Holden V8 engine

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Holden V8 engine
Holden Calais (1990 VN series) 02.jpg
Manufacturer Holden
Production 1969–2000
Combustion chamber
Displacement 253 cu in (4,143 cc)
308 cu in (5,044 cc)
Cylinder bore 3.62 in (92 mm)
4.00 in (102 mm)
Piston stroke 3.06 in (78 mm)
Valvetrain OHV
Successor General Motors small-block engine

The Holden V8 engine is an overhead valve (OHV) V8 engine that was produced by the Australian General Motors subsidiary Holden between 1969 and 2000. The engine was used initially in the HT Holden series; it was later utilised in the Torana and Commodore ranges. The final iteration, the HEC 5000i, was phased out in Holden passenger vehicles upon the release of the VT II Commodore in mid 1999, which featured the Gen III V8 imported from the United States. The engine continued in the VS III Commodore utility which continued to be sold alongside the VT model until the new generation Holden Ute (VU) debuted in late 2000. VS III Statesman continued with the Holden V8 engine also for a short while until the new WH Statesman was released not long after VT II.

In addition to being Holden's mainstream performance engine throughout its production run, it was also a popular powerplant for kit cars and specials as well as for motorsport in Holden's efforts in the Australian Touring Car Championship and the Bathurst 1000 right up until 1995. Australian company Repco developed and built the Repco-Holden Formula 5000 engine for Formula 5000 and other racing applications using the block and head castings of the Holden 308 V8 as its basis.[1] The engine featured many modifications including Lucas fuel injection and dual coil Bosch ignition and more than 150 special components designed by Repco.[2] The lifter bore angle in the engine block is 45° from the block centerline.


Initially offered in 4,143 cc (253 cu in) and 5,044 cc (308 cu in) or 5,047 cc (308 cu in) (exact capacity is disputed[3][4]) versions, the engines were intended to be offered on the 1968 HK versions of the new Holden range but the project ran behind schedule. The success of Ford Australia's 289 ci V8 powered XR Falcon GT – in particular the publicity that followed the cars success at the 1967 Gallaher 500 – saw the V8 added to the plans for the forthcoming coupe adaptation of the HK Holden, to be known as the Monaro and the luxury version of the HK Holden, the Brougham, plus the utilities and panel van. The engine was offered as part of the HT Holden model range, alongside the 350 ci (5.7 L) Chevrolet Small-Block engine throughout their combined lives which came to an end in 1974 with the introduction of the HJ Holden.[5]

The V8 engine also appeared from 1971 in the Statesman range of large size luxury cars which Holden established as a separate marque, replacing the Holden badged Brougham. In 1974 both the 253 and 308 engines were added to the Torana range for the first time in the LH series (after an aborted attempt by Holden Dealer Team boss Harry Firth to introduce the V8 to the smaller LJ Torana range in 1972 which was stopped by the Supercar scare). The engines were also offered on the LX model range introduced in 1976, but not the final UC range which appeared in 1978.

Both engine capacities were offered on the first VB Commodores which appeared in 1978. The 253 ci version was not offered past release of the VK Commodore and Calais model range in 1984, but continued in WB Holden commercials until 1985. In 1985 the special editions modified by Holden and their official after-market tuner, Peter Brock's HDT Special Vehicles, began introducing the 304 ci (4987 cc) version of the engine, created to slip underneath the 5000 cc engine capacity cut-off in Group A touring car regulations, allowing Commodore competitors to run at a lower competition weight. This slight shrinking of the traditional Holden 308 saw the Group A Commodore's racing weight drop from 1400 kg to 1325 kg (though the engine was still referred to as a 308 by the general public despite the drop in capacity from 5.0 to 4.9 L). Due to the complex Group A regulations, this also allowed the racing cars to run bigger wheels and tyres without any drop in power. Indeed, the Holden VK Commodore SS Group A was one of the fastest cars in the world of Group A racing when it hit the tracks in 1986.

Fuel injection replaced the carburettors initially on the VL Commodore SS Group A SV, again with Group A touring car racing in mind, this car produced by Holden's new performance vehicle partner Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) in partnership with British based Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) (Holden had ended its relationship with the HDT in February 1987). While Group A disappeared after the VN model range, the fuel injected 304 engine was offered in Commodores right up until the VS III Commodore utility in 2000 although there were no longer V8 VS III utilities available for sale during the latter part of 2000.

See also[edit]

From the 1950s through the 1970s, each GM division had its own V8 engine family. Some were shared among other divisions, but each respective design was engineered and developed by its own division:

Other V8 engines used in later Holdens:


  1. ^ Repco advertisement, “Guide to the Gold Star, Supplement to Racing Car News, August 1972, page xvi
  2. ^ 1970 Tasman Series Retrieved from www.sergent.com.au on 13 September 2009
  3. ^ http://vicroads.redbook.com.au/results/?Ns=p_Year_String%7c0%7c%7cp_MonthGroup_String%7c1%7c%7cp_Make_String%7c0%7c%7cp_Family_String%7c0%7c%7cp_SequenceNum_Int32%7c0&Nne=15&N=2994%204294965506%204294965867%204294957517%204294965858
  4. ^ http://vicroads.redbook.com.au/results/?Ns=p_Year_String%7c0%7c%7cp_MonthGroup_String%7c1%7c%7cp_Make_String%7c0%7c%7cp_Family_String%7c0%7c%7cp_SequenceNum_Int32%7c0&Nne=15&N=2994%204294965506%204294965867%204294957450%204294965858
  5. ^ Holden Ltd – The Holden Heritage, 8th Edition (1998)