Holden VN Commodore - History


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.

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.

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.

Read more about this topic:  Holden VN Commodore

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