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Holden models

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Holden Commodore

Generation 2

This and subsequent versions based their bodywork on the Opel Senator and Omega, and the car was released on 17 August 1988. As well as being highly based on the Opel Senator, the VN also was similarly based on the Opel Omega, but this time, the previous Holden VL Commodore floor plan was widened and stretched. The Commodore could now match the rival Ford Falcon for size. The VN Commodore was available in Executive, S, SS, Berlina and Calais specification levels, although a more basic SL model (opt. code A9K) was supposedly offered to government and fleet buyers, as it was not officially listed as part of the Commodore range. The VN Commodore was also awarded Wheels Car of the Year for a second time in 1988. From August 1990, a Commodore-based coupe utility was offered for the first time, known as the Holden VG Utility. The Holden VQ Statesman and Caprice models, which were introduced in March 1990, were also VN Commodore based, but shared a longer wheelbase with the VN Commodore wagon and VG Utility.

Holden Commodore ,Calais

Changes in the relative values of the Australian dollar, the yen, and the US dollar made it impractical to continue with the well-regarded Nissan engine of the VL. Instead, Holden manufactured their own 90-degree V6 based on an old Buick design from the US, although initially it was imported. The 5.0-litre V8 remained optional and received a power boost to 165 kW (221 hp). Both these engines used multi point GM EFI and the V6 using 3 coil-packs for ignition. Although not known for its smoothness or quietness, the V6 was nevertheless praised for its performance at the time. A fuel-injected, 2.0 L-engined VN Commodore Four was offered for some export markets including New Zealand and Singapore, which were sold as the Holden Berlina sharing an engine with the Opel Vectra A. Accompanying the changes to engines, the 4-speed Jatco automatic transmission was replaced by the GM TH700 and the Borg-Warner T-5 5-speed manual gearbox.

In September 1989 the Series II of the VN Commodore was released with the EV6 motor. Some of the changes included a new cast exhaust manifold, new camshaft sprocket profile and timing chain, improved air and fuel distribution to combustion chamber, recalibrated ignition and injector firing within the engine management computer, wider conrod bearings and revised throttle uptake. The automatic transmission was also recalibrated to match the new engines torque characteristics. These revisions helped reduce initial torque levels whilst also improving the noise and vibration levels of the V6 engine.

Holden Commodore ,Calais

Under the Hawke government's Button car plan, which saw a reduction in the number of models manufactured locally, and the introduction of model sharing, the VN Commodore was rebadged as the Toyota Lexcen, named after the late America's Cup yacht designer, Ben Lexcen. Subsequently the Toyota Corolla and Camry were, similarly, badged as the Holden Nova and Holden Apollo.

A total of 215,180 Holden VN Commodores were manufactured during the model's 3 year lifespan.

New Zealand

The VN series was assembled in New Zealand between 1988 and 1990. For the first few months of production it was actually assembled alongside its predecessor, the VL. This was due to the VL Commodore being slightly smaller, and offering a 2.0 L inline-six Nissan RB20E (for New Zealand only) or 3.0 L RB30E straight-six motor, also by Nissan.

Holden Commodore ,Calais

A unique situation of the New Zealand VN Commodore was its trim levels. Where in Australia, Berlina was of higher spec than Executive; in New Zealand the roles were actually reversed. Commodore Executive was the Australian Berlina spec, while Berlina – had a similar spec to the Australian Executive models - and utilised a 2.0-litre Family II four-cylinder engine.
The Berlina 4-cylinder model was a unique car for New Zealand, as well as other export markets, and was unavailable to Australia. The four-cylinder Berlina was developed in Australia primarily for the New Zealand market, it was equipped with an unemissionised fuel-injected 2.0 L motor (tuned to run on 96 octane fuel), essentially that of the Opel Vectra A mounted north-south, driving the rear wheels. The Berlina was available in both sedan and wagon body styles.
The Calais models were also offered to New Zealand, primarily in V6 form. In fact, due to a cancelled Singapore order, twenty fully equipped VN Calais models were sold in New Zealand - utilizing the Berlina's four-cylinder motor. Additionally, it is believed that there are a few VN Calais wagons in existence in New Zealand.

Holden Commodore ,Calais

An indigenous sports model, the Commodore GTS, was also offered to the New Zealand market during 1990. Based on the New Zealand Executive models, the GTS featured a 3.8L V6 engine, manual or automatic transmission, bodykit (similar to that of the VN Commodore SS), alloys and FE2 suspension. It was a limited build, available in either White or Dark Blue.
The VN was the last Commodore to be assembled in New Zealand, after General Motors closed its plant in Trentham in late 1990. Thereafter, GM cars were imported from Australia, duty-free.

- The Commodore Executive was the baseline model of the VN Commodore range, and was priced from A$20,014 when new.
- The Commodore S was the cheapest sports variant of the VN Commodore range, and was priced from A$21,665 when new.
- The Commodore SS was released in March 1989 and was the top of the line sports model of the VN Commodore range., and was priced from A$25,375 when new.
- The Commodore Berlina was the semi-luxury version of the VN Commodore range, and was priced from A$24,781 when new.

Holden Commodore ,Calais

- The Calais was the luxury version of the VN Commodore range, and was priced from A$31,265 when new.
- The Commodore BT1 or the Police Pack was a special pack for the VN Commodore that was available to the Australian and New Zealand Police Forces. It was based on the Commodore Executive and added various specification upgrades to cater to the needs of the Police Force.
- The Commodore Vacationer was a limited edition of VN Commodore range based on the Commodore Executive.
- The Commodore GTS was a limited run V6-engined sports model for the New Zealand market, based on the New Zealand-spec Executive model. Features included an extensive spoiler package, 5-spoke alloy wheels and FE2 sports suspension.
- The SS Group A SV was a race homologation special based on the VN Commodore SS. It was developed for Holden by Holden Special Vehicles and featured upgraded engine, transmission, brake and wheel specifications. Only 302 examples were produced.

The VP Commodore was released in September 1991 with mainly cosmetic and feature changes to the outgoing VN Series Commodore. The 3.8 litre V6 and 5.0 litre V8 engines from the VN were carried over, but the V6 engine received various revisions that improved its refinement and noise characteristics as well as boosting power by two kilowatts. The 2.0 litre straight-4 engine which had been offered on the VN in certain export markets was discontinued. Semi-trailing arm IRS became standard on Calais and Commodore SS models and became an optional extra on lower-end models. This new suspension drastically improving ride and handling over that offered by the live rear axle. ABS brakes were also introduced in the VP range as an option on Series 1 Calais and Commodore SS models, and on most models with IRS for Series II versions. Additional security features were introduced across the range, including an ignition-disabling device and a driver's door deadlock.

Holden Commodore ,Calais,Monaro

The VP was also sold in Thailand, but used an Opel 2.6-litre inline-six Dual Ram engine.

- The Commodore Executive was the base model of the VP Commodore range.
- The Commodore S was the cheapest sports variant of the VP Commodore range. It was essentially similar to the Executive, but with sports trim similar to the SS model.

Holden Commodore ,Calais,Monaro

- The Commodore SS was the top of the line sports model of the VP Commodore range.
- The Commodore Berlina was the cheapest luxury variant of the VP Commodore range.
- The Commodore Berlina LX was the semi-luxury version of the VP Commodore range. This model was essentially a stepping stone between the Berlina and Calais.
- The Calais was the luxury version of the VP Commodore range. It was however not badged or marketed as a Commodore.
- The SS V6 was limited production model which had all the features of the regular Commodore SS but utilized the V6 engine in place of the v8. Its was produced to homologate a suitable model for the Group 3E Series Production Cars motor racing category which required a small minimum run of cars to be built. The SS V6 competed against the Ford EB2 Falcon SS in that category.
- The Commodore BT1, or the Police Pack was a special pack for the VP Commodore that was available to the Australian and New Zealand Police Forces. It was based on the Commodore Executive and added various specification upgrades to cater to the needs of the Police Force. Many believe that BT1 Commodores had a "cop chip" which increased the engine power output, however this is a myth, as the engine power is the same as in regular VP Commodores.

Holden Commodore ,Calais,Monaro

- The Commodore Vacationer was a limited edition model based on the Commodore Executive. The VP Commodore Vacationer was released in October 1992.
- The Calais International was a limited edition model based on the VP Calais and released in September 1992. A total of 300 were built, 150 in Alaskan White and the same number in Anthracite Grey. All were equipped with the V8 engine and automatic transmission and the exterior featured Commodore SS lower kit (with fog lights) and a Holden VQ Caprice bootlip as well as unique International badges. The paint was single colour, unlike the standard Calais which had a grey lower half. Standard wheels were the 15in alloys from the VQ Statesman and the interior was black over tan, with tan partial leather/suede seats.
- A coupe utility variant of the VP Commodore was also produced. It was marketed as the Holden Ute and was not badged as a Commodore.

Holden’s performance car partner Holden Special Vehicles produced a number of models based on the VP Commodore and sold under the HSV brand. These included the HSV GTS.

Holden Commodore ,Calais,Monaro

The Holden VR Commodore of July 1993 came with an updated, sleeker and more modern design, as well as safety enhancements such as anti-lock brakes (ABS). From the side, the biggest change was the use of a round rear wheelarch, instead of a squared-off shape used on the previous VN and VP model Commodores. The VR Acclaim and Calais included a driver's side Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) air bag as standard, which was a first for an Australian car. They also had standard ABS brakes and independent rear suspension (IRS). The airbag, ABS brakes and IRS were also available across the range for both automatic transmission and manual transmission models. The rear-end treatment saw raised tail lamps, which were recessed high up on the boot lid for safety reasons. A new electronic version of the Turbo-Hydramatic 700R4 (TH700) automatic transmission was introduced, known as the GM 4L60-E. The VR Commodore was Wheels Car of the Year for 1993.

Holden Commodore ,Calais,Monaro

- Commodore Executive opened up the VR lineup, although it was primarily projected at fleet customers. Power steering, electric side mirrors and four-wheel disc brakes were standard, with automatic transmission optional.
Only one limited edition model was offered in the VR range, the Commodore Equipe: introduced in 1995, a Series II model in either sedan or wagon bodies was based on the Executive.
With the introduction of the VR Commodore, Holden added the Acclaim model to the Commodore range. Sitting one notch above the Executive, the Acclaim was based on an automatic transmission Executive with a safety pack that was aimed at families and featured ABS brakes, IRS, driver's side airbag and cruise control as standard. Although the Acclaim came standard with automatic transmission, a buyer could, by taking an Executive with manual transmission, and adding the ABS brakes, IRS, and airbag options, have a Commodore that was almost a manual transmission Acclaim. Only cruise control was not available as an option.
- The Commodore S was a sports option based on the Executive, retaining its 3.8 litre V6. Alloy wheels, FE2 suspension and a rear spoiler were specified among other features.
- SS models were similar to the S, except that they were fitted with Holden's 5.0 litre HEC 5000i V8. A unique-to-SS alloy wheel design was also featured. Also as an option they had the choice of a 185 kW (252 PS; 248 hp) engine

Holden Commodore ,Calais,Monaro

- The Berlina was the first of the luxury-oriented variants. Alloy wheels, electric windows and automatic transmission were standard fitment.
- The Calais topped the VR lineup with an automatic transmission, driver's airbag, IRS, and ABS as standard, as well as features, such as climate control and velour trim or optional leather, to differentiate it from the lesser Commodore models.

The United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI) joint venture agreement with Toyota Australia first starting with the VN Commodore continued with the VP and VR. The VR Lexcen equivalent was known as the T3 series, and was introduced at or about the same time as the other VR models; featuring subtle styling differences, particularly, the front panels. While the VR badged as a Holden was either first or second in the monthly Australian automotive sales, the Toyota Lexcen sold substantially fewer, with some interpreting the Toyota Lexcen as Japan returning to its copycat roots. This was due to Toyota specifying styling that was in common with the then new "wide body" Camry, while retaining the original Commodore bodywork and interiors. Lexcen sales were still quite low, also another factor in this is Holden restricted Toyota in the number of Lexcens it was to provide to them.

Holden Commodore ,Calais,Monaro

The Holden VS Commodore, released in 1995, was the ninth model of the Holden Commodore, a large car built by Holden, the Australian subsidiary of General Motors. The VS Commodore served as a mechanical update of the second generation architecture, destined to assist sales before the all-new VT model. The extent of exterior changes veered not much further than a redesigned Holden logo and wheel trims. An updated Ecotec (Emissions and Consumption Optimisation through TEChnology) version of the Buick V6 engine coincided with the changes to the engine in the United States. The Ecotec engine packed 13 percent more power, an increase of 17 kilowatts (23 hp) over the VR, cut fuel consumption by 5 percent, and increased the compression ratio from 9.0:1 to 9.4:1. Holden mated the new engine with a modified version of the GM 4L60-E automatic transmission, bringing improved throttle response and smoother changes between gears. Safety features were also improved, with a passenger airbag becoming available. Limited edition VS station wagon with manual gear box was limited to a production of 300.

Holden Commodore estate

The Series II update of June 1996 brought elliptical side turn signals, interior tweaks and the introduction of a L67 Supercharged V6 engine for selected trim levels. The new supercharged engine slotted in between the existing engines in the lineup and was officially rated at 165 kilowatts (221 hp), just 3 kilowatts (4 hp) below the V8.

The VS Commodore was the last of which to be sold as Toyota Lexcens, as Holden and Toyota ended their model-sharing scheme. The last Lexcens were built during 1997.

This model was also sold between 1995 and 1997 in small numbers to Malaysia and Singapore as the Opel Calais. Prior to the VS, the Opel-badged models were sold in VR specification from 1994. As of December 1994, Holden were selling approximately 40 per month of the VR series Opel Calais. Both the VR and VS versions were fitted with the Opel-sourced 2.6-litre C26NE inline-six engine and four-speed 4L30-E automatic. These vehicles initially featured the front-end of the VR Statesman until a circa 1997 facelift progressed to the front-end design of the VS Caprice. The final batch of Singapore-bound Opel Calais models were produced in August 1997 and featured the newer 2.5-litre X25XE V6 engine with the 4L30-E automatic transmission. However, this order was cancelled, likely due to the imminent Asian financial crisis. As the vehicles were not compliant for sale in Australia, they were instead exported to New Zealand and retailed through Ebbett Waikato dealerships, complied as 1998 models, and rebranded as the "Holden Commodore Royale".

Holden Commodore estate

The coupé utility version of the Commodore was released in April 1995, and stayed in production (with minor changes along the way) until the December 2000 release of the Holden Ute (VU).

Holden Commodore estate

Leave a comment about the Holden Commodore (1988-) :

Source :
  1. www.holden.com.au
  2. www.hjgts.8m.com/
  3. www.holdenvk.itgo.com/
  4. wikipedia.org/Holden

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