Click the link below to go directly to the Commodore VH Manual Information page.
About the VH Commodore
The VH Commodore was launched in September 1981. The previous VB and VC series had been heavily re-developed under the skin by GM-H, but retained virtually all original German outer sheet metal. The new VH however received Australian designed front guards, bonnet, grille, headlights and new louvre style sedan tail-lights, giving the car a squarer, more masculine appearance.
The same three trim levels were offered, with names changed again. The L model became SL, the middle trim level (previously SL), became SL/X. The SL/E nameplate remained unaltered.
A new, wider bumper strip was used front and rear on all cars, with badging on the front side extensions. Mechanical improvements for the VH included upgrades to the 1.9-litre 4 and 2.85-litre 6-cylinder engines. Pulsair air injection and ESS (Electronic Spark Selection) engine management were added to the 4-cylinder engine, improving performance, economy and driveability. Similar improvements were made to the 2.85-litre 6-cylinder unit by adding an air injection system with a belt driven pump. The 3.3 6-cylinder and both V8 engines carried over from VC were virtually unchanged.
For transmissions, the new Borg-Warner Type 007 5-speed manual gearbox was made available for 1.9 and 2.85-litre engines. The Tri-Matic replaced the Turbo-Hydramatic 350 as the option for the 5.0-litre V8 from November 1981. Other transmissions were carried over from VC, unaltered.
New interior colour schemes and trim designs were added. Instrumentation was given a fresh appearance with new graphics and yellow needles. A 7-function digital readout trip computer was optional for all variants. A low-fuel warning light and tachometer were standard for all V8 and SL/E models. All others had a vacuum gauge in lieu of the tacho. The now, almost annual, limited-edition Vacationer sedans and wagons were released for the 1981/82/83 Christmas holiday seasons. These three Vacationers were different in detail, each with its own option code.
Another limited-edition model was the Commodore SS released in September 1982. Initially only available in Maranello Red, it was later joined by a white version. It was fitted with model specific 14 x 6 Cheviot Quattro alloy wheels with colour matched grille, exterior door handles and bumpers. Badges, sills and window frames were finished in black. SS models were powered by the 4.2-litre V8 engine, mated to the M21 Aussie 4-speed gearbox. The 5.0-litre V8 was optional. Holden’s XV2 SS, formed the basis for HDT Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3, SS performance packages. VH Commodore SS took out the Bathurst 1000 motor race in 1982 and 1983, driven by the late Peter Brock.