When it comes to iconic Australian sedans the Holden Statesman/Caprice is one of the most memorable. They were regulars at bowling clubs and government buildings. Holden’s WH version launched in June 1999 and was a significant evolution in the brand’s luxury vehicle lineup.
It was based on the VT Commodore platform. It shared the doors and windscreen but featured a longer wheelbase of 2939 mm. The early WH Series I models (1999-2000) echoed the VT II Commodore, while later versions (post-2000) aligned more with the VX Commodore.
Engine options mirrored those of the Commodore as well. You could get a 3.8-litre V6 Ecotec, a supercharged version, and a 5.7-litre Generation III Chevrolet V8 offering 225kW – like the WH Series 2 we’re looking at here. Notably, the WH was engineered for both right- and left-hand drive, leading to its export to the Middle East as the Chevrolet Caprice.
The WH model stood out for its improved stability over the previous VQ/VR/VS models, as it was enhanced by a wider track and longer wheelbase, along with sophisticated four-channel ABS disc brakes with traction control.
The interior featured dual-zone climate control, an advanced 12-mode trip computer, and a unique rear entertainment system with climate and audio controls. Caprice models boasted luxurious Howe leather seats, a powerful 260-Watt 12-speaker audio system, and advanced memory settings for individual drivers.
Special order options, including those from HSV, added further customisation, such as a sunroof, satellite navigation, alloy pedals, and various styling enhancements. Holden boosted safety in the WH series as well, with the introduction of side impact airbags, pyrotechnic seat belt pre-tensioners, and advanced automatic emergency response features.
It’s been 24 years since the WH was released so we thought it would be cool to do our usual performance test on one. The example featured in the video below is owned by yours truly. I’ve had the car for a few years and bought it due to it being so close to ‘factory perfect’. The only real modification is the tow ball.
As you’ll see in the video, Brett Davis talks about how the car actually handles quite well for a big sedan, and that performance, for its age, is pretty damn good. With long gearing its really built for cruising, but once it’s moving the 346ci V8 engine doesn’t mind nudging the speedo needle. And more to the point, listen to that V8 engine bellow.