VH Commodore SS: The Cop Car that won Bathurst

27 May 2014
This spectacular shot of HDT’s 1983 Bathurst-winning VH SS hammering through The Dipper on two wheels really captures the raw excitement of the late Group C era. These cars looked so tough yet never strayed too far from the road cars on which they were based. And as you can see, their fat race tyres were generating plenty of lateral grip.

“It’s a police car without a siren!” was how Peter Brock described his new VH Commodore SS race car to the press when it was under construction in June 1982. What may have seemed a flippant one-liner in Auto Action was in fact a succinct and accurate summation of how a no-frills road car had served as the starting point for an HDT race car that would win two Bathurst 1000s.

Released in September 1982, the VH SS combined the two best elements of Holden’s V8 police pursuit special – high power with low weight. The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) approved it as the production car basis for Holden’s new race car.

This was a crucial breakthrough for Brock, after enduring a long and bitter battle with CAMS from 1980 to 1982 in seeking approval to race with the big-valve L34-type heads fitted to his road going HDT Commodores.

The creation of the VH SS road car by GM-H, primarily to serve as the springboard for HDT’s competition cars and high performance road cars, shows how strong the ties were between The General and HDT in those days.

Consecutive Bathurst 1000 victories in 1982 and 1983 owed as much to HDT’s superior race craft as they did to the VH SS road car on which the winning car was based – and which HDT helped to develop.

In 1980 the V8 Torana hatchbacks and Falcon hardtops of the 1970s were replaced with the sharper edged, more futuristic styling of the new VB Commodore and XD Falcon sedans. Brock easily won his third national touring car title in the new Holden, but life got a whole lot tougher for HDT after that. Image: Chevron Publishing

 

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