I have been a long time Holden V8 owner, from my humble HJ Premier 4.2 wagon I bought in 1986, to a VN BT1 5.0, VR SS manual (my first new car), onto a VY Crewman SS manual, a VE Berlina 6.0, a VEII SS-V Redline Sportswagon manual (all bought new), and finally to this car. I have always found the V8's enjoyable to drive, practical enough, with great resale and solid reliability. The VFII SS-V Redline was the ultimate realisation of the V8 Holden (outside of HSV) and a fitting - albeit sad - finale. This will be the last new car I will ever buy.
I love the way it looks, the way it drives and handles, and its very comfortable but sporty interior. Even with my badly injured spine I can drive this car all day. Even now after nearly six years of ownership, I have not had one problem with the car, driving it from Perth to Canberra in 2019 with ease and comfort.
The car has the LS3 6.2-litre all-alloy V8 with a 6-speed manual and 3.7:1 limited slip diff. The engine has been fitted with the Harrop stage 3 kit which includes cold air intake, headers, high flow cats and full 3-inch dual stainless steel exhaust (I have kept all the original components). On the dyno with a conservative tune on 95RON, it generates 391bhp at the rear wheels and 674Nm of torque. On the highway with passengers, luggage and air-con on, it averages 9.5 litres per 100 kilometres and around town it uses 11.5 litres per hundred. These are real world figures and I do not spare the rod when the opportunity to overtake 20 SUVs and caravans comes up. The sound is glorious.
The suspension is the factory FE3, which is nigh on perfect for our roads and much more compliant that previous FE2 setups that I have experienced, whilst maintaining race car like cornering for such a big vehicle. I put the factory 19-inch wheels in the shed and fitted the car with 20-inch Simmons wheels of the same width all-round, not only to save the original wheels but to allow proper rotation of tyres that you can't do with staggered wheels.
The interior has full leather and a sunroof, the stereo system is Bose (the Harrop exhaust is the only music one needs) with Bluetooth connectivity and GPS navigation. The reversing camera and parking sensors are very handy. Cruise control works perfectly and the HUD is a great feature. The Tremec 6060 6-speed manual is a delight with its hydraulic clutch, as is the electronic power steering which is perfectly weighted. The air conditioning system is the best I've ever had for WA's hot summer days.
Sadly, for me at least, this car represents the end of our once proud national car manufacturing industry. Before the VFII came out I had planned on keeping my VE Sportwagon, but a Commodore with an LS3 (and no HSV badges) was too tempting to resist. One test drive and I was hooked. I was interested in considering the final Falcon XR8, but the local Ford dealer had none to test and much to my surprise was not interested in my business.
The car currently has 55000km on the clock, and shares my affection with my other love, a genuine VS Executive 5.0 manual with factory airbags, ABS, air-con, LSD and long range fuel tank. Short of a Porsche 911, nothing else in today's bland market interests me, so the Holdens will be staying with me for the foreseeable future.