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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading about the evolution of Holden, and to my surprise I discovered that Holden developed their own V8 in the late 60's.

Thought Holden has used many US GM motors, including the small block 307/327/350, the Buick 3.8 V6 and the current LS V8 engine family, it also developed it's own V8 for domestic use. The engine was offered in 253 and 308 displacements and seems to have survived well into the 1980s.

What I can't find out is how these engines were different that the small block Chevy. Did Holden simply evolve and adapt the small block for the Australian market, or did it create a new motor from the ground up? What are the key differences between the Holden and Chevy v8? Do they share any parts? What kind of power were the Australian V8s capable of?

Anyone on these boards know anything about the Holden V8s? It seems like an interesting -- and untold -- part of GM history.
 

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They were originally the 253 and 308, but later a stroked version was offered by HSV which was around 350.

They were a new motor and lighter than the small block. They were in use from about 1969 until the VT Commodore (around 2000).

The last of these motors from HSV produced 185 kw from the 5 litre and 215 kw from the stroked 5.7 litre (sorry, gone metric now).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting -- lighter than the small block with pretty decent power. The 5 litre's 185 Kw converts to almost 250 hp; the 5.7's 215 Kw converts to almost 290 hp -- not too bad from an engine I for one have never heard of until recently.

Too bad Australian vehicles are right-hand drive. It sounds like there are plenty of older Holdens that would be wild to import -- they'd be quite exotic here (here being Canada) and sound like they offer pretty strong performance.

Thanks for the info!
 

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My HZ Kingswood's 253 pulled and painted after a reconditioning.

NOTE (front panel from my parents VT commodore in backgroung after the new gts style body kit)
 

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the 253/308 was actually a pontiac in disguise there where no interchageable parts from the "307/327/350" chev series.
Because it was designed by two engineers that where "indian" devotees it had the pontiac firing order.
It was designed as a RHD engine with the starter on the LH side. integral oil pump and filter housing on the LH front of the cover that also had an integral water pump for reduced length as the "Kingswood" at time was a narrow chassis design and packaging the 307/350 was to hard.
The crank was common 3.0625 stroke with 3.625 dia pistons for the 253/4.2 and 4.000 dia for the 308/5.1.
Rods where 5.625" lg. the 253 used 5/16 bolts and the 308 used 3/8 bolts.
Main and rod bearings where peculiar to this engine.
We had the engineers along to a Club meeting a few years ago and I asked them how they got away with designing an "orphan" within the GM structure, and they said that it was only done as a design exercise but power output was above expectations and it was OK'D for production without Management realiseing that it was only a mule.
 

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Thanks for the informative post. It definately does look like a Buick, and way too light to be a Chevy.
 

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Gidday Tone,

I've read many British motor mags who describe the Holden V8 as the 'Famous Holden V8' because unlike the US (until recently) Europeans have watched international broadcasts of our most famous race, the Bathurst 1000 for decades. It ranks international as one of the top 4 endurance races in the world, and many international drivers come to race at the Mount Panorama circuit (maybe the most exciting since the old Nurburg-ring was shortened) just outside the town of Bathurst in New South Wales. Because the V8 Holden’s have won it so many times against many top foreign cars, it developed a legendary status.

While we have had the Chevy LS1 for many years, the engine of choice for the big time street machine guys is still the Holden V8, which can make huge power reliably. Possibly no other engine other than the small iron block Chevy motors have had so much racing development. Today road registered twin turbo Holden V8 street machines are making 1,600 bhp on pump gas at our Summernats.

If you like interesting GM V8 history, here is the most rare GM V8. In the 1966 and 67 Formula 1 racing season 3 time Word Champion Sir Jack Brabham was the only man to also win the world championship as driver, in his own Brabham racing car and running his own Repco Brabham engine. This engine was a 3.0 Oldsmobile alloy passenger car engine block design that never went into production and which was redesigned in Australia into an F1 engine revving at 8,000rpm and making 311 bhp. More than 100bhp per litre in 1966!

The engine only ran two years, in 66 and 67, and won both world championships. Because Repco supplied engine components to Holden, and engine designers were a very small community here in those days, I am sure the work on this engine influenced the people and the effort that led to the Holden V8 design which occurred just after it.

 

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Tone said:
Interesting -- lighter than the small block with pretty decent power. The 5 litre's 185 Kw converts to almost 250 hp; the 5.7's 215 Kw converts to almost 290 hp -- not too bad from an engine I for one have never heard of until recently.

Too bad Australian vehicles are right-hand drive. It sounds like there are plenty of older Holdens that would be wild to import -- they'd be quite exotic here (here being Canada) and sound like they offer pretty strong performance.

Thanks for the info!
don't worry, we have a Cadillac Catera... modify it or use the interior as a source of LHD... then you can convert Holden Commodore into LHD
 

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IIRC, the 253/308 blocks were made so that the RH bank of cylinders were staggered "forward" of the LH Bank -opposite to the SBC.

As stated earlier by gs455_65, it was made that way to clear the steering box used by Holden in the HT to HZ range of cars including the mighty "Kingswood!!!"

Not a problem now because Holden use Rack and Pinion.

Mike
 

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Tone said:
Too bad Australian vehicles are right-hand drive. It sounds like there are plenty of older Holdens that would be wild to import -- they'd be quite exotic here (here being Canada) and sound like they offer pretty strong performance.
Tone, this company in the US imports older Aussie cars with many happy customers. Check out their website.

http://www.madmaxcars.com/
 

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turbodiesel said:
don't worry, we have a Cadillac Catera... modify it or use the interior as a source of LHD... then you can convert Holden Commodore into LHD
I don't think that will work. Whilst the Holden is based on the Opel Omega/Catera, it is longer, higher and wider with different mechanicals and floorpan/chassis. Virtually no part is interchangeable. Holden needed a wider car to compete with the Ford Falcon and so, in the end, only the styling is similar.

The GTO or Luminas from the Middle East or Omegas from Brazil would be a better source of parts to convert it to LHD.
 
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