So here I am, reunited with my first ever V8 and certainly the car I’d class as “the one that got away”.
Once Holden was ditched by General Motors one thing was inevitable. V8 Commodores took off like some crypto currency. We’ve all seen the insane auction results but for some, no amount of coin could take their slice of Aussie history from them. Jarrod Brugel is a great friend of mine. Last year we heard all about his Commodore story. Well, here’s chapter two. Enjoy!
Dusting Off A V8 Wagon
12 months ago I decided to put my V8 Commodore wagon back on the road. I’ve toyed around with performance modifications with almost every car I’ve owned, but never a restoration project.
After 3 years sitting in the scorching sun on a property in north-west Sydney, the wagon was looking quite unloved. It was covered in farm dust, grass and spiderwebs and the clear coat had perished. Happily though, all it took was a new battery and a fresh batch of fuel for the engine turn over and run cleanly.
The clutch hydraulics weren’t playing ball, so I had it towed to my mechanic. While it was there getting a service and the clutch sorted, I had them slide in a high-performance camshaft. It already had a decent exhaust system and low diff gears, but the choppy idle is what makes it sound, feel and smell like a muscle car.
I got it registered and away I went! Given its age and the emotions it evokes, it turns heads and really does have a high degree of road presence
I’ve even had offers to buy it – but I’m not falling for that again!
A Journey That Just Keeps On Giving
One of the most interesting aspects of the journey so far is that the owner of my first black wagon found me and reached out early this year.
Some receipts with my name on them dating back to the mid-2000s were still in the glovebox. An online search pulled up my first article where I talked fondly of the wagon that was now in his possession. Craig’s story was similar to mine in that he too previously owned a manual V8 wagon but sold it (to a mate – Aaron) in 2004. For nostalgic reasons he snaffled up the black one when he stumbled upon it in 2019.
In addition to the wagons, Craig, Aaron and I also own VF series 2 SS Commodore’s. Craig and I each have a manual sedan, but Holden dropped the manual box in the wagon from 2013, so Aaron had to settle for an auto when he signed on the dotted line for his sportswagon.
We met up in February 2021 and convoyed in our wagons to Bathurst for the Supercars season opener, where my son and I then camped in the back of mine.
It was a spin-out to see my black wagon again after all these years, and I still felt a connection to it. It was exactly as I’d remembered, other than a leather interior that Craig fitted; a very nice touch indeed.
Coming Home To Sydney
At the end of October 2021 – a year almost to the day since I decided I missed my wagon(s) enough to do something about it – I hit a fork in the road. I did plan to re-spray and re-carpet the maroon wagon in the coming months, but Craig presented me with an opportunity too good to pass on. He offered to send the black wagon “home to Sydney”.
So here I am, reunited with my first ever V8 and certainly the car I’d class as “the one that got away”. I may leave one wagon or the other (interchangeably perhaps?) at my dad’s place. As a motoring enthusiast himself, this is an idea he doesn’t object to.
Father and son Cars and Coffee in my pair of super rare manual V8 wagons? Can’t wait!
Bowen’s Report Card
No need for scores here. I just think this is a wonderful story. Jarrod’s dad was my late father’s best mate. Funnily enough Rini Brugel and my dad used to film and take pictures of cars, kinda just like me! I get a kick out of this narrative. I’m sure it also ticks all the boxes for Rini too, sharing Jarrod’s passion just as much as my dad would have too!.