some port work.

That RX7 and others were a joke because we could not buy them types off the floor here.

Look at the turbo 6 Nissan ha ! we could not get them, were they the same 3.0L 6 as the VL Commodore ? if so we could of ran a Turbo 6 Commodore.

I would of bought the VL turbo any day over the VL V8 crap, and the EFI 5.0L only came out near the end of the VL and at that price forget it, my boss bought one and had it re painted directly.
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#15 Posted : Tuesday, 5 January 2021 1:58:39 PM(UTC)
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The Nissan Bluebird at Bathurst had a Z18ET 4-cyl, while the HR31 had a RB20DET 2.0 litre 6-cyl turbo. To my knowledge Nissan didn't race the RB30ET at Bathurst.

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#16 Posted : Tuesday, 5 January 2021 2:44:56 PM(UTC)
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The Camaro was a new 1978 Z28 but CAMS made them run 1974 sheetmetal. It only ran drums early on due to CAMS buggering them around. The Camaro was standard with drums but discs were optional, and in 1981 they ran rear discs.

Whilst the later Z28 weren’t power houses on the road, the engine basics were the same as a 1970 Z28 which was a 370hp engine. It was just pollutioned up and dumbed down for the street and for ULP, but the car was already homologated with good parts under international Group1. Plus KB had been running big horsepower SBC’s in F5000 so they knew the engines well. Given GroupC allowed free choice of certain bits like camshaft, carb etc I’m not surprised the got 480hp. I’d have to search harder but I bet that Group1 homologation included high top pistons, tube headers etc.
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#17 Posted : Wednesday, 6 January 2021 12:36:57 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Smitty2 Go to Quoted Post


But.. and this is where things started to unwind, Milamunda Racing (aka HDT racing team) decided they would use the large valve heads and better inlet manifold from the road cars on VC race cars
(VB racers used SMALL valve heads as CAMS had outlawed L34 style engines as used on A9X) as they were getting a pasting from Johnson and other Falcon competitors



I cannot see where the CAMS had outlawed L34 engines. The L34 spec engine was only homologated for use in the LH/LX Torana not a VB Commodore.
It was simply a failure on the part of GMH for not homologating a VB or VC model with a 308 with big valve heads and other useful performance mods.

Edited by user Wednesday, 6 January 2021 12:38:01 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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#18 Posted : Wednesday, 6 January 2021 12:46:15 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: castellan Go to Quoted Post


I would of bought the VL turbo any day over the VL V8 crap, and the EFI 5.0L only came out near the end of the VL and at that price forget it, my boss bought one and had it re painted directly.


V8 VL is the only VL I would have had, and then only a Calais not a Commodore as I hate the look of VL Commodore. VL V8 was a good engine, just low compression. They had big valve heads, just needed the manifold modified or replaced with a HDT style one and unfortunately pistons replaced to get them back up to over 9:1 compression. Only Trimatic though, however not that hard to change to a 5spd manual. None of which you’d have probably bothered with in the early 90’s as a VL GroupA (red one) were cheap back then as a used car. Or you’d buy a good VL V8 and a VN wreck and swap the engine and box over, very easy conversion.

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#19 Posted : Wednesday, 6 January 2021 12:58:47 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: castellan Go to Quoted Post


Look at the VB race engine, I have 331hp and the blue VC is 391hp AT 6500RPM with L34 valves and 10.5:1 compression ? how with stock pistons, don't think that they could use the L34 pistons in the VB-VC.



In 1980 pistons were free as long as they did not increase the compression ratio above 10.5:1 or that specified on the recognition documents, whichever was the higher.

Edited by user Wednesday, 6 January 2021 12:59:19 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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#20 Posted : Wednesday, 6 January 2021 1:28:01 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: 8D11PCH2 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Smitty2 Go to Quoted Post


But.. and this is where things started to unwind, Milamunda Racing (aka HDT racing team) decided they would use the large valve heads and better inlet manifold from the road cars on VC race cars
(VB racers used SMALL valve heads as CAMS had outlawed L34 style engines as used on A9X) as they were getting a pasting from Johnson and other Falcon competitors



I cannot see where the CAMS had outlawed L34 engines. The L34 spec engine was only homologated for use in the LH/LX Torana not a VB Commodore.
It was simply a failure on the part of GMH for not homologating a VB or VC model with a 308 with big valve heads and other useful performance mods.



that is incorrect.....
CAMS outlawed the big valve L34 engine ....as it also did re rear disk brakes on Toranas (I kid you not) when the Commodore was presented as the car to replace the A9X
(and at the same time the XD taxi for the XC Coupes) complete set of NEW rules...

any reading of the history of tin top racing in Australia gives full and better details of this





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