After being a household name for 164 years, Holden will soon cease all its operations. The Holden lion and stone logo has been a familiar sight on the road – an image that will remain in the mind of Australians for decades to come. GM’s announcement about axing Holden came as a shock to many, not only to those who will be losing jobs and businesses but to the many generations who grew up with this Aussie icon. For a week, the air went thick with nostalgia and panic.
Two weeks later, the smoke has cleared up somehow and so have the initial heightened reactions. We now know that there’s a year to go before the company comes to a total halt in 2021, although productions will effectively stop this year. It’s not yet the abrupt end-of-the-road for your trusty (and possibly rusty) Holdens, either, because service centres and after-sales networks will continue to provide support for the next ten years, as the law requires.
While the news left behind a heartbroken fan base, industry projections also point to spikes in value, not only of the already-pricey collectibles but also of mint-condition family models. So if you’re one of those dismayed over Holden’s hasty leave-taking, you may want to hear about this. Your family car brand’s exit could bring financial opportunities for you.
To honour Holden's 164-year presence in the country, we at Carpart have come up with our subjective list of the 5 Most Iconic and most influential Holden models through the generations.
1. 48-215 (1948-1953)
This iconic sedan established the Holden brand name in the Australian automotive scene. Called the firstborn and ‘the Holden’, the 48-215 was the first car to roll out of the Fisherman's Bend factory. Australia loved to call it its ‘own car.’ Like other cars that people and the motor world came to love, it earned unofficial names, such as the Holden FX and the Humpy.
The 48-215 was not only a beauty to behold but also a high-performing machine. Its 2.17-litre straight-6 engine spewed 45 kW and an impressive 135 Nm torque to match. Owing to its lightness, the Holden was one of the quickest cars during its time, registering a whopping 137-km/hr top speed.
The interior featured two rows of bench-type seats capable of carrying five adults and a higher headroom for passengers wearing hats inside the car. At its launch, the 48-215 wowed the crowd so much that its demand skyrocketed overnight, surpassing imported brands. At a time when Australia needed a fast, reliable, and affordable vehicle to propel its people and economy, this post-war hero delivered on its promise. The Humpys are no doubt museum pieces and worth a lot of money today.
2. HQ (1971-1974)
Perhaps the second most iconic range is the HQ, which is also Holden’s most popular line of cars, selling close to half a million units during its run. It radically departed from the boxy designs seen in the previous HT versions to a sleek, understated styling combined with a great sense of balance.
The most-coveted 1971 HQ Monaro GTS 350 coupe remains one of the most beautiful Holdens there is, and it is assumed that this penultimate dream has its value shooting high, especially at this time. There’s no doubt, however, that the other regular HQ Holdens – Belmonts, Kingswood, Premiers, and the utes and panel vans – will see value appreciation, too, if they have not already.
One of the best things about the HQ line is the ease of sourcing its auto parts, making these models repairable to top working condition even by today's standards.
3. VB Commodore (1978-1980)
Thirty years after Holden’s firstborn rolled out of the factory in the Fishermen’s Bend, Holden launched the VB Commodore. The VB signalled the start of Holden’s longest-running nameplate – the Commodore – and the automaker’s shift to German influence.
The VB Commodore was designed to be more fuel-efficient and smaller than its predecessor, the HZ Kingswood. It was based on Opel’s two donor models, the Senator A and Rekord E, and underpinned by GM’s V-body platform. In styling, the VB had modern, softened edges, but not as soft and rounded as those featured in the HQ-HZ.
At its launch, the VB took the Australian market by storm as a car way ahead of other models in its tier. It went against long-standing models like the Kingswood and the Premier and eventually came to replace them after its popularity increased. It was lauded for its enhanced steering, better ride quality, responsive handling, and exceptional braking capabilities. These qualities won it the Wheels Car of the Year award in 1978.
4. VE Commodore (2008-2013)
Another standout model in Commodore’s five-generation history is the VE Commodore, the first to integrate a station wagon in its range.
The VE broke ground with some impressive innovations, including a wider interior, a stable body, and a well-balanced tone on the design. The VE-VF Commodores would become the final models to roll off the line at Elizabeth before Holden started importing rebadged Opel Insignias. Industry analysts forecast spikes in the price of these Australian-made classics but not of the Insignia-based Commodores.
5. HSV Gen-F GTS (2013-2017)
Holden’s performance division, HSV (Holden Special Vehicles), modified the VF Commodore to create the Gen-F GTS, one of the models seen to appreciate in the coming days. Drawing from the VF Commodore’s strengths, the Gen-F GTS was touted as the most powerful Australian-built car ever produced.
As the performance version of the VF range, it sported racing auto parts in its design and a powerful supercharged 6.8-litre GTS V8 that makes 430 kW of power and 740 Nm of torque. It is pitted against the Mercedes-AMG E63 S in performance and dynamics. Already fetching a high price (in the $90k-100k zone) at present, it is seen to increase significantly in the future.
Depending on whom you ask, Holden’s most iconic could also include the Monaros and the Toranas, but what we've listed are those models that turned the pages in the story of Holden.
If you’re sitting in a Holden right now or have one of the classics lying idle in your garage, you could literally be sitting on a pot of gold. The chances are that it has worn-out parts or needs repair. The smart thing to do is keep it in good condition and bring it to your car specialist.
If you’re selling it now (honestly, you shouldn’t, yet), you can contact us through our website, and we’d be more than happy to advertise it in the classifieds. If you’re looking for parts to keep it in mint condition (that’s more like it), you can find the parts you need from the Holden auto parts sellers in our platform.