1989 Holden Commodore S Pack 3.8 V6 EFI from Australia and New Zealand


Bad Quality, Great Performance


Mis-aligned and rattling drive shaft.

Fractured Muffler.

Constant Powersteering leak.

Timing chain and gears recked.

Button Details have worn off.

Interior light is covered by brown plastic hanging on by a bolt.

Steering wheel well worn.

General Comments:

The VN S is a very sparsely equipped car. Everything from the windows to the door locks is manual controlled.

The build quality of the vehicle is shocking to say the least. The engine is very grumbly and can be quite loud, sound insulation is quite poor. The steering wheel rattles, so does the centre console. The kick panel hiding the fuses is liable to drop due to its plastic clip design. Almost everything is plastic and looks extremely cheap.

The stock sound system is pathetic. Turning the volume knob half way will cause distortion.

I have to constantly refill the power steering fluid because it just leaks so frequently. The power-steering sounds like a squeaking ship as it turns. The engine is also liable to shut down if you full-lock the wheel.

I found this car was very expensive to keep due to the constant malfunctions. This car is hardly worth selling since it has a very low market value.

I do find this car starts first time every time, even in the cold.

This car however is a very sporty vehicle with smooth looks and a powerful engine. I usually keep the transmission in D instead of the suggested Over-drive position for better fuel economy. I average about 15L/100km.

The performance of this machine is stunning in the dry, but extreme caution should be taken in slippery conditions. The rear is very rigid and will whip out easily.

This car is big, good-looking and powerful, but also very primitive. The car is cheap to obtain, but also to sell. Prospective buyers should also not that this car is the most stolen vehicle in Victoria. Extreme care should be exercised in finding a location to park the vehicle. I installed an alarm system myself and was shocked at the ease I could possibly hot-wire the ignition to start the vehicle.

If your looking for economy and build quality you should instead for a Toyota otherwise this car will meet a sensible young driver's needs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2005

2nd Aug 2010, 06:12

I am the original poster of this review for the 1989 Commodore S Pack. It's been 5 years since I last did the review and this car has taken me through university.

It's done over 215,000 km now which has been mostly long distance road trips around Victoria. I've taken this car to The Grampians, Lakes Entrance, Mt. Bulla, Lake Mountain, Wilson's Prom, The Great Ocean road and some other memorable places.

Looking back on my original review, I would say I was very harsh on the car. This is my first car and I just love it because it's tied in with all my great memories from the road trips.

The car has been very reliable on road trips and all of the problems I've had were electrical. The high-beam relay shorted on the way to Mt. Bulla and a head lamp blew on the way back from Lake mountain.

Day to day, there have been some failures such as;

- Engine Computer failed $350.

- New brake pads and brake discs re-machined $200.

- New rear muffler $150.

- Water pump bearing seized.

- A/C pulley bearing seized (I circumvented that by installing a drive belt that by-passes the A/C) $30.

- Windscreen wiper snapped $5.

1989 Holden Commodore VN 3.8 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Air con regassed at 250,000.

Transmission crossmember snapped on the freeway, caused the transmission to drop about 3 inches. The engine/transmission dangled off the engine mounts and caused the car to shake violently as stopped the car. Snapped the A/C lines, powersteering lines and caused a leaky transmission.

General Comments:

Aside from the slight drama I encountered on the freeway, the commodore has been an excellent car.

It is an ex-cop car, fitted with FE2 suspension and bigger/wider wheels.

It is fitted with a pod-filter which I have found to be the easiest, cheapest and most cost effective performance modification. It gives the car so much more grunt, which can be felt at about half throttle or more.

Normally the car drives around with minimal throttle, and takes about 12 litres for 100km. The engine has so much torque and response. At full throttle the car gets up and moves it's ass really good. It gets from 0-60 km/h in 1st gear, then 60-110 km/h in 2nd gear... all in about 7 seconds flat with the pod filter.

A good car to thrash and drag rice-boxes with. Takes heaps of fuel when you push it though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2005

19th Aug 2006, 01:08

My Commodore did the same with the cross member, luckily I was only doing roughly 60 kph and the car made a huge bang sound, came to a slow stop and then when trying to drive it back to a friends house for repair it kept making loud banging noises, thought it was going to explode!! But that was due to a lazy mechanic who didn't tighten the bolts properly.

18th Nov 2006, 02:51

Does it make much of ma difference putting on a pod I have a normal air filter and thinking of putting one on. The people who had the car before me cut a hole through the bottom of the air cleaner box for air flow. apparently it is common that vn's don't have good enough air flow.