1981-84 Holden VH Commodore SL/E V8: Was Size Really the Issue?
- 27 May 2014
No mainstream factory paint option on a Holden equalled the impact of the VH Shadowtone since the similar two-tone combinations first appeared on the FJ. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time when the entire investment in the Commodore was being undermined by a four cylinder model that didn’t work.
At the October 1981 launch of the VH Commodore, the original VB/VC series was facing a serious identity crisis. Was it a half-size bigger four cylinder family car with cut above looks and dynamics ruined by a sub-standard engine? Or a half-size smaller six cylinder family car with cut above looks and dynamics undermined by an underpar engine? The stand apart VH Commodore SL/E V8 Shadowtone, and its later SS stablemate, were critical in cutting through this confusion and re-positioning future Commodores as a premium and emotional choice.
As a standalone model at the end of 1981, the VH Commodore was an inspired facelift that exploited what was already there for minimal cost at a time when Holden was revitalising its entire range at huge cost. However, it wasn’t long before a cheaper and more frugal Camira SL/E was offering similar presence which made the Shadowtone option more critical in flagging a VH SL/E owner’s much bigger spend.
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