Holden Commodore VC

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Holden Commodore VC

1980 - 1981
Starfire-4, 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:
A model update from the VB, the VC's main improvement was the introduction of the "Blue" engines. The new engines represented a considerable re-design of the trusty "Red", and now featured 12 port heads and a two-barrel carburetor with new manifold.

The V8's also got new heads, along with new inlet and exhaust manifolds and electronic ignition. The 253 4.2 liter V8 was also fitted with the four barrel Rochester Quadrajet carburetor, previously reserved for the 5.0 liter engine.

Changing the rocker cover color from red to blue was obviously an attempt to draw attention to the changes now under the bonnet of the VC. Probably a good thing too, as the exterior changes were very mild and, for the casual observer, difficult to detect.

The VB's slat grill was replaced with a "crate" style grill on the VC, and unlike the VB it was attached to the front structure of the vehicle instead of the bonnet.

The Holden badge was moved from the top centre of the grille to the middle of the grille, while the word "Commodore" was placed on the curb-side of the grille and the curb side of the boot.

The model name was also set into the rubber protector strips on the front doors, while the "Commodore L" model replaced the simple "Commodore" as the base model.

It is somewhat unfortunate that the VC is best remembered for the lamentable 4 cylinder version. Having a reasonably large family car with 4 cylinder economy was worthy of merit, but simply transplanting the Starfire-4 into the Commodore was a flawed exercise from the beginning.

The power to weight ratio was so bad that any savings in petrol were quickly eaten away by the driver having to thrash the engine to keep up with traffic. This cost the poor owners of the 4 cylinder Commodore at both the petrol pump and the mechanics, and then again come trade-in time! Some motoring commentators of the day re-named the "Starfire-4" the "Misfire-4".

Strangely, it was not the principle of fitting a Commodore with a 4 cylinder engine that was flawed, simply the execution in lopping off 2 cylinders from the aging 2850 6 cylinder engine. The Commodore 4 offered better interior space and handling than its rivals, such as the Sigma, Corona and Datsun 200B. It should have been a much better car, but the lack of power was always going to keep if from winning the hearts and minds of most.

One other point worthy of noting was the backward step taken when the SL/E's tachometer was ditched in favour of the "fuel economy gauge" as fitted to the lesser models. But at least the audio system now featured Dolby and auto-reverse.

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Also see:

Commodore VC Specifications
HDT Special Vehicles Brock VC
Commodore Commercials
Holden Red Motor
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