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Holden VC HDT Commodore in Palais White
The 1970s saw the Muscle Car market explode in Australia. With nameplates like the Monaro, GTHO and A9X Torana, motoring enthusiasts were spoilt for choice in a golden era of Australian car manufacturing. By the time the 80s rolled around, this boom had subsided somewhat due in part to the ‘Supercar Scare’ and changing economic conditions which left a bit of a gap in the market for the traditional Muscle Car which were built on the back of the ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ mentality.
The change in the market and approach from the manufacturers was clear after Holden pulled its funding from motorsport at the end of the 1979 season and as a result of this, Peter Brock purchased the Holden Dealer Team. In order to fund the racing team, Brock’s team along with a network of Holden Dealers conceived a plan where modified road cars would be designed and built by Brock and HDT Special Vehicles were born.
The VC HDT was the first example of one of these cars being produced. With heavy mechanical modifications and exterior styling by design guru Leo Pruneau. To make the car appear similar to the Group C cars seen on the race track, the VC HDT both looked and drove significantly better than the stock standard Commodore from which it was based. The 4.2 litre V8 was upgraded to a 5.0 litre V8 and that, alongside a raft of other upgrades saw the performance improve significantly.
Reportedly 500 VC HDT’s were produced in a limited colour range of Palais White, Firethorn Red and Tuxedo Black. Each colour scheme also featured Red, White and Black side stripes (based on the colour scheme of Brock’s then Marlboro backed cars). The stripes added plenty of appeal and the finishing touch was the individual build number for each car being stamped into the Momo steering wheel. The VC HDT was a major success and filled a gap left in the Australian Muscle Car market by providing an upgraded performance version of Holden’s flagship Commodore. It certainly didn’t hurt that the 80’s saw Brock dominate much of the decade on the track winning multiple Bathurst 1000 crowns and firmly cementing himself as not only a Holden hero but the King of the Mountain.