IT POPPED up on one of the Face­book sa les pages I reg ularly haunt: It’s an At la ntis Blue VC Holden Com­modore SL/E. It looked to be a ll-t here and was quite rea­son­ably priced. Just three sub­urbs away, a poke and a prod un­der t he tar­pau­lin in t he seller’s back yard re­vea led a Com­modore that I thought could be eas­ily brought back to life.

It’s one of my favourite cars and prett y much my favourite colour. And even though my garage has enough ‘projects’ in it… How could I re­sist?

Towed home a few days later, I got stuck into t he old girl. Judg­ing by t he stun­ning con­di­tion of t he in­te­rior, I reckon t his poor old dame has been cher­ished for maybe 25 of her 35 years. But t hen, as wit h t he life cy­cle of many cars, a new young owner has stuf fed a set of low­ered springs and a blarey sports ex haust un­der­neath… And then, no

sur­prise, he crashed it.

The boot-lid and nose were dam­aged, a lthough not too badly. Wind­screen and tur­ret dam­age from a fa lling tree branch dur­ing a storm had sen­tenced the SL/E to a cou­ple of years in a back yard where the cock­roaches had moved in and many in­te­rior parts had ac­quired a feint green haze of mould. The day I in­spected it, t he front car­pets were un­der water. Yuk!

At home, a closer look a long the doors and rear quar­ters re­vea led a few mi­nor wib­bles and wob­bles… but noth­ing that would re­quire more than few week­ends’ worth of ef fort to f i x. There was some r ust, too, in t he usual V B-V L Com­modore traps of the panel be­low front and rear wind­screens and a few bub­bles in t he spare t y re well. No big deal.

Un­der t he bon­net is t he stan­dard 3.3-litre Holden blue si x-cylin­der. The dash shows just 57,000k m and lif t ing t he oil f iller cap showed an en­gine t hat is sludge-free in­side. One of the ideas I have is to (maybe) plonk in a later-model f uel in­jected Holden V8 and four-speed auto – both from a V N or later Com­modore – to cre­ate a ter­rif ic cruiser.

With no log books, an obv iously patchy past and t he fact it needs restora­tion, t his car will never be a true big-buck col­lec­tor­spec like an orig­i­nal books-and-con­di­tion time-warper. But t hat’s not go­ing to stop me restor­ing it to show­room-fresh con­di­tion to cre­ate a cruiser t hat any Aussie car nut would throw a thumbs-up at.

It’s sur v ived t his long so it deser ves to be prett y again !

01 A ute-load of bolton bits will make a big dif­fer­ence up front.

02Af­ter the 4.2-litre in VB SL/Es, stan­dard power for the VC SL/E was Holden’s then-new Blue 3.3-litre. I’m yet to de­cide if I want to keep it stan­dard or trans­plant a later-model V8

Apart from a few $100K HDTs I have had the plea­sure of wit­ness­ing, this is truly the great­est Com­modore in­te­rior I have seen… Once wiped clean, of course! 03

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