WH Statesman

  • 2001 WH Unicorn with 1126kms

    We interviewed Albie D, of the HSCCA Group, yesterday.  He owns a Unicorn WH Statesman with 1126km on the clock.  The car is so original, so untouched that it has yet-to-have its first service.

    The 5.7litre V8 had belonged to an older man who only visited Australia for weeks each year and this was his car.

    Albie had heard about the Stato through his mum and he viewed the car knowing it was low-km.

    The tyres still have dimples.  The back seat has not been used.

    I reckon it belongs in a musuem, it is so original.

    Listen to the podcast for the whole story.


  • BigMik's WH Telematics Guide

    Stalwart member BigMIk Temple has contributed a guide about how to disconnect the now-problematic telematics system from the WH Statesman and Caprice.

    This is a great guide to save your WH from some now-redundant traps like a flat battery.

    Thanks Mick.

    pdf Disconnect WH Telematics Guidelines (1.37 MB)

  • Holden WH/WHII Statesman/Caprice (1999-2003)

    An old car advice yarn about WH Statesmans. Holden's first long wheelbase export to wear the Chevrolet badge, the WH Statesman was a more profound upgrade over the Commodore than its Fairlane rival thanks to the export investment. Because it is a purer, more cohesive design than later facelifts,

    The WH Statesman which arrived in June 1999 has a stand-alone presence quite different to the Commodore. No longer tied to the VT Commodore's Opel Omega side pressings, Holden designers could develop a more integrated big car look.

    The old cost-cutting ploy of adding a filler blank behind the Commodore's short rear doors and extra C-pillar glass to conceal the boost in wheelbase from 2788mm to 2939mm is now the most glaring giveaway of this Statesman's Omega/Commodore origins when the new model has extended rear doors.

    Early WH models came with a V6, supercharged V6 and the first of the Gen III alloy V8 engines. The Caprice offered the complete luxury treatment with the same choice of engines at a $14,000 new premium over the Statesman.

    Although the WH's rear self-levelling hid flaws of crude semi-trailing arm rear suspension, the WHII series of August 2001 which levelled WH with VXII upgrades was a major advance with its extra rear control links for camber and toe control, improved switchgear, classier interiors and minor appearance changes.

    The torquey supercharged V6, arguably the engine best suited to the bigger car, was dropped at this point. Entry weight of 1689kg is lighter than today's Commodore so it can work well even as a base V6.

    Big fleet buys leave no shortage of used early examples with little prestige value and $12,000 starting price. Early supercharged models fetch an $800 premium while a good V8 might add $1500 over the V6. The very best WHII Statesman examples hover just above and below $20,000 with later WH examples filling the gap. The rare Caprice will generally command an extra $3000 across the board with the best WHII models spanning the $23-28,000 range.


    • Parts and running costs are tied to everyday Holden models which is good in terms of labour and parts but not so good when WH shared ongoing VT quality niggles.
    • Early V6 engine is torquier and better suited to Statesman than later Alloytec engine. Factory LPG system automatically injected petrol under high load to protect engine so look for V6 cylinder head problems if LPG conversion is sub-standard.
    • Early Gen III engine with low friction piston ring pack generates "ring flutter" on deceleration which boosts oil consumption. Because auto-only WH series selected higher gear after throttle lift-off which takes the pressure off the engine, the problem rarely showed up in the WH. Drivers who regularly hold the auto in lower gears and decelerate sharply can send oil consumption soaring.
    • US V8 engines had oil level warning light but local sump eliminated this feature. Once engine is driven with oil pressure light on, the oil pick-up will almost certainly have sucked air and starved the bottom end bearings. Listening for bearing rumble is critical for any early Gen III engine in the Australian context especially in those cars with service gaps.
    • The V8's low friction piston clearance can also generate piston slap which is heard as a sharp metallic noise at idle which did affect some early WH examples but it's more of an annoyance than a problem.
    • Local V8 sump places oil pick-up at front of sump which can starve engine of oil under hard acceleration if oil level is low, again for terminal bearing damage. Oil level must be checked on regular basis. Retrofit dipstick left the engine with more oil at minimum and maximum marks.
    • Intermittent ECU and sensor problems with V8 can send fuel consumption soaring so check trip computer averages.
    • Automatic is bulletproof but shift quality varies. Main culprit is build-up of metal filings around the magnetic speed sensor. A general clean-up of filters and other parts and sensors can usually get everything working as it should.
    • Power steering seal and bearing failure and leaky hoses are a routine service item.
    • Brake shudder can be an ongoing problem that may demand rotor replacement, not just machining.
    • Drive belt tensioner is a routine service item as bearing dries out and wears.
    • Odd inner or outer rear tyre wear on early WH series is not easily fixed when rear suspension is not adjustable in standard form. Later WHII can be adjusted with big improvement in tyre life and handling.
    • Front strut inserts and rear shockers can leak and rattle after a hard life.
    • Check that all accessories work including all climate control functions. Leather trim where fitted needs regular conditioning.
  • Stephanie O'Neill's Pink WH

    HSCCA Queenslander Stephanie O'Neill is coming to the Statesman Nationals this year.  She and her mob are coming down from Brisbane with this prize-winning WH in pink.  It is spectacular.

    We are planning to show this car inside the Shepparton Motor Museum with a couple of other special arrivals.  Last year we had the famous HUDINI and SYKDUP with Mal McLeod's SLEEPER VQ under the roof.  This year should be just as exciting and it's made more so with Stephanie's car travelling down.

    She and her partner have been putting in the hours making their car a custom standout and we can't wait to see it in person.  Stephanie also owns a pink Holden Monaro.  That's commitment to GM-H V8s and a striking colour. UPDATE: Stephanie is now unable to attend this year's Nationals.  She has a commitment that takes her out of play but hopes to be at another Nats in the future.

  • The Shepomobile Gains Gearbox

    One of the StatoLife's most famous friends has a new gearbox in the making.

    Daniel "Shepo" Shepheard's beautiful blue WH is nearly ready for it's back-on-the-road adventures with the news that the replacement gearbox is soon joining his V8 HMASWH.

    Daniel posted this wonderful and exciting photo on Facebook today.  This so-loved long-wheelbase beauty is much anticipated.

    The car had spat some gearbox bits late last year and has been awaiting a re-conditioned box.

    Next, as we understand from posts between Daniel and Guy Reeves, will be a paint job.

    Given it looks so good at the moment, new paint will take her to new levels.  So great to hear she's on the mend.  Well done Shepo.

    Shepo has also agreed to be a jugdge for this year's Show 'n' Shine category for custom Statos at the 19-20 Nats.  The car is also featured in our advertising materials produced this week.

    pdf Download ad for Statesman Nats 2019 A4 Poster #Two (9.75 MB)