1991 Year In Review

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Holden Commodore VP
Upmarket VP Commodores featured an on-board computer managing such things as the power steering, instrument dimming and automatic lights out.

Holden Commodore VP Ute
Lesser Commodores may not have had the on-board computer, but still benefited from considerable NVH improvements.

Paul Keating
It may have been the recession Paul Keating insisted Australia had to have, but it was not enough to deter committed tyre-kickers in attending the Sydney International Car Show.
The first facelift of the brilliantly successful VN model came in October 1991 with the launch of the VP. Now, all Commodore sedans and wagons were fitted with remote central locking and sophisticated antitheft devices (such as an engine management system disabling device, ignition cut-out and key-operated driver's door 'deadlock').

The visual changes were subtle, but the engineering refinements and equipment upgrades were substantial. Holden's independent rear suspension (IRS) system, which was introduced on the long wheelbase Statesman/Caprice models in 1990, became standard on the VP Calais and SS models and was offered as an option on Commodore Executive and Berlina.

The VP engines were carryover units but progressive changes introduced during VN production had greatly reduced vibration and harshness. The most notable results of the VP changes were improved ride quality, better handling, improved smoothness and markedly reduced cabin noise.

All VP Commodores featured power mirrors and power front windows. Additional Berlina features included a tacho, cruise control and passenger seat adjustable lumbar support while the Calais benefited from a new Variotronic vehicle speed sensitive power steering system and a body computer.

This computer controlled many things including the power steering system, variable instrument dimming and an automatic 'lights out' feature activated when the key was removed and the door opened. Holden engineers noted that the development of this body computer gave them the capacity to install highly sophisticated equipment, including multiplex wiring and navigation systems, in future models. The VP was followed by new VQ Series II versions of the long wheelbase Statesman and Caprice luxury models. These introduced 'ABS' antilock brakes to the locally built Holden range.

In other motoring news, Formula One driver Aryton Senna clinched his third World Championship in four years with a second place in the Japanese Grand Prix; Honda chose the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney as the venue for the world premiere of the 1992 Honda Prelude, the Sydney car show would go on to attract an impressive crowd despite the depressed state of the car market.

Jim Richards and Mark Skaife would take out the Tooheys 1000 in a Nissan GT-R, the first 'Great Race' victory for a Japanese car – the race not only memorable for the Nissans win but for Richards delightful comments to the Holden and Ford fans gathered at the podium – and in turn all those watching the race from home. Offering considerably less power, Nissan Australia would launch the locally developed four-cylinder Pulsar model – which would remain in circulation until 2006.

In other news, Australia's economic recession continued, with predictions that unemployment would hit 11 per cent in the new year; Sir Joh BjeIke-Petersen stood trial for perjury, but the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision and the actions was dismissed; A general strike in NSW was organised by the Labor Council to protest the State Governments industrial relations bill; Fighting between rebel Serbs, Federal troops and Croats continues in Croatia.

Formula One Championship:

Ayrton Senna (Brazil) / McLaren-Honda

Bathurst Winner:

Jim Richards and Mark Skaife in their Nissan GT-R

NRL Grand Final:

VFL/AFL Grand Final:

Melbourne Cup:

Wimbledon Women:

Wimbledon Men:

The Movies:

  • Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
  • Thelma and Louise
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  • The Naked Gun 2

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture -
  • Best Actor -
  • Best Actress -

Gold Logie:

Craig McLachlan (Neighbours, Ten)

The Charts:


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