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The Holden VH Commodore, an evolution of the previous Holden Commodore VC model, was released in October 1981. The frontal appearance was mildly facelifted with a new horizontal-slat grille and new lighting components designed to give a lower, wider look, and for interest of aerodynamics. It continued to be available as sedan and station wagon, with new tail light clusters utilized on sedan models.

The engines were carried over but revisions were made to the 1.9 L and 2.85 L engines to improve fuel economy. Gains of 12.5% and 14% respectively were made to the city cycle fuel economy figures.

Mechanical specifications were as before, except for an additional 5-speed manual transmission which was an option only (due to the limits of the transmission-box) on the 1.9 L 4-cylinder and 2.85 L straight six versions.

At the same time a reshuffle was made to the range - SL was now the base model and SL/X was introduced as the mid-range car, with SL/E remaining the top-of-the-line sedan. The SL/E also came available with optional cruise control and a trip computer. The trip computer measured average speed and fuel consumption. Wagons were available in SL and SL/X variants.

In 1982 the "SS" sports model was released, a model that has been a Commodore mainstay ever since. The abbreviation stands for "Sports Sedan". Offered with Holden's 4.2 L V8 as standard, three up-spec versions of SS, known as 'Group One', 'Group Two' and 'Group Three' ( the latter also featuring the Holden 5.0 L V8) were produced by the late Peter Brock's HDT facility. The SS sedans were initially exclusively Maranello Red in color, but were later also made available in Alabaster White. To this day, Brock modified VH SS Commodores are considered highly sought after.

In 1983 an 'Executive' pack of the base Commodore was introduced, primarily directed to fleet buyers. These cars featured automatic transmission and air-conditioning as part of a Commodore SL package, but had no distinguishable external identification badges. Special editions of Commodore released around Christmas 1981, 1982 and 1983 were badged 'Vacationer'.

With the effects of the 1979 energy crisis ending, buyers gravitated towards the larger Ford Falcon rival, rather than the mid-size Commodore. Thus for the first time, the Holden Commodore lost its position as Australia's best-selling car.

Production of this model ceased at the beginning of 1984, to be replaced by the much further facelifted Holden VK Commodore.

Adeyer Sportif

Adeyer Sportif is a VH Commodore coupe. There were only 11 Adeyer Sportifs made in 1984. Using VH SL/E 4.2-litre Commodores, a company called Dominion and International Automobiles pulled them apart and remade the four-door sedan into a two-door coupe. This they did by re-welding the body shells to accommodate the elongated doors and rear quarters that were originally used on the Opel Rekords. Priced from $27,300 (manual) and $28,200 (auto) back in 1984.

The interiors were fitted with deep pile carpets, leather or fabric Recaro front bucket seats and matching material for the doors and panels. They also used real wood trim along the doors and lower dash. The roof and windscreen pillars were covered with soft dark grey felt.

The black-and-gold cars were fitted with front spoilers, colour keyed slatted grilles, steel-reinforced fibreglass bumpers front and rear, rear deck spoilers, rear window louvres, embossed panels between the tail lights, tinted windows, ROH 6x14 alloy wheels with Goodyear CR70 H14 tyres and Adeyer nameplates. Twin halogen headlights, twin exhausts, power steering, Pioneer stereo, 4-wheel disc brakes and air conditioning were also fitted on the initial and only group of VH Sportifs to be built.

DIA bought a used 1981 four cylinder VH Commodore and transformed this with imported Opel panels and artistry, and this prototype was then used to gain ADR certification. Village Motors of Redcliffe, Brisbane, GMH dealers and marketers of the first Adeyer Classic, and regional distributors for Adeyer, saw the prototype Sportif and immediately ordered the last of the 4.2 liter VH Commodores to be built on the GMH assembly line. After an initial delay, created by Village Motors that all the cars had to be painted black, the batch of 11 was delivered to the DIA workshops in December 1983.

Wheels, July 1984