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wbute Offline
#1 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 2:36:55 AM(UTC)
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Has anyone else seen the factory fitted L31 WB Ute for sale on Australian Muscle cars?
https://www.australianmu...kingswood-ute-0l-v8.html
It’s also Malachite. Wasn’t this a Statesman only colour?
Very unusual Holden, possibly one of the rarest I would think.
commodorenut Offline
#2 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 5:23:04 AM(UTC)
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$25K for that? People really have gotten greedy haven't they?
It needs another $25K spent on it to repair all the rust & repaint it.
Who cares how rare it is when the condition of the body is 2/10.
Cheers,

Mick
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wbute Offline
#3 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 5:52:30 AM(UTC)
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Not sure the thread was “is this the right price?”.
I thought people might appreciate a 5 litre WB Ute is actually out there with photo proof, not just hear say.
Perhaps not.
HK1837 Offline
#4 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 6:10:45 AM(UTC)
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Nowhere near the rarest. it is the 4th example I have seen (I have ID plates for 3 and broadcast sheet for one of them), so there will be plenty more. This is the first TH350 example I have seen though. Rare is the 1/1 HQ V8 Monaro coupe with a 350, HQ V8 Statesman with L31 M21, HT V8 GTS with 307 manual, HK Premier sedan with 327 manual just to name a few.

Malachite is a rarer colour as it is a GroupII or GroupIII metallic, but it was normally available on most cars off colour chart A632. I have 4 x HZ Kingswood commercials in it (3 x utes and a van) plus 4 x HZ Sandmans (3 x vans and a ute).

There are other things that make this one rarer than the L31 engine does. Firstly, it is an XU4. Secondly it is a column shift TH350, something that did exist and almost all in HZ but I have never personally seen one. TH350 was around in Australian Holden/Statesman/Commodore only from about 6/79 to about 11/82, and the only place you could actually order it and it came standard with column shift was on HZ Holden and Kingswood commercials and HZ Kingswood sedan (A9K or A9Q or B03). It was a mandatory delete option IIRC on HZ Deville, both HZ Premier models, and both HZ Kingswood SL models if the car was standard or ordered with L31 and M41 with the optional bench seat. It may also have been standard with Kingswood SL B02 (Taxi) but I'm not sure many Taxis would have ben ordered in this period with L31 M41.
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wbute Offline
#5 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 6:16:37 AM(UTC)
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I have a wrecked WB Statesman that is also Malachite green.
Interesting that you have other tags. Are any of them from very late in the production run HK?
WT stamped block is also very rare.

Edited by user Tuesday, 13 February 2018 6:22:02 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

wbute Offline
#6 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 6:40:28 AM(UTC)
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As pointed out on mysandman, why does the thin tag say L for engine type?
HK1837 Offline
#7 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 7:41:41 AM(UTC)
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One of them that I have tags for is a 1983 model. The one I don't have tags for (a yellow cab chassis) was a later car, a 1984 model IIRC but I can't remember if it was 1983 or 1984 complianced. I haven't seen a 1985 model WB commercial with 5.0L yet.

The L in the VIN tag is probably because the VIN tag was prepared prior to the SVO being applied OR the VIN number on the broadcast sheet wasn't changed so it was made straight off the broadcast sheet. The other WB Kingswood ute I have tag photos for (L31 M40) actually has a broadcast sheet, and it has been manually changed for the SVO - it was printed as a 6cyl manual car. Broadcast sheets were prepared some time in advance of the start of body production for the car. I will check it's VIN tag and see if the VIN was changed on the sheet. The yellow cab-chassis I mentioned above definitely had a T in the VIN though. You can see by the fact that these are SVO cars, that someone with influence ordered it either as a retail order or internal. A normal public customer had no chance, the order processing centre would have rejected it unless the dealer made a phone call to someone up high and that dealer had influence. Dr Terry tried to buy an L31 WB cab-chassis after his HZ L31 cab-chassis got stolen but got nowhere with it. This is why there aren't too many around, but clearly a relatively large number were made or there would not be at least 4 surviving today. The amount could be 50 or more. What would be rare or even non-existent is an L31 M21 WB ute or van. All L31 cab chassis would be auto but if you had the clout to get GMH to make you an L31 WB ute or van you would easily have been able to get a 4spd one as nothing is different to a normal 4.2L 4spd except for 3 components in the inside of the gearbox. I doubt many were made though, as 99% of people who wanted an L31 WB commercial would want it for towing and would want an auto.

WT stamped blocks would actually have been very common - every WB Statesman had one. The 11 or 12 prefix was added in the Elizabeth Assembly Plant, but the engines all started out as WTxxxxxx. If someone wanted a "current production" engine bought for fitment into a HX or HZ they could have bought a WB L31 and it may well have had a WT prefix as it would not have gone via an Assembly Plant. I have a feeling at this time Nasco sourced spare part block/piston, shorts and long spare part engines were N5T prefixed, but you could also access production engines via another GMH division, just not 100% certain (ie written proof) of this yet.
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wbute Offline
#8 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 7:10:56 PM(UTC)
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Thanks for the input Byron.
Interesting to know it was possible to buy a WT engine as spare parts. My question would be, why did the sell them if they were not officially offered as an option? Question number two, why were they not offered in WB commercials? They seemed to sell plenty in HZ Sandmans. There was a market and you hear of people who tried to buy them but were knocked back. It’s noy like it was difficult for Holden to continue fitting them.
commodorenut Offline
#9 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 7:42:35 PM(UTC)
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Probably the same reasons they restricted the 5L in Commodores to SL/Es - the market(ing) influences at the time.

And when the blue motors came out, the 253 gained the 4 barrel & HEI, a significant improvement over a red 253 - it was seen as the way to have a V8 whilst recovering from the oil price shocks. Same way the 253 was dropped when the EFI 6 was released in the VK - it was deemed not needed with the improved performance (and economy) of the smaller engine
Cheers,

Mick
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HK1837 Offline
#10 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 7:49:10 PM(UTC)
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You could buy just about any engine as a current production. You'd buy a WB Statesman 5.0L engine to fit to a HX or HZ, just about straight bolt in if it as the same bellhousing pattern. A Commodore one wouldn't fit. They were nearly the same rating as a later HZ engine. Just think about buying a new LS engine in recent times, the cheapest way was to get one from Holden. This is why Skicraft used to buy new HQ spec 350 engines from GMH - GMH imported them in bulk for HQ, just added batches of 40-50 to the order.

To figure out why they were not offered in WB look to Commodore. When the XT5 engines were first fitted you couldn't get a 5.0L in a VC either, they were only available in Police ordered vehicles. The new improved XT5 4.2L was more powerful than the old red 4.2. Here are some DIN figures (dual exhaust quoted):

VB/HZ 4.2L - 96kW@4400, 275Nm@2400
VB/HZ 5.0L - 125kW@4200, 352Nm@2600
WB/VC 4.2L - 115kW@4400, 289Nm@3200
WB/VC 5.0L - 126kW@4400, 361Nm@2800.

Stuff all difference between the 5.0L engines, but the 4.2L has a massive improvement. So much so that GMH probably decided that there was no need for the 5.0L engine in WB, just like they decided the same in VC initially.

HZ Sandman was cancelled in HZ due to lack of sales. They made heaps in 1977, and early into 1978 but sales were slow. Ute was cancelled early in 1979, vans later in 1979. GTS was cancelled early in 1979. GMH was going backwards big time at this time, they had to close Pagewood in 1979-1980 to avoid money issues. People weren't buying sporty 5.0L vehicles, the sales were in commercials and bread and butter HZ. GMH had to rationalise what they built massively, and had to sell what they built. To them the sales of 5.0L WB commercials wouldn't be worth it I guess, Sandman didn't sell so why would 5.0L WB be any different?
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wbute Offline
#11 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 7:49:39 PM(UTC)
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Another example of Holden presuming they knew the market better than the market knew itself. Just like today with the replacement Commodore not offering rear wheel drive or a V8.
I get the fuel crisis thing of the late 70’s. My brother chose a brand new XD S pac ute and picked the 4.1 because someone convinced him the oil crisis was really the future. He even turned down a new in stock 5 litre HZ Ute. He forever regretted not buying the V8 and really regretted not buying the HZ.
Holden must use the wrong market sample every time.
As for the fuel injected 6 replacing the 4.2, that was only true in VK, the 4.2 continued in the WB for 84.
Sandman dropped the 6 as standard altogether in HZ and only offered two V8’s. They can’t have sold too badly, there seems to be about a thousand of them turning up restored. Maybe it was the stickers being seen as outdated and not the V8 option? No one wanted the Sandman from the early 80’s till about 10 years ago. But if you were in rural Australia during the late 80’s, early 90’s all you that was about was V8 utes. In fact if you went to a B&S anyone who tried to circle eork in a 6 got bottles thrown at them. They were the days, WB V8 ruled supreme and all the earlier series were poor mans choice. How times change.

Edited by user Tuesday, 13 February 2018 8:03:14 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

HK1837 Offline
#12 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 8:44:36 PM(UTC)
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They made plenty of mistakes at that time, some genuine market misreads, others financially driven. To me some of the mistakes were cancelling the Holden passenger range for Commodore and dropping V8 from the U size car. Imagine the W size car continuing into the early 90’s with updates, just like Ford’s reinvention of the old XD into XG and XH with updated engines, suspension etc. Remember that the EFI 3.8L and 5.0L and 4L60 were around in full production mid 1988, could have been even earlier if they hadn’t stuffed around with Nissan stuff. Even so that is really only 3 years after the last WB’s were sold. Continue into WC? with those engines, add tilt column, rear cab wall popout for more seat movement (like a GQ Patrol ute), Borg Warner rear end, better seats, maybe even a steering rack.

Sandman was cancelled in 1979, if they were selling they would have made WB Sandman. I think the problem was a HX or HZ Sandman didn’t look tough, whereas a HQ or HJ did. WB Sandman would have looked even softer again, like a UC SLR5000 would be compared to an LH or LX.

Edited by user Tuesday, 13 February 2018 8:47:47 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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commodorenut Offline
#13 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 9:04:18 PM(UTC)
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The 5.0L had a 10 month haitus at the start of VL production, and repeated this again with VN - but only 8-9 months that time around (released in March '89).

The VN was supposed to get the Nissan 6, and what we saw as the updated VN, with the properly adapted for RWD 3800 (which was more than just a manifold & thermostat housing change) was supposed to be the first incarnation of the V6 in the Commodore. If it weren't for the skyrocketing Yen, we wouldn't have seen the early V6 with the rear thermostat & stainless radiator pipe running around the back.

Some paperwork that Terry got hold of and showed me suggested a VL V8 with a 4 speed auto (4L60/TH700R4), and 5 speed manual (which was only used by Holden in the HDT & HSV Group As).
Had that come to fruition, it would have pre-dated the first local use of the GM 4-speed auto behind the VN V6. Instead it made do with the Trimatic, and the Nissan auto showed just how badly the V8 needed the overdrive.
Cheers,

Mick
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wbute Offline
#14 Posted : Tuesday, 13 February 2018 9:58:19 PM(UTC)
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Yeah I still think poor Sandman sales doesn’t equal poor V8 sales in commercial vehicles. People were sick of the tacky stickers (not saying I think that) being used as a pretend seperate model. Like SLR became a joke in the 80’s. SLR 5 million became the name as there were that many of them.
I just can’t see the cost saving in not offering the 5.0 litre really.
HK1837 Offline
#15 Posted : Wednesday, 14 February 2018 6:02:09 AM(UTC)
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They did have V8 WB commercials, and the 4.2L V8 offered was far closer to the 5.0L in performance than the old red 4.2L. Remember on a commercial they were single exhaust only. Single exhaust figures for them are:

HZ 4.2L - 87kW@4000, 271Nm@2000
WB 4.2L - 100kW@4200, 269Nm@2000
WB 5.0L - 117kW@4000, 336Nm@3000

Plus the XT5 3.3L in a WB was a far better performing engine than the red 3.3 in a HZ. I drove both, my dad had a WB 3.3 4spd 3.36 van new, I used to drive it all the time. Plus I bought a 12/84 WB 4.2 4spd 3.55 cab-chassis when it was about 4 years old and still stock as a rock. The van probably had almost as much more go as the tonner which was lighter and lower geared.

Sure 1 in 100 buyers might have wanted to order a 308 in a WB, but most would be happy with the 3.3L, and the remainder with the 4.2L. Just look at it today, there is a market for a decent engine in today's equivalent of the WB ute - the dual cab 4x4. But it is a small market. Everyone wants the "173-202" version (the tiny little turbo diesels). There was a "253" version available but only those without blinkers on bought V6 petrol Hiluxes and Navaras, so even Toyota eventually stopped making them. In comparative terms I'd be the one knocking on the caryard's door asking for the good engine in the ute, just like i'd have been trying to buy a 308 WB ute or 350 HQ ute. I asked the same question of Nissan when they released the 5.6L V8 Patrol, I wanted to buy the Patrol ute with that engine and auto transmission rather than the awful 3.0LTD in them. I'd also put up with the awful comfort in a '79 Series if Toyota put the "308" version of the petrol V8 in it (5.7L V8 is the big "308" version of the 4.6L "253" V8 as found in 200 Series). But it isn't worth it for them as only a few % of people would buy it, most are happy with the tractor engines. I don't think the logic today is any different to WB era. GMH could have offered the 5.0L as auto only in WB commercials with no major cost impact to their profitability, but having a manual one available would have meant another engine to build and a very low volume one at that. Remember GMH were treading water to keep afloat at the time and anything decision wise that wasn't a show-stopper return probably got knocked on the head. Looking back GMH could easily have offered the 350 on HQ commercials, and built a few SVO examples of those too, however then the same decision was made as for WB - not worth the hassle as the single exhaust HQ 308 wasn't far off the single exhaust HQ 350 in performance, probably as close as the blue 4.2L was to the blue 5.0L.

The other L31 WB Kingwood ute I mentioned is a 1983 model, built 9/82. It is Alabaster White. It has a T in its VIN plate. The VIN on the broadcast sheet has the L crossed out too with a T written over it when the SVO was applied. I don't have a VIN plate for the Manifest Orange cab-chassis, but it is an earlier car as it has an M38 transmission (I thought this was M40 but it isn't meaning the Malachite one is probably the 2nd column shift TH350 Holden I've seen, as I assume this cab-chassis would be column shift not console shift (don't have an ADR plate for it)), it is earlier than the Malachite ute probably 6/81.

Edited by user Wednesday, 14 February 2018 7:53:07 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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griffo Offline
#16 Posted : Wednesday, 14 February 2018 8:45:39 AM(UTC)
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Very interesting read on the WB's...I have 4 of the things still.
Interesting how the fuel scare slowed sales... Don Lee Motors Broken Hill stopped selling WB's in 1983...I have the last one they sold still after 30 odd years.
All the distances out there were vast so they wouldn't sell....But As Wbute said in the rural areas they were loved by the boys thats for sure....But not Broken Hill.
Someone at Hay motors must have had some pull upstairs at GM-H as two 308's were sold to my knowledge...In the day I thought nothing of it ...getting a 308 in one I mean....As all the other models had them I just thought it was standard fair.
The father in law had the 4.2 auto in a Kingswood ute...If you missed the start you would crank the bloody thing all day...It went well tho with the 4 barrel.Mine had no issues starting.Like you say HK...The blue 3.3's went really well compared to the red 3.3's.
wbute Offline
#17 Posted : Wednesday, 14 February 2018 2:45:23 PM(UTC)
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Griffo, I heard an urban tale that there was a run-out of the last WB utes. They all had 5.0 litres and might have been silver. Selected dealers might have got them and I heard two went to Dubbo by mistake. Could be just a furphy, but sounds plausible judging by this thread.
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#18 Posted : Wednesday, 14 February 2018 4:20:23 PM(UTC)
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Wbute...Thats weird that you say that...My nephews all had the WB's...they were all silver and had 308's..Did they put them in or did they come like that??...I never asked, I just amused they were stranded.
The Riverina was full of them, every bush pub on a Friday night was WB ute heaven..LOL!
They had 5 Post bull bars,big RM Williams horns on the tail gate...They jazzed them up thats for sure.
Most were Kingswoods too with the big mouldings.
HK1837 Offline
#19 Posted : Wednesday, 14 February 2018 5:43:32 PM(UTC)
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I remember when I used to buy them in the 90's to wreck. I'd offer half what i'd normally pay when they all that B&S cr@p on them. The few I got I think I got about $50 in scrap for those big alloy bullbars! Back then a decent high kM WB ute was worth about $1500, you'd get most of that back selling the front pieces off.
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wbute Offline
#20 Posted : Wednesday, 14 February 2018 5:56:11 PM(UTC)
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I only owned two. I made sure they were both original and not B&S utes. First one still had the Kingswood hubcaps. It was $9500 in 94, which was about top dollar for a original V8 Kingswood with sports dash. The second one I bought in 2000. $8500 and that was top dollar then too. But you had to look long and hard to find good ones even then. You could halve the price for a 6 banger. I still have the second one. The first one got stolen in Dubbo in 95.
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