2017 is over. It’s time for sunshine and rose-tinted reflection on the year gone by. But here at CarAdvice, we aren’t taking our foot off the pedal just yet – instead, we’re taking the chance to look back at a huge part of the Australian motoring landscape: Holden.
With a new year comes a fresh beginning for Holden. September 26 saw the closure of the Lion Brand’s plant in Elizabeth, South Australia and, by extension, the end of Australian car manufacturing.
Rather than letting the big, rear-drive Aussie sedan fade quietly into the night, we pulled out all the stops to celebrate what was great about the Commodore.
In its final iteration, the Commodore SS-V Redline ute combined a 6.2-litre LS3 V8 engine with an independent rear suspension, making it the perfect tyre-frying whip for tradies with attitude.
The automotive landscape is skewed toward SUVs, but wagons are a big part of the Australian landscape. The first Commodore-based wagon launched in 1979, just one year after the first locally-produced Commodore, and we’ve seen fast ones, slow ones and special ones since.
With lots of space in the back, they’re perfect for family road trips, journeys to the drive-in or, if you’re really lucky, intimate encounters.
Of course, the quintessential Commodore is the sedan. Once the go-to for families, the rear-wheel drive sedan has fallen out of favour with buyers lately, spelling the end of both the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.
To farewell the breed, we took an SS-V Redline and Falcon XR6 Sprint to the drag strip for a final face-off.
Holden is best known for the Commodore but, like countless other car manufacturers, it started off as something entirely different. Founded in 1856 by James Alexander Holden, the company initially specialised in saddles and other leather goods.
Some 49 years later, motorcycle sidecars and body-shells were added to the production floor, while Melbourne tram cars followed in the ’20s. In 1924, the company became the sole supplier of GM cars in Australia, before the companies merged in 1931.
As you probably know, the 48-215 (FX) rolled forth from Fisherman’s Bend in 1948, with a price equivalent to almost two years salary for the average worker. The first Commodore arrived in 1978, while the most successful model was the VT, selling more than 300,000 examples in just three years.
For the full rundown, and an explanation of why the Commodore eventually died, check out the full Paul Maric story. It’s a fitting tribute to an icon.