1980 to 1984 The WB Series

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The Last truly Australian Holden – some might say?

The Holden WB series was produced by GM-H from 1980 to 1984 but was only offered in commercial vehicle body styles with no sedan or wagon passenger car variants with the exception of the Statesman variant, the WB series range consisted of two coupe utility models, a panel van and a cab chassis truck. There were plans to produce sedan and wagon versions of the WB series which did reach an advanced stage but ultimately were not implemented. The long wheelbase Statesman WB series models were marketed under the separate Statesman marque, absent of all Holden branding. The WB series was a facelifted version of the Holden HZ series, which it replaced.

Body changes;

The new WB series was a facelifted version of the HZ series, with attention being given to the front quarter panels, windscreen, front side windows, front doors and bonnet, the headlights and the grille was changed. The basic models shared a divided grille with circular headlights and the Kingswood utility featured a black grate style grille and rectangular headlights. After August 1980, the base models were produced with the same frontal treatment as the Kingswood utility.

For the first WB series base Holden commercials and One Tonner shared the same circular headlights in a full-width painted slatted grille with matching painted bumpers. The first WB Kingswood ute had rectangular halogen headlights and a separate grille with a fine block pattern insert in black and chrome bumpers. The later WB series commercial variants including the One Tonner shared the more upmarket rectangular headlight WB Kingswood front.

The WB Statesman variants had a longer, squared-off roofline, the styling being a compromise between achieving a fresh appearance and minimising the cost of redesign, by using panels from the HZ series model. The WB Statesman wheelbase was shorter than the HZ Statesman, but the 3 inch extension of the roofline improved the leg-room for rear seat passengers, with better head-room and even more boot space.

The WB series Statesmen received an opera window in its 'C' pillar and the roofline was extended back across it, from which the back window fell down sharply. The bottom of the rear window then met the rear deck which was also raised above its old height, that line being continued to the sharply cut-off tail. Wrap around tail lights completed the back end treatment. Finishing the WB Statesman series re-style were new front and rear bumpers, new trim and badges, and huge side protection strips.

The DeVille model had a simpler grille than the Caprice, and went without the bonnet motif and front bumper over-riders, and was equipped with 14 inch steel instead of 15 inch alloy wheels.

The WB Statesman Series II models were released in September 1983 with only cosmetic changes.

The WB model marked the first styling change for the One Tonner since it appeared in 1971.


Mechanical changes;

There were minor revisions to the popular 5 litre 308 V8 fitted to the WB Statesman variants.

GH-H reworked there engines with modifications to cylinder heads, camshafts, carburettors, inlet and exhaust manifolds, electronic ignition and lower compression ratios were amongst the many changes.

The banjo-type rear axle on the six cylinder utes and vans was replaced by a lighter Salisbury type. The heavy duty Salisbury rear axle from the HZ One Tonner was fitted to all WB One Tonners and was added to the V8-optioned WB utes and vans, the One Tonner variant having a larger rear universal joint and yoke.

WB series transmissions included the M15 three-speed manual, M20 four-speed manual (with high-ratio first gear), M22 four-speed manual (with low-ratio first gear) and an M40 Trimatic. The TH350 auto, available on the 5.0 litre Vee 8 specified on earlier models, was replaced by the Trimatic from late 1981.

The WB series Statesmans had only one engine-transmission combination, 5.0 litre V8 and automatic. The engine being the latest XT5 derivative and the auto transmission was the 4 kg lighter 350 model, instead of the old 400 turbo-hydro.

WB series Statesman suspension was coils all round, independent at the front, hitched off a live axle at the rear. The system saw several revisions over the older Statesmans. The coil springs were variable rate at the back with the shockers re-valved to match them. The rear anti roll bar was thicker by 3mm, making it 19mm.


Interior changes;

The WB Statesman variants equipment list now included the first cruise control fitted to a local car as standard, along with power windows, central locking, high-end audio system and leather upholstery. The dash and centre console were all new. The instrument area featured a plain black finish on the DeVille and a 'Walnut' finish on the Caprice.

The bucket seat option was now standard across Statesman.


Model shifts;

The Belmont, Kingswood and Premier sedan and station wagon passenger car variants were not carried over from the HZ series.

The Kingswood panel van, Sandman utility and Sandman panel van models were not carried over from the HZ series commercial range.

The Statesman WB series range of long-wheelbase luxury sedans, developed in parallel with the Holden WB series, was released in May 1980 with two variants the de Ville and the Caprice and in keeping with previous versions the WB series Statesmans were marketed as "Statesman" rather than as "Holden".


Model range;

The WB range consisted of a limited range of commercial vehicles:

  • Holden Ute
  • Holden Kingswood Ute
  • Holden Panel Van

  • Holden One Tonner

The Statesman WB series range of long-wheelbase luxury sedans, was released in two variants:

  • WB Statesman de Ville
  • WB Statesman Caprice

WB Power plants;

New blue XT5 engines restored power and economy to both the six and V8 models and were offered in the 3.3 litre inline six cylinder, the 4.2 and 5.0 litre Vee 8 cylinder engine.