Remembering My First Car


It was a 1981 Holden VH Commodore SL and it was green on the outside and even greener on the inside. The seats, the dash, the carpet, the kick panels… all very, very green.

I’m fairly certain I paid too much for it. Some of the carpet was ripped, the mileage was getting high, there was some rust and it needed a few things for roadworthy. At the time the market value was pretty ordinary on these cars. Plus it was a Holden, which was a controversy for me.

I was already a blue-blooded Ford man by this stage, despite having only driven my mum’s cream-coloured Laser she christened as “Richie” in honour of the similarly-shaded jackets worn by Australian cricket royalty Richie Benaud.

This is pretty much what my car looked like inside, just not in quite as good condition. Green as far as the eye can see…

I wanted a Falcon but my mate was desperate to sell his car (he had two and no space to park them) and my impatience to get behind the wheel got the better of me. I sold my soul for an old green Commodore.

In fairness it wasn’t a terrible car and would probably fetch five to ten times what I paid for it today, such is the current demand for Falcons and Commodores of that vintage. It wasn’t terribly quick (probably a good thing), and it had no power steering so parking it was like docking a barge. However, it never gave me any real trouble.

It also had a rear spoiler which was completely pointless.

It carried me around reliably for the next year or so until I got the money together to buy back my soul in the form of a 1991 EB Ford Falcon S, a car I’ll write about it greater detail in future.

The VH sat in my front yard for six months or so before I flogged it off to someone for $500. I’ve never really missed it.


I mean, it was my first taste of freedom and it was exciting to be out driving by myself but that car never held a place in my heart. Perhaps because it was a Holden I wouldn’t allow myself to become attached. Or maybe it was because it just wasn’t very interesting to drive.

The heavy steering was a chore at times, the power was barely adequate and the styling was just meh for me. Even though I was already a “car guy” the VH just never excited me.

No doubt the diehard Holden fans will be appalled at that statement and will be debating what head trauma I must have suffered to write such heinous things. Truth be told, the VH was just a tool for me, an object to take me to work and everywhere else I wanted to go.

It was the first car I owned but the Falcon that followed was really my first car. That was the one I loved and practically drove into the ground.

This VH SL/E is the same sad shade of green my car was. Not a particularly pretty colour.

As I write this I find myself wondering about the old Commodore. I wonder if it has survived to this day, or if it succumbed to the wreckers.

Despite my lack of emotional connection to the car I do genuinely hope it has survived. If nothing else it represents a piece of Australia’s automotive history. I hope someone kept it alive.

And if that someone has poured in some of their hard-earned to restore the car back to some of its original glory, even better. It admittedly suffered some neglect when in my hands. I maintained the car but I never improved it.

Part of me wished I had. If I dumped $10k into it today I’d be able to bring it back to factory condition and sell it for twice as much. Maybe that’s what happened to my old VH Commodore.

I sure hope it has. I never really loved the car but I’d like to think it lives on.


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