Holden Sandman name returns

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Holden has dusted off the legendary Sandman badge in a bid to evoke some nostalgia 40 years after the nameplate premiered.

The company, alas, has not brought back the famed panel van. But what it has done is deck out the SV6 and SS-V VF Commodore Sportwagon and Ute with some groovy ‘70s-style accoutrements.

SV6 and SS-V Sportwagon versions of the 2015 Sandman Special Edition get 20-inch gloss black wheels; black fender vents, grille highlights and roof racks; Sandman decals; special dashboard stitching; Sandman sun shades and floor mats and a unique build plate.

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Ute versions get 20-inch gloss black wheels; black fender vents and grille bits; a black sports bar; plus the same decals, dashboard stitching, floor mats and build plate.

But that’s not the good bit. The good bit is the optional orange sheep skin seat inserts and — on the wagon — orange rear shag pile cargo space carpet. If this Sportwagon is rockin'…. you know the deal.

Three paint schemes will be offered: Heron White, Nitrate Silver and Phantom Black.

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There’s no tape deck or fluffy dice, unfortunately, though each does trade-in the 1974 HQ Sandman’s drum brakes for a head-up display, six airbags and automated parking, the four-speed floor shifter for a six-speed automatic and the manual AM radio for an app-integrated touchscreen.

You won’t be able to sleep in the back either — the original could house two or, as Holden says, “three if you’re adventurous” — but there’s always Airbnb. At least the Lion brand still has a sense of humour, hey?

The 2015 Sandman Special Edition costs $2950 more than the respective models on which it is based and goes on sale in June. It’s a limited-time offer.

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It will be launched earlier than that, on April 4 in Torquay, Victoria, in line with the Bells Beach Pro surf competition. Holden is putting on a live screen beaming out classic surf reels, music, a car display and beach-side games.

Now for the history lesson. The Sandman was originally launched on the HQ Holden in 1974 as a panel van and ute in a bid to increase Holden’s presence and appeal in the expanding recreational market. No doubt there are Baby Boomers out there with fond memories…

It continued to be offered on the HJ Holden (1974-76), HX Holden (1976-77) and HZ Holden (1977). It was finally revived as a concept car at the Sydney International Motor Show in 2000. Based on VU Commodore, this Sandman (in the gallery) was a Holden-built, Mambo-designed project.

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“The Holden Sandman has been synonymous with the great Australian surf safari for decades and perfectly reflects our country’s laid back, yet adventurous attitude to life. When the opportunity came to revive Sandman, we jumped at it,” said Holden sales chief Peter Keley.

“The reborn Sandman is a statement and reflection of the Australian way of life. Most importantly, it’s about having fun.”

Click the Photos tab for a full gallery of images, including classic Sandman pictures from the 1970s. Oh, and share your (at least moderately respectable) Sandman stories in the comments section below.