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Memories of my Holdens

She was a lovely old boat

She was a lovely old boat

Ah its the end of the road for Holden making cars here, well is anyone really surprised?

We have had so many factors working towards this eventuality for the last decade that I for one am entirely unsurprised. Definitely saddened but unsurprised. These days the daily driver is a Nissan here at Chez Hall and before that we had a couple of EB Falcons a Subaru, a Mazda Ute , a Diahatsu Hi Jet and many years ago I had a couple of different Holdens, in the first instance I had a FE utility and then I had a HR sedan. Like all petrol heads I had a sort of love affair with each of the cars that I have owned over the years and those Holdens are remembered very fondly.

The FE Ute was something of a journey and to be frank I don’t even remember how much I paid for it, or  even where I bought it but I do remember that I bought it to do up, that it had no engine in it and I subsequently spent ages, many weeks in fact,  cutting out the rust and welding in patches with the a borrowed Oxy set. I scouring the countryside for all of the right trim and parts to make it go. Thus I briefly owned a Torana  that donated its engine/gearbox  and disc brakes to the project a station wagon provided an alternative rear section to delete the spare wheel door and to allow a full rear bumper to be fitted.  the love affair ended and I sold it on and even though I was good with that decision it was still a very sad day when I sold it to a local guy and  sadder still when I would see it being driven around the town.

The HR I bought in the eighties as a going concern for the princely sum of $600 and apart from needing  small rust repair in the floor it was  a lovely old boat. Sure it was no sports car and after the 1200 Datsun that had taken us all around the country it was an absolute Limo, so we dubbed it “the Limo” at that time it was old enough to have a certain class of its own as an honest working car. The steering was a bit, shall we say, vague, the performance was stately rather than at all brisk but I loved its interior space after the Datsun and it had a certain charisma that keeps the model in the heart of many Holden buffs to this day. It was the car I owned when I got married and it carried us on our honeymoon tour of NSW national parks.  The HR affair only ended because a stupid bitch ran into it in the Library car park badly denting the drivers door. I got a replacement door but I could never get it to fit as well as the original and it was just never the same car for me  after that either.

The point of this ramble is to explain that the demise of Holden may have lots of economic reasons and I’m sure that the political hacks on both sides will give us a fine reasons and excuses why the company has finally decided to cease manufacturing here but personally I think that what it boils down to is that there is no longer very much to love about owning  modern cars, they have all, almost without exception, become entirely bland and as ubiquitous as washing machines, there is next  nothing to distinguish them one from another in performance , economy or style. Without romance it comes down to buying decisions on cost and perceived economy and the Commodore, like the Falcon suffered from the architecture of its design being big and heavy with a large lump of an engine. If only they had been innovative enough to put their cars on a serious diet that say them shed a few hundred kilos each while retaining the useful interior space that endeared them to generations of Aussies things might be different now.

Cheers Comrades



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