Holden Commodore model history from 1978 – 2017 VB-VF

VB COMMODORE (1978-1980)

The Holden Commodore was designed to replace the full-size and less fuel efficient Holden Kingswood/Premiers. The Commodore range included more modern trim and much better steering and handling. Early models were released as Commodore, Commodore SL and Commodore SL/E trim levels. The Holden “red” 6 cylinder motor was carried over from the old full-size Holden but would be the last Holden to use it.

VC COMMODORE (1980-1981)

The VC Commodore was a minor refinement of the VB Commodore and included several engineering updates but few body changes. It’s identifiable by the “egg crate” grill. This Holden “blue” 6 cylinder motor was introduced to meet more strict emissions requirements using 12-port heads and electronic ignition for the first time.

The base model was labelled the Commodore L when it was effectively unnamed in the previous model. Interestingly, the VB Commodore was available with 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engines like the Holden Torana of the seventies.

VH Holden COMMODORE (1981-1984)

Again, minor updates were made to the front end styling but the VH model also introduced new model called the “SL/X” in between the SL and the SL/E. The VH was also significant for introducing the “SS” model, a performance V8 model that was available in all subsequent models right through to the VF Commodore.

The VH Commodore is pictured here with the two-tone paint option known as “shadow tone”. Not too many running around today with that option still intact!

VK Holden COMMODORE (1984-1986)

The updated styling for the VK lay somewhere between a minor styling change and a major re-shell. While the shell was made to appear larger with a third row of side windows, the front and rear themselves received only minor updates. The “blue” motor was replaced by the “black” which would be the last six cylinder engine with a carburettor but late in the cycle a fuel injection option was offered.

New models were introduced, the “Executive” (base model), “Berlina” (midrange previously SL/X) and “Calais” (roughly equivalent to the old SL/E).

VL Holden Commodore (1986-1988)

The introduction of stricter regulations regarding emissions and the imminent introduction of unleaded gas meant that Holden did not have a compliant engine. To bridge the gap between the VK and the planned brand new model, Holden replaced the blue motor with the Nissan RB30 3 litre 6 cylinder engine while continuing with the albeit fuel-injected Holden 308 cubic inch V8.

The VL was also available with the RB20 2-litre 6 cylinder engine but only in New Zealand.

VN Holden Commodore (1988-1991)

After nearly ten years of development, the previous model was way overdue for a refresh and the VN brought a lot of changes to almost all aspects of the styling and engineering. The VN was based on a completely new platform that borrowed heavily from the Open Senator but wider and longer.

Without the massive investment required to refresh every component, some suspension parts were carried over from the VL. Some of the investment dollars went into developing the Holden V6, itself based on a US sourced Buick engine design.

VP Holden Commodore (1991-1993)

The VP added minor styling and engineering updates to the range. One significant upgrade was the introduction of independent rear suspension and ABS brakes as options for the first time in the Holden range. They were available only on the SS and Calais models initially but later (series II) models would all get the independent rear.

VR Holden Commodore (1993-1995)

The VR Holden thoroughly modernised the shell by restyling the front and rear ends significantly. Another innovation was the introduction of a drivers side airbag for the first time. Cruise control was also offerred there were several updates to the Holden V6 and a new (American) automatic transmission was fitted as an option (GM 4L60).

​VS Holden Commodore (1995-1997)

The VS Commodore was a minor update in terms of styling but did include a new Supercharged V6 model along with small changes to the naturally aspirated V6 that provided more power with better fuel economy.

​VT Holden Commodore (1997-2000)

Following in the wake of the previous two major platform replacements, the VT Commodore was released after almost ten years of development in the previous model. Expectations were high after such a long gap between platform changes and the VT commodore ticked all the boxes in terms of improvements across the board.

At the end of the series 1 VT model run the ancient Holden 308 (5ltr) V8 was replaced by the Chevrolet LS1 otherwise known as the Gen III V8.

VX Holden Commodore (2000-2002)

It wasn’t until the popularity of the VT Commodore in the late ’90s that GM Holden had sufficient demand (and therefore funds) to justify several different body shell variants of the very popular new Commodore.

Most interesting was the new V2 Monaro, but there were also tray-back and four-door utilities (Crewman) as well as 4-wheel drive station wagon variants.

By the time the model was refreshed in the year 2000, it was the most popular car in Australia.

VY Holden Commodore (2002-2004)

By the time the VY Commodore was released in 2002, Commodores were available in many different models including the Berlina, Executive, Acclaim, S, SV8, SS and Calais. The station wagons were available for the first time as a limited edition “SS” model including the LS1 V8 in both Series I and Series II variants.

VZ Holden Commodore (2004-2006)

New engines and slightly updated front-end styling, the VZ was the last in a line of Commodores that originated from the Holden V8 powered VT way back in 1997. Many engine and gearbox options later, including the Gen III LS1. At the end of its model run (2006), the VZ Commodore got the, then new, L76 6.0 litre Chevrolet V8 Gen III

​VE Holden Commodore (2006-2013)

The VE was the first “all-Australian” designed Commodore. A significant milestone, as previous models were more or less based on European Opel designs.

V8 options included the L76 L98 & L77

VF Holden Commodore (2013-2017)

A major revamp of the VE with new sheet metal and lighter alloy materials used combined with a hugely upgraded interior & tech, but with similar engine options including the 6 litre L77 Gen 4 V8. In late 2015, the series 2 VF the 6.2 litre LS3 V8 was the standard V8 option (as used in the HSV vehicles) across the V8 range. Unfortunately the end of an era…. But, what a fantastic vehicle to finish off with, the last Aussie made Commodore was in high demand and will become a collector vehicle.

With 30yrs experience JHP Vehicle Enhancements specialise in late model Commodores & HSVs… so if you need parts, servicing or repairs look us up..