End of the road for Commodore

by Andy Bryenton

We grew up together, went to school together, ended up being flatmates for a while in those university days; no surprise, as we both came into this world in 1978. That’s where the similarities between this writer and the Holden Commodore end, however. Nevertheless, I’m only one of the millions who are sad to see it disappear.

Holden’s flagship sedan hit the roads as the oil crisis gave way to the decade of excess. However, it was lighter and therefore more economical than its rivals, or its HQ predecessor.

New blue series engines came in with the upgrade to the VC Commodore in 1980, with the SS badge returning the year after, and the third-generation VH seeing the debut of Peter Brock’s HDT group one, two and three high-performance packages.

Through to the VK and VL generations, motor racing legends were built and consolidated. Many a V8 Commodore was adorned with the stickers and paint jobs of racing icons from the tarmac of Bathurst.

Commodores took many of us to school and many more on holiday. Big Commodore wagons were the family hauliers of the day, before the advent of the SUV and the people mover. The shape of the distinctive VR and VS car’s noses, especially in white, can still cause a pang of worry in drivers of a certain age, who have developed pattern recognition in their brains that identifies them as traffic cops. It all came to an end with the launch of the ZB Commodore just a couple of years ago, with construction moving away from Australia.

Now comes the news that the Commodore badge is history, with Holden confirming that both their big sedan and the Astra will be discontinued in 2020. That will leave Holden in a position akin to Nissan, with nothing on offer but SUVs and utes, barring hardcore sports cars. For Holden, this will mean the powerful new mid-engined Corvette.

Arch-rivals Ford, who axed the Falcon badge two years ago, has moved into a different position.

With a strong showing for their Fiesta compact, Focus hatch and Focus RS hot hatch, Mustang front-engined sports car and Mondeo sedan and wagon combo. Is the sedan really dead and gone, considering the continuing popularity of powerful European four doors?

Only time will tell. Time will be on the side of Commodore collectors, who now own a piece of history.