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Commodore VB

VH Commodore 1981
 The VH was a basically a face-lift of the previous model Commodore with noticeable changes to the grill, head lights and tail lights.  The head lights where larger in area come down at a different angle from the VC or VB while the grill had horizontal bars running between the head lights.  In 1982 the Commodore became the recipient of a 5-speed gearbox which improved the overall quality of a good car.  AlthoughIt the VH had 5 engine choices the 5-speed was only available in the smaller sixes and fours and was a most wanted item even though the Borg Warner unit was not very strong.  Many people replaced the original 4-speed units with Toyota 5-speed boxes which included my VH Turbo 3.3 six.  The turbo was fitted from new and the 5-speed was added approximately a year later as the car needed a cruising gear for the open road.  The Turbo was a Garret and used a kit which increased power dramatically to 140 hp at the rear wheels at a mild 4500 rpm.  The turbo was made from 2 seperate items with one being from a T3 and the other being from a T5, I can say that it made this car fly and although I never had it flat out in top I estimated top speed to be around 220 km/h - 230 km/h. From memory 160 km/h came up at around lazy 3200 rpm so 225 km/h would have been 4500 rpm.  Anyway back to the task of writing about the stock versions. The SS and Brock specials were and still are true muscle cars with style and could be made from any model and to almost any spec. 

The top of the range SL/E came with two tone paint along with many luxury features and looked the part as did the red SS. 
The VH was successful on the track as well with the pairing of Peter Brock and Larry Perkins who was a master at building race engines as well as being an extremely competent driver as he proved later in his career 
I had an email asking about the Police Commodores and as far as my memory goes the pursuit cars were a 'Police Pack' and came with the Brock motor and suspension. The motor was rated at around 181 kW. These were sort after cars at the police auctions and sold quickly.  Some of the option packs that were available were the 184(SL), 185(SL), 284(SL/X) and 285(SL/X) which came standard with the 4.2 litre V8.  The 184 and 284 had 4-speed manual, 3.08:1 rear, dual exhaust, power steering, tachometer while the 185 and 285 had the same except 3-speed trimatic and 2.78:1 rear.

Year of Introduction: 
October 1981 

$8366 SL 4 cylinder 
$9066 SL 6 cylinder 
$14861 SL/E 6 cylinder 

1.9 litre 4 cylinder inline (58 kW) 
2.85 litre 6 cylinder inline (76 kW) 
3.3 litre 6 cylinder inline (83 kW) 
4.2 litre V8 (100 kW) 
5.0 litre V8 (126 kW) 
5.0 litre V8 'Police Pack' (181 kW) 
5.0 litre V8 Brock (181 kW)

4 speed manual 
5 speed manual (1982 some models only) 
3 speed  Trimatic 
3 speed Turbohydramatic 350/400 (5.0 V8)

SL sedan
SL station wagon
SL/X sedan
SL/X station wagon
SL/E sedan
SS sedan


HDT VH (Brock)
Engine: 308 Cubic Inch Pushrod V8 (4.2L engine was also available). 
9.2:1 Compression Ratio with 101.6mm Bore and 77.8mm stroke. 
Max Power 184kw @ 4750rpm
418Nm of Torque @ 3500rpm. 
4 barrel Rochester Carburettor 
Port matched inlet manifold. 
Transmission: M21 4 Speed standard. T5 5 Spd optional
Ratios: Manual
First: 2.54
Second: 1.83
Third: 1.38
Fourth: 1.00
Reverse: 2.54
Final Drive: 3.08 (Manual & Automatic) 

1st: 2.48
2nd: 1.48
3rd: 1.00
Reverse: 2.08

Clutch: Single Dry Plate (Torque Convertor in Auto's) 
Steering: Type: Power assisted rack and pinion

Suspension: Front: Fully independant. Macpherson struts with coil springs and anti-roll bar. 
Rear: Live axle located by trailing arms and Panhard rod. Coil springs and anti-roll bar. 
Brakes: Split circuit hydraulic system with power booster.
Front: 281 Ventilated discs. 
Rear: 281 Discs. 
Wheels & Tyres: 15 x 7" Irmscher Alloy wheels with Uniroyal ER60H15 tyres. 
Performance: Top Speeds: (km/h@rpm)
1st: 83@5500
2nd: 115@5500
3rd: 153@5500
4th: 210@5500

Standing Start
0-100km/h: 6.7 seconds
400m: 14.9 seconds

Fuel Tank: 63 Litres.
90 Litres Optional

Number Built: 322 (Mostly 5 litre Group 3's) 
Prices: Base Price: $13,385 Options: Deluxe AM/FM Radio $1300, 90 litre fuel tank $245, Group 3 SS modifications $5500, 5.0L engine $1500 (4.2L engine was standard) 

Kerb Mass: 1379kg.


One of the many great Commodore race drivers of the 80's, Alan Grice in the one of the best colour schemes of the day dueling with the very potent but unreliable 1800cc Nissan Turbo of (Furious) George Fury

The two-tone paint and the stylish alloy mag wheels on the SL/E created a luxurious look to the Commodore.