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Holden 6 Cylinder Engine Identification Guide

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Holden 6 Cylinder Engine Identification

When the EH was launched in August 1963, it was powered by two versions of a completely new 6-cylinder engine, the '149' and '179' (named after their cubic inch sizes). These were 2.45 and 2.95 litres in capacity. This engine was dubbed the 'Red motor', after the colour of the painted block, to distinguish it from the grey-painted engine used in all previous Holdens. This new unit was over-square in design with lower piston speeds. It was Australian-designed although it owed a lot to other GM powerplants. The financial outlay required for its production was such that the Red engine was designed with maximum development room. It ended up still in use in the Commodore over 20 years later.

The two Red engines were identical to look at. The 149, fitted as standard to all models except the luxury Premier, developed 100 bhp, making it 33 per cent more powerful than the Grey motor. The 179, fitted as standard on the Premier and optional on other models developed 115 bhp, making it 53 per cent more powerful. The engines had shorter stroke, larger bore, greater displacement and increased compression ratios (8.8:1). They had tough bottom-end by virtue of a seven-bearing crankshaft and were, for all intents and purposes, unburstable. The Red engine was fitted with hydraulic valve lifters.

At first there were questions about their reliability but Holden people were able to quickly point out that the same lifters were used in Chevrolets. To a Holden owner in the 1960s, this was the equivalent of saying they were god's own choice. The 179-equipped EH almost effortlessly hit 80 mph and, providing you didn't mind the body and wind noise above that, it would keep on going to about 90 miles per hour (145 km/h). As with the Grey engine, the Red engine continued to be updated with each new model and the capacity was regularly increased.

It was used for the HQ and its derivatives, slotted into various light commercials (such as Bedford vans), lower capacity versions were fitted to the Torana and, to the surprise of many, the Red engine was shoved under the bonnet of the first Commodore in 1978. By 1984 it was coming to the end of the road but it had one last fling under the bonnet of the VK Commodore. This model featured the biggest changes to the engine yet, including electronic fuel-injection and a computerised engine management system. Performance was improved but without loss of fuel economy. The engine developed 106 kW (DIN) and 266 Nm — not too bad for a 21-year-old 3.3-litre six
MODEL YEARS OF MANUFACTURE ENGINE PREFIX CODES
Holden EH EH Holden

Introduction: August, 1963
Final Build: February, 1965
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
149 LC
Y
95 (71) @ 4400
135 (183) @ 2000 rpm
149 HC
H
100 (75) @ 4400
145 (187) @ 2000 rpm
179
M
115 (86) @ 4000
175 (237) @ 1600 rpm
 
Holden HD
HD Holden

Introduction: February, 1965
Final Build: April, 1966
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
149 LC
149E
95 (71) @ 4400
135 (183) @ 2000 rpm
149 HC
149D
100 (75) @ 4400
145 (187) @ 2000 rpm
179
179F
115 (86) @ 4000
175 (237) @ 1600 rpm
179*
179X
140 (104) @ 4600
178 (241) @ 2400 rpm
 
*179 X2 Twin-Carb Motor
Holden HR
HR Holden

Introduction: April, 1965
Final Build: January, 1968
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
161 LC
161W
108 (81) @ 4400
146 (198) @ 2000 rpm
161 HC
161R
114 (85) @ 4400
157 (213) @ 2000 rpm
186
186A
126 (94) @ 4200
181 (245) @ 1600 rpm
186X2*
186X2
145 (108) @ 4600
184 (249) @ 2200 rpm
 
*HR with optional 186X2 twin carb, later 2bbl. carb
Holden HK
HK Holden

Introduction: Febuary, 1968
Final Build: May, 1969
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
161 LC
161L
108 (81) @ 4400
146 (198) @ 2000 rpm
161 HC
161H
114 (85) @ 4400
157 (213) @ 2000 rpm
186
186P
126 (94) @ 4200
181 (245) @ 1600 rpm
186S*
186S
145 (108) @ 4600
184 (249) @ 2200 rpm
 
*HK with optional 186S 2bbl. carb
Holden HT
HT Holden

Introduction: May, 1969
Final Build: July, 1970
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
161 LC
161L
108 (81) @ 4400
146 (198) @ 2000 rpm
161 HC
161H
114 (85) @ 4400
157 (213) @ 2000 rpm
186
186H
130 (97) @ 4400
181 (245) @ 1600 rpm
186S*
186S
145 (108) @ 4600
184 (249) @ 2200 rpm
 
*HT with optional 186S 2bbl. carb
Holden HG
HG Holden

Introduction: July, 1970
Final Build: July, 1971
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
161 LC
161L
108 (81) @ 4400
146 (198) @ 2000 rpm
161 HC
161H
114 (85) @ 4400
157 (213) @ 2000 rpm
186
186H
130 (97) @ 4400
181 (245) @ 1600 rpm
186S*
186S
145 (108) @ 4600
184 (249) @ 2200 rpm
 
*HG with optional 186S 2bbl. carb
Holden HG Utility HG Holden Commercials

Continuation from: July, 1971
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
173 LC
GE
112 (84) @ 4400
160 (217) @ 2000 rpm
173 HC
GD
118 (88) @ 4400
168 (228) @ 2000 rpm
202 LC
GM
129 (96) @ 4400
190 (258) @ 2000 rpm
202 HC
GL
135 (101) @ 4400
194 (263) @ 2000 rpm
 
Holden HQ
HQ Holden

Introduction: July, 1971
Final Build: October, 1974
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
173 LC
QE
112 (84) @ 4400
160 (217) @ 2000 rpm
173 HC
QD
118 (88) @ 4400
168 (228) @ 2000 rpm
202 LC
QM
129 (96) @ 4400
190 (258) @ 2000 rpm
202 HC
QL
135 (101) @ 4400
194 (263) @ 2000 rpm
 
Holden HJ
HJ Holden

Introduction: October, 1974
Final Build: July, 1976
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
173 LC
QE
112 (84) @ 4400
160 (217) @ 2000 rpm
173 HC
QD
118 (88) @ 4400
168 (228) @ 2000 rpm
202 LC
QM
129 (96) @ 4400
190 (258) @ 2000 rpm
202 HC
QL
135 (101) @ 4400
194 (263) @ 2000 rpm
 
Holden HX
HX Holden

Introduction: July, 1976
Final Build: October, 1977
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
202 Auto
QL
118 (88) @ 4000
185 (251) @ 2100 rpm
202 Man
QL
109 (81) @ 3900
185 (251) @ 1400 rpm
 
Holden HZ
HZ Holden

Introduction: October, 1977
Final Build: September, 1978
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
202 Auto
QL
118 (88) @ 4000
185 (251) @ 2100 rpm
202 Man
QL
109 (81) @ 3900
185 (251) @ 1400 rpm
 
Holden WB
WB Holden

Introduction: September, 1978
Final Build: April, 1980
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
202 Auto
ZL
118 (88) @ 4000
185 (251) @ 2100 rpm
202 Man
ZL
109 (81) @ 3900
185 (251) @ 1400 rpm
 
Commodore VB
VB Commdore

Introduction: October, 1978
Final Build: April, 1980
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
2850 A
VD
91 (68) @ 4000
146 (198) @ 2200 rpm
2850 M
VD
86 (64) @ 4000
146 (198) @ 2200 rpm
3300LC A
VM
83 (62) @ 3800
 
3300LC M
VM
76 (57) @ 3600
 
3300HC A
VL
95 (71) @ 3800
164 (221) @ 2100 rpm
3300HC M
VL
88 (66) @ 3600
157 (213) @ 2000 rpm
 
Commodore VC
VC Commdore

Introduction: March, 1980
Final Build: September, 1981
Engine:
Prefix:
Power
Torque
2850
VD
101 (76) @ 4400
141 (192) @ 2800 rpm
3300LC
VM
105 (79) @ 4000
170 (231) @ 2400 rpm
3300HC
VL
111 (83) @ 4000
170 (231) @ 2400 rpm
 
The basic block continued in the next VC model but painted blue and fitted with a brand-new 12 port head, a 2bbl Rochester carb, electronic ignition, improved Starfire con-rods and a fully counterweighted crank.
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