The WB is an often forgotten model in the Holden lineup, but
there was a moment in time when GMH intended the WB to
play a much bigger role in their sales strategy.
the WB was intended to be another facelift to the HQ/HJ/HX/HZ
lineup, that had gained renewed popularity with the HZ
since the introduction of Radial Tuned Suspension.
In fact, the once utalitarian Kingswood was to inherit
the floorpan of the HZ Statesman, while the Station Wagon
would carry over the existing HZ body, but would receive
a revised front end treatment.
This strategy would have
ensured Holden maintained a broad lineup, dealerships
able to offer the more traditional large Holden sedans
should buyers not be accepting of the smaller European
But it was never to be, the bean-counters at the General
deciding such a strategy would be far too expensive for
the relatively small Australian market, and so all effort
was put into convincing the buying public that the Commodore
was a much more suitable Family sedan.
But what of the ever popular commercial vehicles and the
up-market luxury Deville and Caprice, models that could
not be tooled-up from the new VB Commodore.
To fill this
important market segment, a much watered-down WB model
release was put into place, the line-up to consist of
the Ute, Panel Van, Statesman Deville and Statesman Caprice.
Very little was carried over from the HZ, the notable
exceptions being the front quarter panels, windscreen,
front side windows, front doors and bonnet.
The WB Statesman's
roofline was extended by 3 inches, providing improved
leg-room for rear seat passengers, along with better head-room
and even more space in the boot - all despite the fact
that the WB Statesman wheelbase was shorter than the HZ
The popular 308 5 liter V8 received some minor revisions,
and the 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.
There was even a HDT Holden Statesman Magnum by Peter
Brock, perhaps aimed at any aging rev-heads.
The Magnum had a Group Three HDT Commodore engine transplant,
with modifications to the heads, inlet and exhaust systems,
ignition and air cleaner. The suspension was lowered and
stiffer springs and shocks helped keep the beast stay
somewhat light-footed through the twisty stuff. Adhesion
was aided by the fitment of Momo 7x15 inch alloys shod
with Pirelli P6 235/60 VR15 tires.
By 1985 however, the WB was showing its age, and the
last of the long wheel base Holdens was finally phased
out - for a time. By 1990 GMH wanted to re-claim the local
luxury car market, and so extended the wheelbase of the
Commodore to re-introduce the Statesman and Caprice names.
No Holden fan was disappointed to see these names grace
the roads again.