VH SL/E Commodore prototype sells for $108,000

It’s believed to be the only survivor of three styling prototypes

Photographers: Ben Galli

The last surviving Holden VH Commodore SL/E prototype has gone to auction at Lloyds, fetching a top bid of $108,000 on Saturday.

Built on a 1979 VB Commodore, three of these styling prototypes are said to have been made, with the other two destroyed by Holden decades ago.

This prototype is powered by a 253ci V8, matched to an automatic transmission. Just two kilometres appear on the odometer.

“This Holden is in near showroom condition and is a once in a lifetime barn find,” said Lee Hames, Chief Operating Officer for Lloyds.

Former owner Barry Fielding told Unique Cars (Feb ‘22) that the mock-up was donated by Holden to a Tafe in the Murray Bridge region, where it was used as a teaching aid.

It was then placed in storage by a teacher prior to the institution’s shutdown, and eventually left to sit in Barry’s shed in country Victoria.

Numerous hand-made parts appear on the car, including reshaped panels, a parquetry-and-fibreglass bonnet, and a wooden grille and quarter window vents. Even the radio is a dummy piece, featuring graphics applied to a wooden shell.

Roughly hewn pentagonal centre caps can be found in the boot, and some parts bear a hand-written approval date of May 1980. The VH wouldn’t enter production until late 1981.

The realised price of $108,000 is considerably lower than another pre-production Aussie icon currently on the market. Last week we brought you this prototype HSV VN Group A, which has an asking price of $550,000.

While prototype Holdens don’t often change hands, a number of examples survive today. Several can be found at Echuca’s National Holden Motor Museum, including a prototype HJ Statesman and JB Camira, as well as the ‘Project Marilyn’ convertible Monaro concept.