1984 Holden Berlina VK 1.9 4 cylinder starfire from Australia and New Zealand
Heavy, solid, comfortable, underpowered work horse with marginal reliability
Fibrous timing cog stripped its teeth stranding the car. Cheap to fix with alloy replacement from a wrecker. (common problem)
Tie rod ends and one rack end worn out. Tie rod seized on and was very difficult to get off.
Speedometer started reading 150km/h whilst doing 20km/h.
Vacuum operated heater controlls gave up.
Water pump started leaking.
Radiator has blown twice seriously overheating the engine. (but still has perfect compression)
Reverse light covers fell off.
Headlight switch melted.
Drivers and rear passengers seat belts stopped inertia locking, had to replace.
It now throws out of second gear when slowing down.
Brake light switch failed.
Park lights stopped working.
Electric boot release only works some of the time.
Starter motor gave intermittent problems starting, but surprisingly fixed it self.
Automatic choke linkage on the carburettor fell off.
And of course points and spark plugs.
Note: the engine was reconditioned at 100 000kms.
Bad points: Well it actually takes quite a bit to kill this car. If you buy this car you need to be a bit of a "do it yourselfer" as it's an easy car to work on mechanically, but small problems keep poping up occasionally.
Even better, don't buy this car.
The engine is far to weak for a car this heavy.
It's okay on fuel if you don't push it hard, but I always push it hard and then it can use a lot of fuel.
Admittedly I have given this car a reasonably tough life.
Good points: Even though the engine has been seriously overheated the compression is perfect on all cylinders and oil pressure is good, so the motor is probably good for another 100000kms.
Very comfortable seats make it nice for long distances.
The handling reminds me of the ocean, which can be soothing.
The brakes aren't too bad.
It's very strong! and can be driven quite far off road where yuppies are getting stuck in their four wheel drives.
The gear box with its strange reverse next to first layout is quite nice to use and easy to flick through the gears.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th February, 2005
22nd Mar 2005, 00:56
Oh and I forgot to mention the replacement of both rear mufflers that had rusted through. They were easy to replace though as there is heaps of room under there and you can replace them with pretty much anything.
30th Mar 2005, 18:53
Since when does the VK Commodore used the Starfire engine?
4th Feb 2008, 21:35
I Have to agree, the starfire engine was dropped after the VH model, unless you are living in NZ (where I think it may have been available for a short time).