Today we bid farewell to local manufacturing for Holden, as the brand completes its transformation from manufacturer to full-line importer.
To celebrate all things Holden, we’ve produced a special Holden podcast, where we talk to people that live and breathe the lion badge.
Highlights are below, but you can find the podcast link at the bottom of this article.
The oldest Holden is the 1946 FX/215 Prototype No.1, which resides in the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Dr. Martha Sear is the curator.
“Once General Motors was going to decide to produce Australia’s car, they began work on it in Detroit in Michigan,” Sear tells us.
“They combined brains from Australia and the US, and they drew on some designs that had come through from Chrysler. They developed the plans and built, by hand, three prototype vehicles in Detroit, and this is the first of the three.”
In 2017 Holden released three limited edition Commodore models, the Motorsport, Director and Magnum. Chris Thompson from Ballarat in Victoria owns a Director, which he drives daily. That’s right, he’s not putting this one away for later resale.
“It was ordered nine months before we got it. When we put the original order in, Holden said there might not be much of a chance of getting one. And then we got a call to say we secured one of the last Holden Directors, and we jumped at it!”
The 2017 All Holden Day in Canberra saw countless modern and classic cars on display. So many stories were told from their proud owners, including Jack, who owns his father’s 1964 EH that he bought in 1967.
“It got written off. My dad had a heart attack and hit a tree. It was insured for $300, and ended up at a wrecking yard. A friend of mine brought the car back for me for $100. There was an EH station wagon for sale for $150, so we took the front off it and put it on the damaged car, and my dad drove it for another 12 years.”
Richard Ferlazzo is Holden’s design director and has been working with the company for nearly 30 years. Amongst many other feats, he redesigned the lion badge, contributed to every Commodore since VN and was the designer behind the Efijy.
“We took the DNA of the FJ and made it look like a very elegant car of the ’40s and ’50s. We found a Corvette at the proving ground that was going to be crushed, so we took the body of that, and stretched and manipulated it. It became a showcase for passion and ingenuity.”
“I remember when the VT SS came out with the 5.7-litre engine. That was like Christmas. I was 23- or 24-years-old at the time, so that wasn’t a bad company car!”
Mark Bernhard is Holden’s chairman and managing director. He has travelled the world, working with the company for three decades.
“I never dreamt about being the managing director of Holden. It’s been incredibly exciting, but that journey still has plenty of legs left in it. Before I reach retirement, I would say this position has been my highlight.”
Five days before the Elizabeth plant closure in South Australia, the Holden Dream Cruise attracted enthusiasts from all over the country. Making the trip from Melbourne in a Commodore SS-V was CarAdvice’s Paul Maric.
“The turnout was next-level. People had their barbeques out the front. They were celebrating all of these Holdens and manufacturing in Australia. It really was quite an emotional experience.”
Listen to the Holden podcast special below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.
VIDEO: A spacious, muscly wagon
VIDEO: The V8 ute!
PHOTO STORY: The Holden Dream Cruise