Tomorrow's the day that General Motors' Australian division, Holden, will finally turn off the lights in their last local factory in Elizabeth, South Australia. This has come only weeks after Toyota Australia built their last Camry in Altona, and exactly one year since the final Falcon and Territory rolled off the line just half an hour up the road, at Ford Australia's factory in Campbellfield, Victoria.
No, it hasn't been a great year.
In just twelve months from October 2016, Australia's last three manufacturers have gone tools-down on 3 engines, and 11 configurations of 9 models; so quickly wrapping up local automotive manufacturing entirely.
For whatever reason (I'm going to blame my childhood here..), it's the loss of Holden that hurts the most personally. Not by a lot either, honestly. As a Victorian, the Fords always got bonus points for being made so close to home - I literally worked around the corner from their factory at one point - but no, my family drove Holdens. That's enough it seems!
Now to tie this back to being somewhat relevant for the blog. This involves a simple scroll through my phone's Camera Roll for that combination of 80's, Holden, and somewhat interesting.
So what've we got?
General Motors Holden's 1988- 'VN' Holden Commodore.
A generation that's only recently come into its rightful appreciation as they've approached legitimate-classic status; something that quality and later image-issues seemingly delayed compared to the iconic 1986-1988 'VL' these replaced!
But they've certainly got there now anyway, and demand/values for certain models (HSV's, standard SS, ...) is rapidly on its way up.
The VN example I've gone with below is one of those.
From the Geelong Revival Motoring Festival, 2016; a tastefully-modified 1988-1991 VN Holden Commodore Executive BT1 (ex-Police).
Whether it's originally a V8-powered ex-Police BT1, I don't know, I didn't look at the tags; but that's the appearance it is going for regardless. And at this point I don't care.
Being part of the General Motors world means Holden based the 1978- Commodores the different GM Europe RWD V-Platforms; so those from Europe may recognize this (the glasshouse in particular) from the '86/87- Opel Omega/Senator. Unfortunately however for the accountants at GM, adjustments made to suit larger engines and Australian width requirements.. well, not much would be interchangeable at this point!
Australia's own little V8 beautifully presented in a spotless engine-bay. Variations of this motor from 4200cc to 5700cc were fitted to all sorts of Australian Holdens between 1969 and 2000.. and ohhhhh, do I have a soft-spot for them.
Inside, a full interior out of the 1993- VR Commodore's top-tier HSV GTS.
Silver steel wheels with small centre-caps are the original fit for Police vehicles, and a popular look that I've too always thought looked fantastic on Commodores.
The Police pack's larger fuel tank, and a view down the side...
..showing the result of a strut-front / solid-axle rear combination.
..and back to the front. Ignore the slightly ajar passenger's door if you can!
Done. A great example of Holden's VN Commodore.