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My New Zealand Shite - Yet Another Car Added

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Like what I did there? Anyway, I've been living in this fine country for just over a month and it's taken 23 days for a phone line and modem to arrive, so I'm now back on Autoshite.

First things first then. I'd been keeping in touch with STUNO about what would be a good car to get, to see me through for a few months. It's a great idea to be mobile from day one, as public transport links aren't that great. Most railways are single lines and almost all towns and cities don't have any stations! Coaches are a good way of covering long distances but can be pricey for shorter journeys.

I knew that I wanted a manual box, which would limit the search somewhat (along with my meagre budget - cars really keep their value here)So, here was the type of thing I was looking for:






Here was what I got.


Didn't I do well!

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Well, thanks for all the nice words!


It is indeed a Holden Commodore. If you want to get slightly anorack-ish (and who doesn't on here when it comes to shite cars), it's a VB model, manufactured in 1979 and registered in 1980 and in my eyes the prettiest one, especially with steel wheel/trim ring combos. See the link for explanations in model changes:




Up to late '86, all NZ cars came with black number plates with white/silver letters, though they've now changed to black letters on white background, so I'm glad someone's kept up to date with the rego in the past and kept the plates live.


However, all is not what it seems. In place of the old 3.3 petrol engine (offering a quite astonishing 89bhp!) and 4 speed box is a Nissan LD28 diesel engine and 5 speed box. Total bum-raping to the purists but it suits my needs (and wallet) well. It smokes quite a bit on hills (black not blue) but I'm putting this down to the need for a service and the high gearing of the box - I can't just change down a gear for fear of revving the nuts off the engine, say from 5th to 4th. thing is, it has 356000 km on the clock (which isn't wholly accurate - should be more) so I can't blame it really! Have done around 3500km in the last month and it doesn't complain.


Anyway, some more pics:



Could do with a replacement offside light, or maybe just a bit of silver spray



Just in case people weren't sure what car this was, Holden decide to put 3 COMMODORE badges very closely together. Should have 6 in total! (1 missing)




This was before I cleaned it, so it's diesel powerplant is clearly evident on the bootlid and offside light cluster. The side skirts are indeed stainless steel and are an older type accessory. At first I didn't like them but STUNO assures me they were quite popular back in the day, so I think they'll stay. The previous owner gave it a 'panel and paint' about 15 years ago, around the time of the engine conversion. Prior to this, the slightly shonky practise of road resurfacing in NZ (you basically drive over a quarry as it's getting resealed) had chipped away a lot of the paint on the door bottoms, so these were fitted to prevent it. By the sounds of all the stones tinging off them, they're really effective!




Every car should have such genuine looking wood facias. Reminds me of the TV I gave to Hirst. The mobile phone has now been removed, saving about 10kg in weight. The interior seems to consist of black trim then coated with a blue vinyl covering - nice one Holden!

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Fabulous! The best looking of the Commodores in my eyes, don't think I've ever seen an estate one in person before though!


Superb quality photos too, well done sir.


That enormous "economy" gauge in place of a rev counter......and does it actually work with the diesel that's in there now?

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The economy gauge probably last worked about 15 years ago! Still, it looks pretty. the temp gauge barely registers any reading when in use, though it does travel along the 'cold' section. I think the reading is pretty accurate though, as the engine's pretty unstressed. Not sure what applications it had in commercial vehicles but I'm sure it was used in some sort of light truck. Anyone shed any light? The straight 6 engine does sound pretty truck-like, which is nice!


In terms of fuel costs, diesel is currently around $1.25 a litre, or about 60p, whereas petrol is nearer 90p. It costs more to register a diesel car and then a bit more still, since it's over 2.5 litres in capacity, so man-maths had to be employed to see whether it was viable to smoke about in (quite literally). Based on getting about 30mpg I should brake even at about 11000-12000km but I've added over a quarter of that in a month and appear to be getting a quite remarkable 37mpg! Not bad for an elderly 2.8 diesel. Would love to try one of the 3.3 petrol ones though - there's still plenty of the more recent models around, mostly saloons.

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Guest Leonard Hatred
Not sure what applications it had in commercial vehicles but I'm sure it was used in some sort of light truck. Anyone shed any light? The straight 6 engine does sound pretty truck-like, which is nice!


It could be from a Laurel.

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That is cool as milk.


Do cars survive well over there?



Yes. Cars tend to be worth a bit more anyway so more chance of them being repaired than scrapped and they don't put salt on the road so less rust. There's also very few company cars so far fewer people change every three years and of course no age related plates. Finally there seems to be less snobbery and people will happily drive beaten up Pulsars and Corollas without caring what the neighbours think

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Are you back in NZ now Rab? If so, let me know when you're in the South Waikato area.


Yeah Scotty, old cars do seem to fare pretty well over here. I've been mustering the courage to start taking some photos of tat, as I think I'm new enough and pasty-skinned to look like a tourist still! There's an early 80's Mitsubishi Colt 3 or 4 doors down from me, a frankly stunning 1979 Mitsubishi Lancer in brown over the road (only seen it twice), a 1979 Transit round the corner (only 22 numbers different from my registration plate) and coutnless others around and about. Also seen a fair few 40's, 50's and 60's American cars around, many with RHD.


It helps that Mitsubishis, Toyotas and Mazdas were built locally as CKD kits, though I think they shut the factories around 15 years ago, due to a sudden increase of Japanese imports from the late 80's onwards. There's some real crazy imported stuff round, though most of it from the mid 90's so not really of any interest.


Probably for the best insight into what's available (and some of the frankly ludicrous prices they're offered for), see http://www.trademe.co.nz


Leonard, doing some very quick internet searching, it seems that your Laurel guess was spot on. The LD28 also seemed to feature in some Skylines!



As a bonus, here's a shot of 'The Beast' (as termed by the previous owner) in our garage. This one's pretty small by Kiwi standards!



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In place of the old 3.3 petrol engine (offering a quite astonishing 89bhp!) and 4 speed box is a Nissan LD28 diesel engine and 5 speed box.


Isn't there a turbo version of that engine that's quite pokey? Nissan patrol or something?


Need underbonnet pics and underneath pics like those found in Haynes

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Had an Autoshite visitor round yesterday in a rather tasy (and very rust-free) motor:







I love the fact that despite being an auto it has a normal looking gear selector, not a 'Fisher Price My First Auto' T-bar effort.





So, hours of chatting about tat on a nice sunny afternoon - what's not to like? That said, why am I getting jealous of the snow in Britain?

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