Unique Cars - - NEWS -

ONE OF THE two known ex-Holden de­vel­op­ment pro­to­type VN Holden Com­modore SS Group As is to be re­stored by its NSW-based owner. Tagged as a ‘Pi­lot’ car, it was used ex­ten­sively for test­ing at the Holden Prov­ing Ground and on pub­lic roads. Af­ter its stint as a de­vel­op­ment ve­hi­cle, it es­caped scrap­ping – the usual fate for de­vel­op­ment cars – and had a com­pe­ti­tion-grade safety cage in­stalled. It took on a new role as a dis­play and pro­mo­tional ve­hi­cle for ac­tiv­i­ties – such as char­ity track days – in­clud­ing time with Peter Brock at the wheel.

Over the years the car was up­dated to VP and then VR styling, in­volv­ing a change to the more shapely VR rear quar­ter-pan­els. It car­ries most of its spe­cial Group A driv­e­line in­clud­ing the orig­i­nal-num­ber, four-bolt mains en­gine, ZF six-speed man­ual gear­box, spe­cial­build, nar­row-track BTR rear axle un­der the Group A shell with its wider rear wheel-arches and 330mm and 290mm four-wheel ven­ti­lated PBR disc brakes. It also has its orig­i­nal Calais-spec dash and rem­nants of its Group A in­te­rior trim.

It is fit­ted with a tow­bar and Holden’s op­tional heav y-duty rear quar­ter-panel brac­ing. Tow­bar? When de­vel­op­ing new mod­els, Holden engi­neers used a dyno trailer, with an in­de­pen­dent brak­ing sys­tem, to load-up en­gines and driv­e­lines dur­ing test­ing.

The Group A spec­i­fi­ca­tion twin-throt­tle in­take man­i­fold has been re­placed by a stan­dard road-spec sin­glethrot­tle man­i­fold. The spe­cial stub-type ex­haust ex­trac­tors re­main, as does the cor­rect­codes Holden spec­i­fi­ca­tion plate and yel­low PI­LOT plate that re­placed the ADR com­pli­ance plate un­der the bon­net of many en­gi­neer­ing test cars.

The new owner has all the com­po­nents – and he has bought a panel-donor VN Com­modore – to re­store this im­por­tant piece of Aussie mo­tor­ing his­tory. Plans are to ini­tially re­turn it to its ear­ly90s HRT/Tele­com guise, with a long-term idea to re­turn it to road-go­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tion in the fu­ture. Glen­nTor­rens

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