The Love and Hate of The VL Turbo

In my twenties I couldn’t stand the VL Turbo. In my thirties, I gotta tip my hat to the Australian cult classic that taught me the flutter.

Back then you picked a side. If you were into V8s, Ford or Holden. Maybe you went Euro, or you chose small capacity in Japanese rotors or four bangers - Aus-delivered, as grey imports were still somewhat rare.

It was hard to place the Commodore. It attracted a different crowd from the V8 Commodores or Falcons. The turbo kids wanted the Japanese motor in something Japanese. So it crafted its own following - who then modified with candy paint, Calais lights, and the infamous Aussie-style of the ‘cooler poking out below the front bar.

When you were still able to cruise the happening night spots like Melbourne’s Chapel Street, aside from the sound you always noticed VLs approaching. There was usually a minimum pair of them traveling together, with a minimum of five passengers in each.

I’d picked the JDM side during that era, and was compelled to scoff at such machinery. But I look at the VL Turbo now with fondness. Before the Barra Falcons, what turbo car could we really claim as our own, with a cultish following to match? Give me one in BT1 yellow and steelies, with that single-spoke steering wheel, and I’d happily dose all day.