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When the very rst Commodore was rolled o the production line back in 1978 it caused a huge stir in the Australian car market. Here was a large-ish Euro-styled car that promised – and delivered – better handling, steering, suspension and all-round performance than the previous Holden big car offerings. It was an overnight sensation and became the late 20th century’s iconic Aussie car. Now, in its nal guise the Commodore will inherit a nostalgic value, with the early versions such as this VH owned by Andrew Drain, becoming even more valuable as a piece of Australian car history.
START YOUR ENGINES
MRVH, as it’s plated, has had a whole lot of work done to its motor to enhance all aspects of its performance. For starters, there’s a massive 6.8-litre Chevy LS3 418 stroker in the custom smoothed bay, tted with ‘diamond’ pistons, an OTR cold air intake, Higgins ported heads, double valve springs and much more. e suspension has also been replaced with K-Sport adjustable coilovers and the exhaust has been tted with CAE extractors and Magna Flow mufflers.
Further performance and functional modifications are rather extensive, with some of the highlights being the custom fuel tank, custom air conditioning system, a keyless entry system, electric window and central locking install, custom oil cooler mount and setup, Harrop True Track
‘di ’ centre, 3.9:1 di gears, chrome door strikers, and much more.
e exterior is better than if the car had just been rolled o the production line (minus the badges and plus a nicely-subtle bonnet scoop). It’s been resprayed in Cherry Black paint and tted with SLE (the top model) chrome trim accents and bumper extensions while the door handles are custom smoothed. Along with the 19-inch VE Red Line SS wheels and low rubber, this car looks pristine. Kudos to Andrew and Dave Ho man from Eastside Kustoms!
Stepping into the interior both takes you back in time and into the future simultaneously. What we mean by that is that hints of the original VH’s interior can be spotted even though the entire thing has been customised and rebuilt. So a leather VY Commodore dash has been integrated into the vehicle as have custom rear seats and retro- tted Coulsen leather front seats. Extensive use of black leather throughout the interior including the door trims and entire dash – the black suede roof, black carpet and the contrasting silver dress accents – provides an air of class.
A duo of Autometer gauges has been placed on a small black pod on the dash above the centre console while just below the air conditioning vents three more gauges are mounted almost ush. e gauges’ silver surrounds have been mirrored into the instrument cluster’s speedo, rev-counter and other gauges. Custom billet steering wheel and Hurst gear stick have been installed.
e interior and exterior’s outstanding work is complemented with equally-wise choices in the entertainment system installation. Here things started with a substantial investment in sound deadening both with ‘reso’ matt and thicker carpet lining. Custom pods and parcel shelf were designed to house speakers and the subwoofer with the latter being tted in a custom enclosure. e boot has been left to its practical use and relined with thicker carpet and underlay while the battery has been moved and mounted below where the spare tyre lives.
e audio visual system is authoratively headed by an Alpine IVA-W520E multimedia head unit which has been integrated into the lower dash/centre console. Signal then follows on to a Vibe Audio 4-channel ampli er which drives the front Fusion 6-inch splits which are tted on custom door pods while the rear Fusion 6-inch splits are mounted on the parcel shelf. Both speaker locations have been utilised with the tweeter coaxially-mounted. e centre of the parcel shelf houses the Fusion 10-inch subwoofer which itself is powered via a Vibe Audio monobloc ampli er.
Two Option Audio 7-inch LCD screens have been mounted into Eastside Kustom’s customdesigned Coulsen headrests. e auto SLE lights have been converted to LEDs while further LEDs have been installed for ambience within the interior.
“THE EXTERIOR IS BETTER THAN IF THE CAR HAD JUST BEEN ROLLED OFF THE PRODUCTION LINE...”
e venerable Commodore has, sadly, reached its due-by date with the current version being the last Mohican when the factory shuts its doors in 2016. However, Andrew Drain’s VH is one for the ages… it has been excellently customised with the latest performance and audio visual tech. In doing so, Andrew and the lads at Eastside Kustoms have also wisely managed to maintain the integrity of the original car.
If we had to ever recall an example of 1980s Commodore excellence, this would surely be one of the primary examples. Classic!