Holden Commodore VB

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Holden Commodore VB

1978 - 1980
6 cyl. & V8
2.85/3.3 ltr. 6; 4.2/5.0 ltr. V8
101kW 202 & 179kW 308
4 spd. man; 3 spd. Trimatic & 3 spd. Turbohydramatic 350/400
Top Speed:
142 kmh (202 motor)
Number Built:
The VB Commodore of 1978 was to replace the aging HZ model, an update of the model line first introduced with the HQ Holden in 1971.

The base level Commodore came with the 2.8 ltr. 6 cylinder motor coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission. Engine options available at the time of introduction included the 3.3 liter 6 cylinder and 4.2 liter V8 engines. You could also upgrade to a Tri-Matic auto, corded cloth interior, power steering and air conditioning.

The dash of the Commodore featured a large hood stretching across to the passenger side of the car, and even in base models the addition of a "fuel economy meter" made the instrument layout look far more comprehensive over that of the HZ.

The 3.3 European Pack and 4.2 Sport Pack (with manual transmission only) came with full instrumentation, 4 wheel discs, alloy wheels and headlight washer/wipers.

Probably the most popular model in the Commodore lineup was the "SL", fitted with the 3.3 liter and Tri-Matic auto as standard.

Improvments over the standard Commodore included vertical accent bars on the grille, a silver tail panel, bright door mouldings, plush interior trim and carpet, rosewood dash finish, extra gauges, twin exterior mirrors, chrome wheeltrim rings, variable intermittent speed wipers, rear centre armrest and inertia-reel seatbelts for the outer rear passengers.

Top of the line was the Commodore SL/E, fitted with the 253 4.2 liter V8 engine and Tri-Matic transmission as standard. In addition to the SL's list of features, the SL/E had a blacked out grille, headlight wiper/washers, extended rear bumpers, 15-inch alloy wheels, black door frames and tail panel, chrome exhaust, velour trim and cut pile carpet, reading lights, tachometer, burr walnut dash, four wheel disc brakes, power steering, air conditioning and a Eurovox stereo radio cassette player with electric aerial.

Other options included the 5.0 liter 308 V8 with Turbo-Hydramatic 350 or 400 transmission, and central locking, however it would take a further 10 months from introduction before you could purchase a wagon. Not available in SL/E guise, the popular SL featured an integrated chrome roof rack, and the back seat could be lowered easily to increase load space. Helping with the PR effort being made to establish the Commodore as a fine car was the 1980 Bathurst win in a VB Commodore by Peter Brock and Jim Richards.

GMH had made a brave decision to release the smaller Commodore as replacement for the traditional Aussie family sedans of the era, but did keep the HZ in production for a time to allow an easier transition. A press release dated 26th October, 1979, reads "it represents the latest world concept in vehicle downsizing". That may have been true, but over the ensuing years the Commodore would grow in size in response to what the public wanted, which was large family sedans.

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Also see:

Commodore VB Specifications
Commodore VB SL/E Brochure
Commodore Commercials
Holden Red Motor
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