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Last 7 Days
By David Zalstein
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By David Zalstein

So, where did you go on your date?

Getting into the theme of the whole thing, I thought it was more than appropriate to load up the ‘wags’ with some wood, screws, a drill, two saws and a tape measure and go and build something – the same way men with moustaches did back in the ‘70s.

Ideal first date?

With a modern take on such an Australian icon, I think it’d be pretty hard to ignore a night at the drive-in with the tailgate up and a mattress crammed into the 895-litre boot – 2000 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Hot or not?

Sales gimmick or not, the Sandman name will always be cool. And when it comes to the latest twins – there’s a ute too – if not ‘Hot’, they’re definitely somewhat amusing and cheesy.

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

As with the exterior, the changes to the standard Holden Sportwagon are minimal, which is not bad thing when that very interior is nicely presented and cleverly laid out. There are, of course, also those optional bright orange shag pile seat covers and boot liner ($450 and $380 respectively).

Standout features?

You’ve got to call out the black roof racks, bright orange stripes and Sandman decals. The gloss black 20-inch wheels are also noteworthy as is the model-specific surfboard-shaped “Let the good times roll…again” sticker on the car’s rear end.

Annoying habits?

As practical and logical and excellent as the Holden Sportwagon might be, it isn’t a panel van. It’s a Sandman, we wanted a panel van.

Ready for a family?

Vintage-inspired design additions or not, the base Sportwagon is a killer family car and will comfortably swallow a family of four, or more, plus all their gear. It’s still a gem of a thing.

High maintenance?

Far from. Along with Holden’s three-year/100,000km warranty, your new Sandman SV6 Sportwagon is covered by the brand’s lifetime capped-price servicing scheme with service prices fixed at $239 per service for the first three years or 45,000km.

Any deal-breakers?

It says ‘Sandman’ on it but the original was offered in utility and panel van variants. Now, there’s a ute, fine, but a wagon is not a panel van. We want a panel van Holden… please.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

The Holden Sportwagon is a hard thing to knock back. She’s great to you, great to the kids and more than accommodating when you want to spend time with your mates. But out of the two new Sandman options, I’m far more ute then wagon at this stage of my life. So until I’m dealing with ankle biters, I’ll pass.

Keeping your options open?

If you want a ‘new’ Sandman, your options are fairly limited and the Sportwagon is easily the most sensible choice - compared with the ute. That said, if you’re serious about owning a genuine Sandman, you’ve got to go O.G. and track down an original in good condition.

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

Any parents old enough to remember the first Sandmans but who’d rather take a 2015 build plate and new-car warranty over any potential hassles or dramas attached to owning a classic.