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Iconic Holden Commodore Turns 30

AAP
25 October 2008
www.drive.com.au

The iconic Holden Commodore has turned 30 and among those invited to celebrate was one of the people who helped design it for Australian roads.

Director of design at GM Holden during the development of the original VB Commodore, Leo Pruneau, admitted Saturday was a bit like celebrating the birthday of one of his children.

"It was a terrific time to be at Holden and it was a terrific project to work on," he reminisced.

"Even though there were a lot of ups and downs and ins and outs, which always happens, it was a lot of fun."

Mr Pruneau said that at the time his brief was to create a car to replace the Kingswood as Holden's leading family car, something for both city and country drivers.

Not even he could imagine the success of the car, which has been Australia's best-selling passenger vehicle for the past 12 years, with 2.5 million built since the first one rolled off the line on October 25, 1978.

So far this year 37,505 have been sold. This puts the Commodore more than 700 vehicles ahead of the next largest seller.

The current design director of GM Holden, Tony Stolfo, said he was confident the Commodore would continue to evolve and celebrate another 30 years.

"The family household might be getting smaller, but there is still the desire to have a driver's car, the ability to fit five passengers in a vehicle with a big boot to travel longer distances," he said.



Commodore Celebrates 30 Years On Australian Roads

GM Holden
24 October 2008
www.holden.com.au

Australia’s best-selling vehicle, the Holden Commodore today celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The first Commodore rolled off the line on 25 October 1978, signalling the arrival of what is now Holden’s longest-standing and most successful nameplate.

Commodore has been Australia’s top selling passenger car for the past 12 years and is on track to maintain that position in 2008.

More than 2.5 million Commodores have been built since the first VB series sedans went into production, replacing the Kingswood as Holden’s leading family car range.

Throughout that period the Commodore name has graced 14 model series and four generations of rear-wheel drive vehicles for Australian and overseas buyers.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss said Commodore had become a symbol of local design and engineering expertise and Australia’s ability to compete on the world stage.

“Over thirty years Commodore has earned a place in the hearts and minds of generations of Australian families,” Mr Reuss said.

“On the way to becoming Holden’s longest standing and most successful nameplate, Commodore has delivered significant advances in passenger car safety, comfort and handling.

"We’re always seeking to improve Commodore so that it remains the smart choice for Australian motorists.

“It is a mark of the skill and creativity of the Australian automotive industry that we have been able to build top-selling cars of this calibre for local and overseas markets.”

General Motors started work on Commodore in 1971 as the second GM ‘world car’ program. Variations were sold in England, other parts of Europe and South Africa with the Australian version receiving locally developed engines, steering, suspension, body strengthening and dust sealing.

The radically different VB Commodore was generally judged to have brought a new level of sophistication to the market with efficient space packaging, high levels of comfort, generous equipment levels and excellent handling due to the development of Holden’s successful Radial Tuned Suspension.

Commodore has subsequently collected more than 60 major motoring awards and won the prestigious Wheels Car of the Year award a record five times – VB (1978), VN (1988), VR (1993), VT (1997) and VE (2006).

Advances in safety technology such as driver, passenger and side impact airbags, computer optimised restraint systems and ABS brakes as standard fitment were all introduced on Commodore as ‘firsts’ for an Australian-manufactured car.

Commodore’s role as an ambassador for the Holden brand has extended beyond the showroom floor to the racetrack where it has been the spearhead of its motor-sport participation for almost 30 years.

During that time, Commodore has won an unrivalled 18 Bathurst victories and nine V8 touring car and supercar championships.

Commodore Facts

Sales & Manufacturing

Commodore has been Australia’s top selling car for the past 12 years and is on track to maintain that position in 2008.

A total of 37,505 Commodores have been sold so far in 2008. This puts Commodore more than 700 vehicles ahead of the next largest seller.

Commodore is produced in left and right-hand drive configurations at Holden Vehicle Operations in Elizabeth, South Australia.
History

The current VE model is number 14 of the Commodore series. Model designations are: VB (1978); VC (1980); VH (1981); VK (1984); VL (1986); VN (1988); VP (1991); VR (1993); VS (1995); VT (1997); VX (2000); VY (2002); VZ (2006); VE (2006).

Major model changes occurred in 1988 with the introduction of the VN Commodore, in 1997 with the VT Commodore and in 2006 with the VE Commodore.

Looking Back at October 1978

The first Commodore rolled off the line at Holden’s former assembly line at Pagewood, New South Wales.

The base model price at the time of Commodore’s 1978 release was $6513.
Popular songs at the time of the launch included: Three Times a Lady (Commodores), Summer Nights (John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John), Who Are You? (The Who).

Popular movies at the time of the launch included: Saturday Night Fever, The Goodbye Girl, Pretty Baby and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith.

Major events during the month of Commodore’s launch included: Polish Pope, John Paul II becomes the first non-Italian Catholic Pope in 450 years; Australian singer Johnny O’Keefe dies.



1978 VB Holden Commodore (above) and 2008 VE Holden Commodore (below)
 

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gotta love that classy brownish color in the first pic, reminds me of the 81(?) Commodore my dad have, though the HSV SV5000 we had in the early 90s was a dream, British Racing Green of course.
 

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The car that has become the soon to be defunct Pontiac G8.
You expected anything different?

Opels
Ford Fiesta
Merkurs
Mercury Capri
Pontiac GTO

None of these sold in the U.S. for long as import orphans are a Ford/GM tradition.
Expect the European Astra to join the G8 on this list before long...
 

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You expected anything different?

Opels
Ford Fiesta
Merkurs
Mercury Capri
Pontiac GTO

None of these sold in the U.S. for long as import orphans are a Ford/GM tradition.
Expect the European Astra to join the G8 on this list before long...
Okay.. The GTO "Failed" because was a Australian car with a badge that had American heritage. If GM took the Solstice and called it Monaro in Australia it would have the same effect. The G8 is failing (if you consider it failing) because GM does not advertise the damn thing. I never seen a G8 commercial at all this year. And I thought the G8 was meeting sales expectations...

Merkur failed because it was expensive compared to the American Counterparts. People thought why buy a Merkur Scorpio when you could have a similar Sable for less.
 

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The G8 is failing (if you consider it failing) because GM does not advertise the damn thing. I never seen a G8 commercial at all this year. And I thought the G8 was meeting sales expectations...
I agree to some degree, but the G8 has other problems as well. The G8 would do much better if GM had brought in the entire Commodore lineup, or even just the majority of it. As it is, the G8 has limited appeal because they are only trying to appeal to performance buyers. Also, loose that name. It should be called a Pontiac Grand Prix.

If GM will import a G8 with the DI V6 and a six-speed manual, I'll buy one.
 

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You know what i say. Don't blame the Monaro for GM.

Happy B-Day Commodore!!.. And here is one of the first VB's.. Our old car loved it heaps still miss it today:(.

 

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Just noticed they got the year of the VZ wrong lol.
 

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happy birthday HOLDEN u rock hope we can keep the holden commodore on the roads for as long as we can hey HOLDEN & GM if your listening to us die hard holden fans you need to build the torana ASAP before gas shoots right back up to record prices dont you get it. if you dont build the holden torana by 2010 its lights out for holden because u cant just sell the holden commodore for another 30 years the torana needs to weigh about 1400 kg no more than that and a really fast 4 cylinder turbo and put a v8 diesel turbo with lots of torque and 6 speed manual
 

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come on holden build the torana of the VE and get hsv to do a diesel v8 turbo and send it over to the uk & middle east as a chevy and america and hopefully pontiac will be dead and they can sell it as a chevy as well dont tell me the chevy cruze is better its so ugly someone put a pic of the holden torana concept vs chevy cruze and tell me what one looks better come on GM who designed that thing someone from the moon you need me to design your cars because GM cant build nothing cool and tell my why GM isn't building the holden coupe60 that is the best looking holden there is come on BOB LUTZ drop pontiac all ready and put holden there you no you want to coupe60 would of been perfect for chevy dont you guys think
 

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Commodores in your family?

Mine:
Nanny Mak, VB SL (w/underdash a/c)
Mum and Dad, VC L Wagon (Starfire :eek:)
Older Bro, VH (driven to death...and around in 2nd for the last week of its life)
Best mate at school (close enough to family and I spent plenty of time in both cars) had a VK Berlina and VP Berlina LX
Mum and Dad, VL 5 speed wagon
Me, VN, VP (wagon), VXII, VZ (wagon...duh)

Still missing a VE....
 

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Merkur failed because it was expensive compared to the American Counterparts. People thought why buy a Merkur Scorpio when you could have a similar Sable for less.
The main Merkur model, the XR4ti, blew away the comparable Fords. A T-Bird turbo wasn't even close... it was a lot bigger, heavier and slower.

Merkur failed for two reasons: First, they were given to white-belted Lincoln Town Car salesmen who had no clue how to sell them, then Ford panicked and toned down the XR4ti. They should've gone the other way... make it look like a rally car with the huge Cosworth wing and effects. Of course those salesmen still wouldn't know what to do with it... I dealt with those old coots and knew they were doomed.

And second, they "Americanized" the Merkurs... which means screwed 'em up, a common failing among the orphans. Should've brought Sierras (and esp. Sierra Cosworths) with minimal changes. I would've killed to get a Cosworth, but of course it never came.

The G8 isn't a failure... they can't sell a lot of them because they don't have the capacity. They're getting rid of it for other reasons... it's not a money-maker and CAFE. They'll get rid of the Euro Astra for profitability (or lack of) reasons as well and these two will join the long import orphan list (add the Cadillac Catera to it, I forgot that one).

I wouldn't have any qualms about buying an orphan. I never had trouble getting parts or service on my Merkur... and it needed a lot of service.
 

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The main Merkur model, the XR4ti, blew away the comparable Fords. A T-Bird turbo wasn't even close... it was a lot bigger, heavier and slower.

Merkur failed for two reasons: First, they were given to white-belted Lincoln Town Car salesmen who had no clue how to sell them, then Ford panicked and toned down the XR4ti. They should've gone the other way... make it look like a rally car with the huge Cosworth wing and effects. Of course those salesmen still wouldn't know what to do with it... I dealt with those old coots and knew they were doomed.

And second, they "Americanized" the Merkurs... which means screwed 'em up, a common failing among the orphans. Should've brought Sierras (and esp. Sierra Cosworths) with minimal changes. I would've killed to get a Cosworth, but of course it never came.

The G8 isn't a failure... they can't sell a lot of them because they don't have the capacity. They're getting rid of it for other reasons... it's not a money-maker and CAFE. They'll get rid of the Euro Astra for profitability (or lack of) reasons as well and these two will join the long import orphan list (add the Cadillac Catera to it, I forgot that one).

I wouldn't have any qualms about buying an orphan. I never had trouble getting parts or service on my Merkur... and it needed a lot of service.
Well yea pretty much its the dealers fault for the european models failing.

I dont think G8 is failing, i said if you consider it failing in parenthesis, since everyone seems to think its failing. Thats why i also said and i thought it was meeting sales expectations. sorry for not making my self clear the 1st time. I agree with the other person who said that they should bring most of the lineup here. By that I mean a stick in all trims.

Arent all cars destined to be "Orphans"? I mean I dont know what constitutes as a orphan but every car brand has a orphan model.
 

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Arent all cars destined to be "Orphans"? I mean I dont know what constitutes as a orphan but every car brand has a orphan model.
By orphan I mean one and done. For whatever reason the imports never get to the second generation.
So... whenever I see that Ford or GM is going to "bring something over" I always expect it to be a one shot deal.
 

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I agree to some degree, but the G8 has other problems as well. The G8 would do much better if GM had brought in the entire Commodore lineup, or even just the majority of it. As it is, the G8 has limited appeal because they are only trying to appeal to performance buyers. Also, loose that name. It should be called a Pontiac Grand Prix.

If GM will import a G8 with the DI V6 and a six-speed manual, I'll buy one.
Good point, but then Cadillac would have a hard time selling the CTS. This is the problem with GM: too many brands, and too many similar offerings.

Happy Birthday to the Commodore, but what's in store for its future? Will Holden REALLY turn it into a torque-steering, nose-heavy, FWD Toyota Camry clone?
 
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