Find My Brake; VE/ VF SS and SS V Commodore
A look back at the mighty V8 Holden
When the VE Commodore was developed by Holden it was called the ‘billion dollar baby’ – referring to the cost of its development. The VE generation really set a global bench mark for Holden selling models all over the world and enjoying a small but cult like following in the US market. While hard to believe, the 1978 VB, 1988 VN and 1997 VT shared the same architecture, their success paved the way for the investment into the new VE platform. Sadly the new Zeta platform would not enjoy the production run of its predecessor.
In the VE Commodore the engine now sat well behind the axle line improving dynamics and featured a new multi-link rear suspension. The Commodore SS in particular was to become an Aussie icon, available in sedan, ute and sports wagon with a compact pushrod 6.0-litre V8 mated with a well-engineered but bulky chassis weighing in at 1750kg and available in both manual and automatic transmission.
The updated V8 was far more reliable than earlier 5.7-litre LS engines which had piston-slap and oil-consumption issues. The SS Commodore initially came out with 270kW and 530Nm from the 6.0-litre motor. In 2009 the ‘L76’ V8 replaced the L98 in models with automatics only, introducing Active Fuel Management to reduce fuel use by 1.4L to 12.9L/100km. But this did sacrifice power outputs to 260kW and 517Nm.
The SS Commodore enjoyed a smooth ride on 18-inch rims with the up-spec SSV getting the 19-inch treatment which filled the pumped guards nicely. The VE Series II introduced the SSV Redline running on 19s and featured firmer suspension and a new front Brembo brake package available from 2010 on.
The VF Commodore SS was introduced to the Australian market in June 2013 and was an instant hit with many car enthusiasts outside of the Holden heartland. What was most noticeable is the firmer weighting of the power steering and the VF’s immediate turn in, which combined with the 40kg weight saving in the chassis, makes for a more engaging drive in the SS sports models.
From 2013 to 2014 model year, the SS was equipped with the 6.0-litre L77 V8 engine. From the 2015 VF II update onwards, the SS was equipped with the 6.2-litre LS3 V8 engine, previously only used on HSV models and provided enough power to keep any petrol head happy in standard trim.
Those who purchased the SS V Redline were treated to SS V larger 19-inch wheels and FE3 suspension, dubbed Ultra Sport. Holden claims it is “extensively revised” compared with FE2, with increased roll stiffness as the main difference. It complements the standard Brembo brakes with 355mm front rotors up 34mm in diameter compared with the regular SS models.
SS and SSV models had the option of six-speed manual transmission with a lighter feeling clutch, but it was the recalibrated six-speed automatic that proved a popular feature in the much-revised VF platform. As with all VF Commodore models, the Sport mode automatic worked a treat, holding gears when the throttle is lifted and downshifting when hard on the brakes entering a corner.
Inside the standard VF Commodore SS we finally see trim grades to impress even the most fussy owner. The carbonfibre-look trim on the door panels and dash along with leather seats looked refined and mature and will certainly stand the test of time and attracted many new buyers over from the European company car market.
There is no doubt the VF SS Commodore will go down as an icon of the Australian Automotive Industry. As General Motors closes its doors on the Holden brand this last generation Commodore series will long be remembered and much loved by car enthusiasts from all over the world.
Bendix Brake solutions for the VE/ VF SS and SSV Commodore
Bendix has a range of brake pads and disc rotors to suit daily drivers to track day warriors, or anywhere in between. The Bendix Ultimate+ is a high-performance brake pad that is engineered for pure stopping power on windy roads or on the track. However, daily drivability is not compromised and is low dust and noise. Providing excellent pedal feel from the get-go, the Bendix Ultimate is highly tolerant of extreme temperatures for fade-free braking.
To complement the Bendix Ultimate+ brake pad, Bendix has released the Ultimate Brake Disc Rotor available in both the 321mm and 355mm brake rotor sizing.
The Ultimate Rotor incorporates improved noise dampening characteristics and heat dissipation by utilising high carbon metallurgy. The higher carbon formulation increases rotor strength at elevated temperatures, specifically designed slots and v-shaped dimples to more efficiently expel gasses, dirt and water. The balanced pattern has evolved from racing, and allows you to feel absolute control in hard braking situations.
To complement the Bendix Ultimate Plus brake pad, Bendix has released the Ultimate Brake disc Rotor.
Find out more about the Bendix Ultimate+ brake pad HERE.
Find out about the Bendix Ultimate brake rotor HERE.
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