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Farewell Commodore: Top five wagons

By Dave Carey | Photos: SM archives, 16 Dec 2019 Features

Farewell Commodore: Top five wagons

Looking back on some of our favourite Commodore longroofs

THE venerable Commodore wagon has had a storied career. It’s been a custard-stained family hauler, a mile-munching rep-mobile, an overloaded work truck and a stickered-up promo rig. It’s not always been the fastest or the most stylish, but we still have plenty of love for the longroof.

Like its sedan brother, the first-gen Commo wagon (released in July 1979) shared styling with its Opel donor, before diverging significantly from its European roots for the VN-VS. The wagon gained extreme booty for the VT-VZ range, before retiring as a lithe and likeable Sportwagon across VE and VF. Here are some of our favourites.

Read next: Top five Commodore sleepers



VH Vacationer wagon

We couldn’t find a decent VH Vacationer 4.2,  but here is Benny Leat's 355 stroker-powered VH sleeper 

HOLDEN enjoyed sharing Christmas-holiday cheer by launching annual VH Vacationer specials. With a six-cylinder as standard, the Vacationer gained air conditioning, corduroy trim, height-adjustable driver’s seat, and a roof rack on the wagon. At least a few escaped the factory with the 4.2-litre replacing the old ‘blue’ six, giving the model some extra neddies for the holiday road. There’s much Gen-X love for those 80s decals and Vacationer-exclusive cast-and-chromed centre caps. We’ll have ours in Pacific Blue, thanks.

Read next: LS1-powered VH Vacationer wagon sleeper



HDT VL Calais wagon

IT’S NO secret that Brocky’s Bertie Street laboratory of rapidity played things fast and loose. Stories of unofficial VH and VK-era HDT wagons are credible; as long as you had the coin, specifications were finalised over a dart and a handshake. Although HDT converted Berlina wagons to Calais-spec before Holden built its own, it took more options for the firm to fit a build plate. Bodykits, wheels and Bilsteins helped, with one example receiving a 5.6-litre stroker kit.

Read next: Holden's hi-po wagons - five decades of fast family fun



Vn wagon

HSV’s first link in the wagon train was the 180kW, 5.0-litre VN Commodore SV LE. It was an exclusive variant, with a mere 80 wagons built between late 1989 and early 1990. But with the VP Sport Wagon following a couple of years later, the SV LE begat a long run of niche haulers that could really hammer. The VR ClubSport, VT and even VX Senator Signature series were built in limited numbers, before the ClubSport Tourer became a regular production option across VE and VF.



HSV Avalanche

NOTHING said excess like the Avalanche. It weighed two tonnes, used all the fuel and had a face like Darth Vader, but the 5.7-litre AWD wagon could slay the quarter in a high 14, regardless of the surface. Be it on asphalt, dirt, probably even Teflon, HSV’s Adventra-based estate would accelerate unabated. It wasn’t the best HSV, nor was it the best Holden wagon, but for sheer audacity of the concept, it makes the list.

Read next: Nitrous LS-powered 2008 Holden VE SS-v wagon - AGIT8



hsv wagon

TAKE one Holden wagon, cover it in plastic bits (including a cow-catching front bar), install large brakes and 400kW of blown LSA power, then set about catching those cows in under 13 seconds per quarter-mile. Eighty-five grand wasn’t cheap for a Commodore, but to compete you’d be spending a much heftier sum on a stern German superwagen. With a chassis designed and built locally and its GM heart beating strong, it was the ultimate Aussie family truckster.


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