The VK Commodore represented the first major change
to the Commodore since the release of the VB
., but it didn't arrive until March 1984
- probably about 12 months later than it should have been launched - but it did have a number of big changes to try to make it more competitive with the Falcon.
The most noticeable difference was in the body. The cabin now had its glass area extended further to the rear in 'six-window' fashion (three windows on each side of the car). The styling at the front and rear was bolder than before and the dash area was completely redesigned. The latter wasn't a success as many owners considered that the VH's dash was more attractive and easier to read, but the more masculine lines of the VK's exterior met with almost universal approval.
Again, in keeping with the bolder image of the car, the smaller versions of each engine were dropped. That meant the 2.85-litre six and the 4.2-litre V8
were no more. The 5-speed manual became optional with the 3.3 engine. That engine could be had with fuel injection for greater efficiency. The automatic was still of rather ancient 3-speed design. Model names were changed - yet again - with the introduction of the VK.
The Commodore SL remained the same, but the SL/X became the Commodore Berlina and the SL/E became the Holden Calais (not Commodore Calais, even though the Calais shared all its important components with the Commodore). An even more powerful turbocharged version became optional a few months later.
Behind the Nissan six was either a 5-speed manual gearbox, or a sophisticated 4-speed automatic. Also missing from under the bonnet with the release of the VL was the Holden V8 engine; unlike the Holden six it was just resting and would be revived in October 1986 with a sophisticated fuel-injection system for greater power with no real loss in fuel economy.
Sporting an all new and more agressive look than the previous models, the additional side windows helped make the VK look longer, and by reworking the rubber seals the GMH
engineers were able to give the VK a squarer, more prominent look.
The pick of the VK range was always the SS or Calais (V8 equipped) models. Interestingly, the L31 5.0 litre V8 was replaced by the LV2 4.9 litre midway through the life of the VK in June 1985. Designed to help the Commodore in Group A racing, the new motor was considerably lighter (shedding 75kg) although most still refer to it as a 5.0 litre. V8 engined cars also had the advantage of being equipped with a much better braking system, including 4 wheel discs and increased brake booster capacity.
also had success at Mount Panorama, winning in 1984
) and 1986
(Allan Grice/Graeme Bailey), only missing out in 1985
due to rule changes to the Jaguar XJS of Armin Hahne and John Goss. Did anyone notice that the 1.9 litre 4 and 2.85 litre 6's were dropped from the Commodore lineup? Not really.