1987 Holden Commodore VL 3.0 litre Nissan RB30 inline six from Australia and New Zealand


Best Drive line that I have ever seen in a holden, they can put up with years of full throttle abuse


Stuffed the auto trans at 240,000km.

Started running incredibly rich not long afterwards and was using around 15-20 liters of fuel per 100km, but I fixed that with self diagnostic and adjusting airflow meter.

Engine stops when it gets 1 line over its normal operating temperature and I have taken it into auto electricians everywhere and they can't find a problem.

New crank angle sensor, airflow meter, fuel filter, fuel pump relay and oxygen sensor put in 3 months ago, but engine still stops when it gets hot.

Always breaking exhaust manifold studs and I got pulled over by the cops because of the noise of the leaking exhaust.

Had to remove the whole Dash practically to get the original stereo out (was going to cost $200 to get it done by a pro).

General Comments:

The engines love to rev and it is virtually impossible to make them fly to bits. My car has almost done 300,000 km and it still dosen't use oil after having a thrashing for the last 6 or so years of its life.

Definitely the best in-line six that holden have ever put into one of their cars compared to the fundamentally floored Grey, Red, Blue and black series which after years of trying couldn't meet the EPA pollution Standards and were scrapped.

Auto Trans is weak, but the Tremec 5sp in the manual VL Commodore is based on the Ford Top loader Gearbox with an extra gear and is virtually bulletproof.

Car is a bit sluggish in standard form, but if you have a manual and you change the gears at the right time you can pull a fairly fast 0-100km/h time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th December, 2003

13th Mar 2007, 04:20

Can someone please tell me where I can find the tuning figures for the air flow meter on the 1987 VL Commodore Berlina?

1987 Holden Commodore VL 3.3 litre from Australia and New Zealand


Cheap, efficient and reliable


The windscreen wiper motor seized up on me about 3 weeks ago. My mechanic was unsure why this happened, but it was easily replaced.

I had owned this car for about a week when someone with a bull bar ran into me. This caused about $1200 worth of damage and was a real pain for me. Luckily parts were easy to come by.

Another problem which I hope to fix in the near future is the fact it is an automatic.

Manual versions of this car are through the roof and as such I could not afford one.

General Comments:

This car has been very reliable for me.

I have had no problems with it as of yet, even with the mileage.

It has a lot of power, even though it is not a turbo.

It is deceptively light, and so in the wet tends to slide very easily.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th September, 2003

1987 Holden Commodore VL Executive 3 litre Nissan RB30E from Australia and New Zealand


Practical, fun and a bargain


Car was OK mechanically, but rough when I bought it, so while nothing has gone wrong I've put in a fair bit of remedial work:

1. touched up exterior paint

2. advanced ignition and removed airflow meter screens

3. renewed Panhard rod bushes (HUGE improvement in handling)

4. cleaned up interior and removed lots of dash rattles.

The car has been extremely reliable, despite some astronomical mileage (on its second instrument panel, which shows 320,000km).

General Comments:

I bought it for A$2.5k purely because I needed transport quick after some Richard Cranium in an old Falcon rear-ended and wrote off my Alfa 33 TI.

Five months later I've still got it and look likely to hang onto it unless I find a VL Calais at the right price :-).

These cars are incredible value for money; I have never had so much fun/$ in a car (both driving and fiddling with it).

Good points:

Fabulous tough, smooth, free revving, powerful and reasonably economical engine, with great tuning potential.

4-speed auto gearbox mates nicely with it even though I normally don't like autos.

Interior room and equipment (Executive comes standard with power steer and a/c)

Looks (best looking C'dore ever?)

Parts available everywhere.

Plenty of knowledge around on improving handling, performance, brakes etc.

Good visibility.

Dead easy to work on.

Bad points:

Brakes don't give me much confidence even after bleeding.

Handling can still be a bit spooky on occasion; back off in the middle of a tight corner when you're going hard and you get snap roll-oversteer.

Ride isn't brilliant despite dodgy handling.

Executive interior drab and bargain-basement; Berlina and Calais much nicer.

Sum-up: think of it as a poor-man's Alfa sports sedan - you're buying an engine and getting the rest of the car for free :-)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th June, 2003