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Holden Commodore hero colour salutes Brock

Holden believes the changes for the 2012 model will help rebuild its support.
Paul Gover
CarsGuide

8 Sep 2011 • 3 min read

A hero colour chosen by the late and great race ace during his time as a carmaker is being brought back from the dead - with a twist - for the 2012 Holden Commodore. Brock chose a bright mid-blue colour for his HDT Commodore SS in 1984 during the days of the VK Commodore and it is returning with some extra metallic punch as Perfect Blue as part of the latest twist on the VE.

The timing could not be better, on the fifth anniversary of the death of 'Peter Perfect' in Western Australia on September 8, 2006. The newest Commodore also gets improved economy and emissions in both V6-powered models, with some very, very minor cosmetic tweaking. By Commodore standards it's not a big deal, although the LPG model coming before the end of 2011 promises to have more impact.

The new hero colours - Chlorophyl joins Perfect Blue - are the latest in a long run of bright body shots for the Commodore which reflect the changing times and impact of Australia's favourite car. It's currently facing one of its toughest showroom challenges - ironically, with the baby Mazda3 and not the Ford Falcon that's been its traditional rival - and Holden believes the changes for the 2012 model will help rebuild its support.

It starts with the paintwork, which Holden designer Sharon Gauci says was an easy choice for 2012. "We designed Perfect Blue around Peter Brock's colour. We went back to the archives and this was perfect," she says. We've been doing hero colours, particularly on sports models, for a number of years. They're obviously attractive to customers that want something different, something a bit more extroverted. They are head-turning and attract attention."

She says Perfect Blue - which also pick's up Brock's nickname - is a solid colour with a fine metallic content, while Chlorophyl is "more organic and nature inspired" with a colour that changes depending on how it's viewed. "On the interior we've included some accent stitching on sport and Berlina. There are minimal changes for the interior," says Gauci.

Visually, there is also a new design of 16-inch alloy on the Omega a lip spoiler on the Calais V, while the Redline models get red Brembo brake calipers, a new design of polished 19-inch alloy wheel, and FE3 suspension on the Ute and Sportwagon.

The real advantage in the latest change is improved economy and emissions for the two six-cylinder engines, thanks to a new gearbox and torque convertor on the 3.0-litre motor. They reduce weight and, with updated calibration, also improve efficiency. Changing the torque convertor saves 3.35 kilograms and a new gearbox in the 3.0-litre car trims another 4.2 kilograms.

"We reduced transmission mass. We also downsized the torque convertor," says Holden engineer Roger Athey. We've put them through a battery of testing and it came up well. It has contributed to some of the fuel economy savings. (But) all the gear ratios are the same."

Holden claims 1-3 per cent fuel economy gains for the 2012 Commodore, with 1-3.5 per cent improvements on CO2 emissions. The headline number is 8.9 litres/100km for the 3.0-litre Omega sedan, as Holden also touts an 18 per cent economy improvement since the start of the VE-generation Commodore.

The update also means all Commodores are now E85 compatible, meaning they are classified as flex-fuel cars that can run on bio-ethanol fuel. "It's a minor update. A minor enhancement," admits Holden spokesperson, Shayna Welsh. We're very pleased with how Commodore is going. We'll be talking about LPG Commodore later in the year. That's the only mechanical change still to come this year."

 

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