VN Commodore

Produced the following years:
1988 1989 1990 1991

VN Commodore 1988-1991

White VN Commodore

The Holden VN Commodore was released in Augusts 1988 and based on the German design of the Opel Senator and Omega. The original design was widened and stretched to create the VN Commodore. This heralded a new era in large family cars for Holden and Australians responded well to this model.

Awarded the Wheels ‘Car of the Year’ award in 1988, the VN design was specially redesigned and strengthened to suit the harsh Australian road conditions.

The new shape, size and look of the Commodore once again sparked interest in car buyers and Holden decided to release a coupe utility version of the VN Commodore for the first time, giving it the model designation of Holden VG Utility.

The previous model’s Nissan engine was no longer financially viable to import, so Holden integrated a 3.8 litre EFI V6 engine that proved to put out as much power as the old carburettor-equipped V8s of previous models.

The 5-speed Borg-Warner gearbox was also an Australian made gearbox, which means no longer importing these parts. Power steering was also a standard inclusion on all VN models and for the first time, a 4 speed automatic transmission was introduced to the line.

The 5.0 litre EFI V8 still holds the record to this day for being the most powerful mass-produced Australian engine, capable of producing an enormous 165 kW and was available across the entire VN line as an option.

The V6 ‘S’ model was available for sports enthusiasts, but Holden also made the V8-powered ‘SS’ sports sedan available as an option.

Holden VN Commodore Models

Once again, Holden released the VN Commodore in varying ranges from the base-line Executive and Vacationer models, through to the mid-range Berlina and up to the top of the line Calais model. Add the ‘S’ and the ‘SS’ sports models to the range, and it’s easy to see why the VN was so popular.

In 1990 the Statesman and Caprice luxury VN models were released. These were built using the VN station wagon’s longer wheel-base and were powered using the 5.0 litre V8 EFI engine. The release of these models gave Holden a much larger share in the luxury car market.

The Commodore BT1, or Police Pack, was a special release for the VN Commodore that was available to the Australian and New Zealand police forces. In addition to the standard features included in the Executive model, the BT1 also included the 5.0 litre V8 engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, extractors, FE2 sports suspensions, SS Exhaust pack and unique interior lighting.

In 1989, the Series II of the VN Commodore was released with the EV6 engine. Some of the modifications to the engine included new cast exhaust manifold, new camshaft sprocket profile and timing chain and revised throttle uptake. The automatic transmission was also recalibrated to be a suitable match for the new torque characteristics for these engines.

The power output of the 3.8 litre EFI V6 engine was 127 kW, while the more powerful V8 engines were the show-piece of this range.

The 5.0 litre EFI V8 engine put out 165 kW of power, while the 5.0 litre SV5000 V8 was capable of 200 kW. However it was the powerful 5.0 litre SS Group A V8 engine that was capable of putting out 215 kW of power.

Specification Levels

The VN Commodore was available in the following specification levels:
- Commodore
- Berlina
- BT1 Police Pack
- Calais
- Executive
- Formula Bodykit
- S
- SS