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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.

TECH FU­SION

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...”

CON­CLU­SION

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!

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