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ABOUT THE VC COMMODORE
In March 1980, the VC Commodore was released. The model line-up was basically as before, the exception being the base model was now badged the Commodore L. Externally the VC series was distinguished from the previous VB by re-locating the Holden and lion badge to the centre of the new styled grille, black surround trim added to sedan tail-lights and model badging set into the side rubbing strips on the leading edge of both front doors.
There was also some modifications made to the suspension that resulted in improved ride, handling and durability. The big news for this series was the introduction of GM-H’s new Blue motors, officially tagged XT5 Improved Performance engines. The Blue 6-cylinder and V8 engines replaced the long running Red motors used in VB and earlier Holdens. The basic Red motor design dated back to the 1963 EH series. The new 6-cylinder engines received a 12-port head, new manifolding, 2-barrel automatic choke carburettor and breakerless electronic highenergy ignition (HE!).
The 4.2-litre V8 was now fitted with a Rochester Quadrajet carburettor, similar to the 5.0 -litre V8. Major improvements were achieved in performance, drivability and economy across the board. The model range was broadened midyear by introducing 4-cylinder variants of L and SL sedans and wagons. The new engine was GM-H’s locally developed unit, the Phase II version of the 1.9-litre Starfire Four, initially seen midway through the UC series Sunbird. The 1.9-litre engine was painted the same blue as the 6-cylinder and V8 engine range. 4-cylinder Commodore variants were easily identified by smaller 13″ diameter road wheels and appropriate wheel trims.
The Commodore VC SL/E was available with a new Shadowtone exterior colour scheme. This was a dark over light, two-tone paint layout, using the waist high crease along the doors and guards as the dividing line. The Shadowtone Pack also added power windows, central locking, cruise control, rear speakers and rear seat head restraints to the standard SL/E equipment list. The range-topping 5.0-litre Shadowtone also gained a dual exhaust system and tachometer. The number of Option Packs were increased. Most of them now known by their 3-digit code, rather than by name.
Performance options to date had been limited to the stock 5.0-litre V8 and M21 4-speed manual combination, a very strong performer in its own right. In mid-1980 the late Peter Brock’s newly formed Holden Dealer Team (HDT) organisation released its HDT Commodore model. Essentially an SL/E, the HDT model featured: front and rear spoilers, wheelarch flares, bold body striping, identifying decals and colour coordinated bumpers. Stylish 15 x 7 German Irmscher alloy wheels, Uniroyal Wildcat ER60H15 steel belted radials and upgraded suspension with Bilstein dampers gave the car superb handling, yet still retained good quality ride levels. HDT upgrades to the engine included L34 inlet and exhaust valves, improved cylinder head porting, revised inlet manifold, larger air cleaner with cold-air intake, high-volume fuel pump, dual exhaust and improved hot-fuel handling with 3/8-inch diameter lines. The manual transmission was Holden’s M21 close-ratio Aussie 4-speed unit, mated to a lightened flywheel and up rated clutch. The automatic version had GM’s Turbo-Hydramatic 350 transmission. Each car had an individually numbered Momo steering wheel with Peter Brock’s signature and HDT/Commodore nameplate on the glovebox. Five hundred HDT models were produced.
Although the VC series was on sale for one month less than VB, 25 per cent more units were sold