1978 VB Holden Commodore

VB Commodore

The VB Commodore’s release represented the latest world concept in vehicle downsizing at the time, replacing the then popular Holden HZ range. There was global “oil” shortage at the time and GM-H stole the market place with this more fuel efficient, compact design. This was the first Commodore of the highly successfully Holden Commodore range and is the grand-daddy of them all.

Top of the line was the Commodore SL/E, fitted with the 253 4.2 litre V8 engine and Tri-Matic transmission as standard. In addition to the SL’s list of features, the SL/E had a blacked out grille, headlight wiper/washers, extended rear bumpers, 15-inch alloy wheels, black door frames and tail panel, chrome exhaust, velour trim and cut pile carpet, reading lights, tachometer, burr walnut dash, four wheel disc brakes, power steering, air conditioning and a Eurovox stereo radio cassette player with electric aerial.


VB Commodore SL/E

VB Commodore SL/E

Probably the most popular model in the VB Commodore lineup was the “SL”, fitted with the 3.3 litre and Tri-Matic auto as standard.

VB Commodore...the beginning

VB Commodore...the beginning

The first Commodore’s high levels of comfort, generous standard equipment and excellent performance and handling capabilities brought a new level of sophistication to the market, earning it top-selling status and the 1978 Wheels Car of the Year Award.

VB Commodore Wagon

VB Commodore Wagon


VB Commodore sedans and station wagons combined the best available international technology of a GM “world car” design with Australian developed powertrain, steering, suspension, body strengthening and dust sealing. In additionto the base model there was SL and SL/E derivates. Engine choice was 2.85 litre six cylinder, 3.3 litre six cylinder, 4.2 litre V8 and 5.0 litre V8.



VB Commodore

1978 – 1980

Engine: 6 cyl. & V8

Capacity: 2.85/3.3 ltr. 6; 4.2/5.0 ltr. V8

Power: 101kW 202 & 179kW 308



Base price when new : $6,513.

Total built: 95,906


7 Responses to “1978 VB Holden Commodore”

  1. Tony says:

    im looking at a 1978 VB SLE 308 turbo 400 one with the lot how many 308 VB SLE came out . Is this a rare one one owner a bit rough but its all there.

  2. peter says:

    I have a yellow vb sl/e 5.0 in mint condition, how many yellow 5.0 were made

  3. Deb evans says:

    I’m looking for a paint colour availability for my VB Commodore which desperately needs a re duco… Malachite Green 567-30853 / 2c002-D… I simply can’t find a supplier and would appreciate if you have any knowledge of where I may purchase this classic original colour… I’m based in Tweed Heads South. Thanking you in advance. Debs

  4. professional Builders says:

    I understand what you mean. It is a amazing webblog.

  5. Karl Froehlich says:

    Does GMH have or kept records on the build of the 78 79 Commodores?
    ie Engine numbers, and tags etc and if there were any specials assembled for executives to use as a test vehicle to asses for HDT warranty purposes.
    If any such records are available, where would I be able to find them?

  6. Bernartd Duke says:

    I worked in analysis and product planning roles at Holdens druing the 70’s and 80’s and spec’d the TX Gemini and the VB Commodore etc. Re yellow 5.0l, I am surprised there were any. Re other inquiries – Holden production and sales volumes are readlly available in aggregate form and doubt if detailed info going back a long way would still be available. Norm Darwin has wriiten books on Hoden’s history and some info might be sourced from these – or try to contact him direct. Re paint inquiry, surely there is a paint code somewhere on the car? Otherwise colour spoecialists will match your coplour, I am sure. Exec usually only drove productuion vehicles, but some in Engineering would, undoubtedly, have driven lots of “interesting” stuff. HDT warranty baffles me – that would be their concern I would guess. Maybe some test work was done for them. Funny how the side panel here does not list the VL commodore – best Holden ever I reckon. I was on the VL drive-train selection cttee – very interesting outcomes. BTW – the manual turbo version went like the clappers – the auto was more sedate.

  7. Bernartd Duke says:

    BTW – the base Commodore was by far the biggest selling model, fleet being a big component, with the SL and then SL/E next. Did you know that several Mecedes cars were traded on the SL/E and even a Rolls Royce I believe. We stacked the build of SL/E’s in the initial runs, but could have sold any number, in the first 6 months at least. Then the energy crisis rceeded but that’s another story.

Leave a Reply