To mark the end of local production, Holden this year released three limited-edition Commodore models, which saw enthusiasts and investors scramble to purchase a slice of motoring history.
One of those buyers was Chris Thompson from Ballarat, Victoria, who bought a Director. We were given the opportunity to take a ride in the passenger seat as Chris spoke about the car.
You can hear the full interview at the bottom of this article (which we recommend, because V8), or you can read it below.
Chris Thompson: We waited nine months before we got it. When we put the original order in, Holden said there wasn’t going to be much of a chance of getting one. And then we got a call to say we secured one of the last Directors, so we jumped at that.
Three-hundred and sixty of the Directors were made, and 60 went to New Zealand. My car is ‘338’. When we got it, we thought it was quiet, so I had plans to modify it and make it my own.
On the Holden Dream Cruise that we did, there were about six of these there, and a couple of guys there reckon it was probably the most amount of these cars as you’ll ever get in the one place. A lot of them won’t be driven at all, but this one is my daily driver.
Chris starts up the car using the remote key start, and we get in and buckle up.
Under the bonnet is the factory LS3, with pacemaker extractors, a complete custom exhaust system, Higgins CNC ported heads, and tomorrow I’ll be putting a magnesium supercharger on it. It does need to go faster.
With the air-conditioning on, windows down and sunroof open, we back out of the CarAdvice drive way.
With this car you get bigger brakes with two-piece Brembo’s, magnetic ride control that you get in the HSV GTS, different body decals and you get the big Director badge across the back.
I did have an HSV GTS Gen F II that I did love. It wasn’t as practical for work, and it was a bit lower than this, and it scraped a lot. I sold that, and the Director to me was a standard-looking Commodore that looks like a Calais-V and had some go-fast bits.
It does get a lot more attention than I thought it would. I’ve filled it up four times now and every service station stop, someone asks me a question.
The fuel economy is good. We did 9.9-litres per 100km/h on the trip back from the Holden Dream Cruise, which we thought was going to be significantly worse than that. The guy doing all the work for the supercharger thinks now is the worst it will be. The supercharger will run more efficiently until you plant your right foot.
A red traffic light puts us to a stop and the V8 rumbles through the seats. A green light appears, and that right foot gets planted as we hear the engine sing for the first time.
You can’t beat that sound. It doesn’t have a huge cam because we got it to suit the supercharger, but it does give it that different feel.
We battle the tight laneways of Richmond and stumble upon a blocked road, where Chris performs what seems like a 10-point turn to get out with the parking sensors going nuts.
I’ve had a heap of different cars. I had an RX-7 when I was younger, so I liked little engines that have a heap of power. I had a Calais as a company car, and then I decided when the last of the V8s were coming, I got a Gen F II GTS. I was disappointed when I originally bought it and thought it was missing something, so I put a Walkinshaw 507 pack on it. To me, that’s what it should’ve been when I bought it. It was a well-rounded car, it had great power and was easy to drive.
With this car, I was after that driving performance and reliability and something that I could jump in, turn the key and drive. I’ve got a three-old daughter and a partner that doesn’t overly love cars but doesn’t hate them. I just needed something that she could just jump in and go, and that’s what this delivers.
We even said after coming back from Adelaide that the car is really easy to do some serious kilometres in. You could just sit back and off you go.
The V8 engine revs hard, staying in third gear.
When we had this dyno-tuned, it only made 327kW of power at the tyres, which wasn’t too bad for a cam and all the other bits we’ve done, but we are expecting some significant numbers once we put the supercharger on it.
One of the favourite things I love about this car is, it’s a docile-looking car. It looks like a Calais-V and sounds like one when you turn the bi-modal off, and and you get people thinking, “what’s going on there?”
Approaching the on-ramp to the Monash Freeway, Chris pulls the car up at the lights. With windows up and the sunroof open, the throttle pedal goes to the floor, it works its way through the gears and gets to 100km/h in no time.
It doesn’t run out of legs, and it’s an addictive car not to get in trouble in. I’ve had some quick cars, so it comes with some level of restraint. I’m also quite partial to a track day so that normally gets it out of my system for a while.
We didn’t want to get a run-of-the-mill SS-V Redline or similar, otherwise, I would’ve just kept the GTS. I had a look at getting a GTS-R, but in terms of daily drivability, the Director had everything I wanted.
If I wanted to, I could put a tow ball on the back and tow my boat and would have no dramas. It’s a simple car that does everything that you want it to do. It also makes lots of noise and you can have a heap of fun in it.
Just around the corner from the CarAdvice office, we are surrounded by tall buildings, and the V8’s roar bounces off the walls. We pull into the drive way, and the engine is switched off. Things just got too quiet.
Listen to the interview with Chris Thompson in his 2017 Holden Commodore Director below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.
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