1990 Holden Commodore VN Executive Sedan 3.8 Litre V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Adequate, tough as nails, old but a known quantity


Nothing yet. For a high km 1990 model it certainly is a bit rough around the edges, but feels like the VN Commodores I remember driving as fleet cars back in the late 1980's and early 1990's. "Clunk" when shifting from shifting from neutral to drive or reverse. Shudder under acceleration as usual for early Commodores.

General Comments:

Bonus - has LPG conversion and runs smoother (especially at idle) on LPG than on petrol. Not so bonus - tatty plastic interior, rattles and squeaks. I suppose it is typical of a 19 year old car though. Plenty of power and somewhat heavy power steering. I would not like to "push it" too hard through corners. Front suspension needs alignment of course.

Now if I installed the cat in the car I wonder would the squeaks be found and eliminated?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 14th June, 2009

29th Aug 2011, 07:38

Clunk going in and out of gear can be the torque converter bolts coming loose, and a shudder can be the gearbox cross bar mounting bolts loose or missing.

12th Nov 2011, 02:55

The "Clunk" when shifting from shifting from neutral to drive or reverse is more than likely the drive shaft centre bearing assembly. It's either this bad design from Holden, or the long, whippy single piece tailshaft from Ford, which restricted the top speed (regardless of engine size, the tailshaft needed balancing) of their models of that era to just a bit over 205km/h, compared to 240 in the V8 powered VN Commodores.

So, top end versus ongoing maintenance costs. How often does the average driver max out their cars' top speed? I'm a Holden bloke, but Ford wins this one.

Shudder under acceleration with the Buick V6 can be the engine mounts, or as stated by another commentator, transmission mounts.

27th Mar 2012, 10:56

My VN used to shudder when I accelerated if I left it in overdrive. I panicked the first time I did it, but as long as you put it into overdrive after you hit 100, she was fine; never shuddered again.

Mine was an awesome car. Wish I had never sold her.

1990 Holden Commodore S 3.8 V6 Buick from Australia and New Zealand


For the price, EXCELLENT


When I bought it, the coil pack had an occasional fault, which would affect economy, power and idle smoothness, and would cause the engine light to come on. Got another one for $20 from a wreck, all good now.

Just had it serviced and have found a few minor problems;

Rear shocks

Back tires

Diff leak (needs new filler plug)

Rear seal on the trans is leaking

Slight vibration between 80-90km/h

Heater tap is leaking.

Very little problems for a 20 year old car :)

General Comments:

So far I am very happy with this purchase. I paid $2300 for it about 3 months ago. Since getting my license this is my first car.

How it drives: Plenty of power even from the lower revs, and happily revs all the way to redline, which sounds great with my 2.5inch cat back exhaust.

Great for suburban driving and cruising on the highway. At around 55ks it is already in overdrive so it revs really low when cruising, and once you are over 85ks an hour, the lock up torque converter causes the revs to drop even more, and when doing 100ks an hour it revs at about 1850rpm. Put you foot down and it will happily drop back to second so you can fly past the grannies LOL. Also when cruising at any speed, it is quiet and very smooth, especially with the cruise control.

Handling: I have the S pack version that has the lower/stiffer sports suspension, which makes it feel like it's on rails around corners. Taking a corner at 60ks an our is no worries in this car. In the wet though the grip at the rear wheels is very bad and spinning the rear wheels is hard not to do. Braking is also bad. It can easily get up to speed, but wiping it off can be a bit nerve racking at times, but you do get used to it.

Economy: For an old, heavy V6 it is surprisingly good if driven nicely. On the open road it is excellent with up to 10lt per 100ks.

In conclusion, if you can get one in good condition, they are a good, cheap performance/passenger car with spare parts readily available.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th April, 2009