Australian car culture is unique and fascinating. Both Ford of Australia and Holden, a subsidiary of General Motors since 1931, have created iconic and powerful cars that combined stand-alone styling, somewhat European proportions, and American-informed V-6 and V-8 power, unhampered by overly zealous emissions control. Some of these brutally powerful cars came to the awareness of a global audience with the 1979 movie Mad Max.
In 1988, the creation of Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), together with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, took the matter to another level with its growing lineup of performance sedans. But the writing on the wall became ever more visible. The first major political criticism of the power orgy surfaced as early as 1972, when New South Wales Transport minister Milton Morris freaked out about the proposed "supercars" by Holden, Ford, and Chrysler Australia.
By the turn of the century, the government, police, and media had pretty much destroyed Australian car culture. It is no wonder that Holden stopped making its iconic Commodore sedan in 2017, attempting to rebrand itself as a friendlier and more modern brand. It didn't work: As of February 17, 2020, Holden is history. Here are some of the brand's most notable cars.
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Holden HK Kingswood
As in the United States, the large station wagon was a staple of Australian life, but unlike the U.S., it never really fell out of favor (which hasn't prevented the lamentable rise of the SUV in Australia). The HK-series Kingswood "station sedan" was available with straight-six and V-8 engines and offered an astonishing amount of space and comfort. Holden has offered station wagons uninterrupted up to this day; its final successor is the Holden ZB Commodore station wagon, a sister model of the Buick Regal and the Opel Insignia.
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Holden HK Monaro
Based on the HK series, the two-door Monaro was launched in 1968 as a stylish, high-performance derivative. Offered with straight-six or V-8 engines, the Monaro made up to 250 horsepower when fitted with the top-level 5.4-liter V-8. Its role in the history of Holden has been secured by its victory in the famous Bathurst 500 race in 1968: the first year a Holden scored the win there, eight years after the inception of the race. Elegantly styled, top-of-the-line GTS versions were distinguished by sport instrumentation inside and aggressive stripes and wheels on the exterior.
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Holden LJ Torana
The compact Holden Torana, initially launched with a diminutive four-cylinder engine, was soon tailored to the Australian taste for power. The LC and LJ model generation was available with V-6 engines with up to 3.3 liters of displacement. This kind of power turned the Torana into a performer, and the top-of-the-line model was rated in excess of 200 horsepower. Holden's semi-official Dealer Team even managed to shoehorn a V-8 into the LJ Torana, but the car never made it into production; it fell victim to the political "supercar scare." But a few years later, performance aficionados got their revenge: The 5.0-liter V-8 officially made it into the LH and LX series Torana.
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Holden HQ Statesman
A genuinely Australian luxury car, the HQ-based Statesman was launched in 1971. Featuring an elongated wheelbase and a variety of straight-six and V-8 engines, the Statesman sought to distance itself from its lesser siblings, to the point of dropping references to the Holden brand. The Statesman, with incremental variations, carried on until 1984. HDT, the Holden Dealer Team, turned the final Statesman into the more powerful, dechromed Magnum.
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Holden HQ Monaro
Most of the Mad Max hero cars are Fords, but of course there's "Nightrider's Monaro," a standard 1972 HQ series Monaro spiced up by the film crew with spoilers, performance wheels, and plenty of dents. The Monaro was a derivative of the ubiquitous front-engine, rear-wheel-drive HQ platform. Pictured here is the uplevel Monaro GTS in sedan and coupe form. Unlike the movie car, which was fitted with a V-6, GTS models came with V-8 power. The HQ series, built from 1972 to 1974, featured elegant lines and bumper-mounted taillights; the LS model came with dual headlights, while base and GTS versions featured single headlights.
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Holden HZ Sandman
The combination of a passenger-car front end and a pickup cargo area in the rear is an important part of Australian car culture. This type of vehicle is known as a "ute," an abbreviation of "utility vehicle." Unlike the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero, Australian utes were around until very recently. The trend reached its height in the mid-1970s, when Holden offered a Sandman package for its utes and panel vans. With their V-8 power, decals, and lots of space, they became a symbol of Australian youth culture. By the 1980s, the Sandman fell out of favor, but the Ute stayed around until 2017, when its base model, the rear-wheel-drive Commodore, was killed off.
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Holden TX Gemini
It's not the most exciting Holden, but unlike the U.S.-market variations of the GM T-body, the rear-wheel-drive Holden Gemini, devoid of excessive exhaust treatment and significantly lighter than its U.S. counterparts, was actually fun to drive. It came as a coupe, sedan, or station wagon. Holden kept refining the Gemini until 1985; in its final iteration, the TG-series Gemini was offered in a performance version called ZZ/Z with a standard five-speed manual transmission and various aerodynamic enhancements. However, Holden never offered the high-performance engines available on its international counterparts: the Isuzu Gemini, the German Opel Kadett, and the Chevette in both South American and Vauxhall versions.
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Holden VH Commodore SS
The Holden VH Commodore, built from late 1981 to early 1984 as an evolution of the VB and VC series, was based on the Germany-developed Opel Rekord E/Commodore C. But it was significantly strengthened for the rough road conditions in Australia, as well as to accommodate powerful V-8 engines. In late 1982, Holden launched its sportiest model, the Commodore SS, available with a choice of 4.2- or 5.0-liter V-8 engines, the most powerful of which made an impressive 250 horsepower. With the VH series, the styling began to deviate significantly from the German original, with a longer and more aggressive snout and lower, wider taillights. At launch, red was the only color available on the Commodore SS.
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Holden VL Commodore Group A
In 1988, Holden Special Vehicles commenced operation with the stunning Commodore Group A, painted in silver only and noted for its shockingly aggressive body kit that was said to reduce drag significantly. Its 5.0-liter V-8 was strengthened and tweaked to withstand racing use, yet its power output remained at a relatively conservative 245 horsepower. While not exactly a fast seller, the easily modified Commodore Group A kicked off a series of performance cars and derivatives by HSV that would reach extreme horsepower levels and often became sought-after collector's items.
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Holden VU Ute SS
With its ultramodern front end and spacious pickup bed, this Ute—launched in 2000—was offered with V-6 and V-8 engines; Holden's HSV high-performance subsidiary soon added even more powerful versions. The equipment level of the Ute SS mirrored that of the Holden Commodore SS, the passenger car on which it was based. Subsequently and based on the VE model generation, GM considered bringing the Holden Ute to the U.S. as a sort of modern-day Chevy El Camino, but the project was canceled due to GM's dire financial situation.
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Holden Monaro / Pontiac GTO
It was another Bob Lutz idea, one that didn't work out particularly well in the marketplace: When Holden launched the third-gen Monaro, some two decades after the second generation of the iconic coupe, Pontiac decided to latch onto the project with its own variation, named after its equally iconic GTO. While the Monaro was available with a supercharged V-6 or a V-8, the GTO came as a V-8 only, its 350-hp 5.7-liter LS1 engine soon replaced by the 400-hp 6.0-liter LS2. The GTO was a great performer, but its styling was deemed conservative. Its closest relative in the U.S. market was the Cadillac Catera. The similarities are especially glaring in the side view and the surface treatment of the doors.
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Holden VF Commodore / Chevrolet SS
Built atop the GM Zeta platform, which was shared with the fifth-gen Chevrolet Camaro, the Holden VF Commodore was the last rear-wheel-drive Holden and the last one manufactured in Australia. Fitted exclusively with V-6 and V-8 engines, the Commodore came as a four-door sedan, as a station wagon, and as a pickup truck (ute). Beginning with the 2014 model year, GM decided to bring it to the U.S. in the form of the Chevrolet SS performance sedan. It was fitted with the small-block 6.2 V-8, rated at 415 horsepower, and available with a six-speed automatic or a Tremec-sourced six-speed manual. Marketed at surprisingly affordable prices, the SS was a rather well-kept secret in the performance community. In four years, Chevy sold just over 12,000 units.
485,650: The biggest selling Holden of all time, the HQ Kingswood, made from 1971 to 1974. 303,895: The biggest selling Commodore of all time, the VT series, made from 1997 to 2000.What is the rarest Commodore? ›
The rarest of the rare? The One Tonner Cross6. Of the 261,238 VZ Commodore-based vehicles built, a mere 50 exited the factory as cab-chassis, all-wheel-drive, go-anywhere work rigs.What was Holdens last car? ›
Now, in a statement to carsales, GM has confirmed the final Holden ever produced is the same Red Hot SS-V Redline with black roof that was presented with a 'Last Car' sign in a factory ceremony on October 20, and that it remains on display at Birdwood.What was Holdens first muscle car? ›
The first Australian-designed car to be marketed as a performance model was the 1963 Holden EH S4 model, of which 120 road cars were produced so that the model could be eligible to compete at the 1963 Armstrong 500 motor race at Bathurst.What is Holden cars known for? ›
Holden, formerly known as General Motors-Holden, was an Australian subsidiary company of General Motors. It was an Australian automobile manufacturer, importer, and exporter which sold cars under its own marque in Australia. In its last three years, it switched entirely to importing cars.What is Holden's catchphrase? ›
"All morons hate it when you call them a moron." "If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late?" "All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to." "It's phony.What is Holden's disorder? ›
Holden displays many common traits of a person with PTSD following this loss. He has substantial amounts of guilt and depression and struggles to remember the details of events in his life. Holden's emotions seem to be highly unbalanced. His rage is extreme and his joy is more manic.What is the most luxury Holden? ›
The GTSR W1 ute is just one of four ever made and given it carries the build number #001, it's likely to hold the highest value of any ever made.What is the fastest Holden in the world? ›
JEREMY Martin's VB Commodore was purchased in 2005 as a $1000 253 banger. It has since undergone a number of transformations that have seen it progress into the world's fastest and quickest Holden Commodore.What Holdens are worth keeping? ›
- 1978 – 1981 VB/VC Commodore SL/E. ...
- 1975 – 1979 TX/TC/TD Gemini Coupe. ...
- 2001 – 2005 Holden Monaro CV8. ...
- 1977 LX Torana A9X. ...
- 2000 – 2002 HSV VX Clubsport. ...
- 1956 – 1960 Holden FE/FC. ...
- 1991 – 1993 VP Commodore SS. ...
- 1986 – 1988 VL Commodore Turbo.
The most powerful Commodore-based product was the HSV GTSR W1, which coincidentally was powered by the dry-sumped LS9 engine from the C6 RZ1 Corvette, rated to 474kW/815Nm.Which is better Holden or Ford? ›
In fact, in every V8 Supercars statistic available, Holden exceeds Ford in every category from number of wins to the fastest laps of the competition. After 20 championships, 566 races and 295 qualifying sessions the winner across the board remains Holden.What does SS stand for commodore? ›
September 1982 saw the release of the Commodore SS, a model that was a Commodore mainstay until 2017. The abbreviation stands for "Super Sport". Offered with Holden's 4.2 L V8 as standard, the factory SS was supplemented by three up-spec versions produced by Peter Brock's HDT Special Vehicles company.What are the rarest Holdens? ›
- FJ Special 1953.
- FE Special Station Wagon 1957.
- EJ Premier 1962.
- HK Monaro GT-S 327 1968.
- LC Torana GTR XU-1 1970.
- HQ Monaro GT-S 350 COUPE 1971.
- HQ Statesman DeVille 1971.
- Torana A9X Hatch 1977.
Holden Commodore (VF), a sedan sold in the United States as the Chevrolet SS from 2013 until 2017. Super Sport (Chevrolet), a signature performance option package offered by Chevrolet since 1961.What is the Holden Commodore called in America? ›
From 2014 to 2017, the VF Commodore was sold in the United States as the Chevrolet SS and the sport version from HSV sold in the United Kingdom as the Vauxhall VXR8.What does GTO stand for? ›
GTO: Meaning And Origins
Grand Turismo Omolgato in Italian (Grand Touring Homologated in English) refers to road-racing vehicles. In this case, the additional “O” is added to denote that the cars produced are not one-offs with limited production and public sales.
One of GM product czar Bob Lutz's first acts when he came on board in 2002 was to bring the Holden Monaro to the States as the Pontiac GTO--as a divisional halo model for 2004.What was Holden's first V8? ›
1968: The Holden Kingswood goes on sale, bringing with it Holden's first V8, popularised with the introduction of the Monaro.What is the classic car in Brokenwood Mysteries? ›
A first generation Holden Kingswood sedan is featured in the New Zealand television series, The Brokenwood Mysteries as the vehicle driven by the series star, Neill Rea, in his role as Detective Sergeant Mike Shepherd.
The Holden Astra is a small car formerly marketed by Holden. The first couple of generations of Astra were made only for Australia, and was a derivative of the locally produced Nissan Pulsar. With the Button car plan coming into effect, it was replaced by the Holden Nova, a rebadged Toyota Corolla.Why are Holdens no longer produced? ›
General Motors said that with changing priorities, keeping Holden running was not feasible especially with the investments necessary for a "highly-fragmented right-hand-drive market." Holden ceased production in its last Australian factory in 2017, becoming an all-import brand in 2018.What is Holden's final ironic comment? ›
Holden's final statement—“Don't tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody”— suggests that he is still shackled by the same problems he has dealt with throughout the book.Does Holden say F word? ›
And of the many memorable episodes in the novel, the one that I am reminded of often as a teacher is one where Holden Caulfield, the teenaged narrator, is shocked to see the words “F*** you!” written on the walls of his sister's school and tries to remove them.What phony word does Holden hate? ›
Sally uses the word "grand" frequently, a word Holden hates and finds absolutely phony.What is Holden's tragic flaw? ›
Holden's downfall happens because his tragic flaw is that he is hypocritical about himself and doesn't understand himself. Holden has very noble goals, he wants to protect children's innocence.Is Holden a narcissist? ›
Many critics have depicted him as having narcissistic traits.What trauma did Holden go through? ›
When the novel opens, Salinger's protagonist, Holden, is reeling from two traumas: his little brother Allie has died of leukemia and his parents, in a misguided attempt to protect him, bar him from attending the funeral before shipping him off to prep school. He's expelled from that school, and three others.Who has more wins Holden or Ford? ›
Ford and Holden have butted heads in Australian motorsport since the 1960s. Holden has had the running, having won 616 races to Ford's 415. Holden also leads Ford with regards to Bathurst wins 36-20. The Commodore also won its final drivers' championship and Bathurst 1000 courtesy of Shane van Gisbergen.What does SS stand for in Holden? ›
The abbreviation stands for "Super Sport". Offered with Holden's 4.2 L V8 as standard, the factory SS was supplemented by three up-spec versions produced by Peter Brock's HDT Special Vehicles company.
Koenigsegg Jesko: $3 million
The Jesko is our first hypercar that hits the three million dollar mark. From a performance aspect, this makes sense: the Koenigsegg Jesko is also one of the fastest supercars in the world in 2023 – which definitely goes a long way towards its sticker price.
No. Production of the cars will have ended by June. General Motors has basically said that the investment required to keep Holden alive is greater than the return it is getting, so it will no longer be making that investment.Are Fords faster than Holdens? ›
In fact, in every V8 Supercars statistic available, Holden exceeds Ford in every category from number of wins to the fastest laps of the competition. After 20 championships, 566 races and 295 qualifying sessions the winner across the board remains Holden.Who is the best v8 supercar driver of all time? ›
It single-handedly created the “pony car” class in the U.S. and became an icon following the release of the 1965 Mustang. It's often labeled as the most successful car in the history of Ford and has accumulated fans from all across the world due to its incredible performance and styling.What's better Falcon or Commodore? ›
However, when it comes to performance, the Ford FG Falcon XR6 edged out the Holden VE Commodore SV6 with its more accomplished chassis. The blue-badge was easier to drive harder and felt more composed while doing so. At the end of the day, both cars are solid performers that used the same amount of fuel.What is the fastest Holden ever made? ›
It has since undergone a number of transformations that have seen it progress into the world's fastest and quickest Holden Commodore. Yep, at Sydney Jamboree over the weekend, Jeremy clocked his first five-second quarter-mile pass in the car, running email@example.com!What was the last V8 Holden made? ›
The bright red 2017 Holden VF was the last vehicle to be assembled, welded together and painted in an auto body shop on Australian soil.