Where have all the old Holden's gone? |


Published on February 19th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Where have all the old Holden’s gone?

I remember seeing the Holden Statesman and Kingswood around KL in the 1970’s and as the years went by they slowly disappeared from the city. The last few years I have not seen a single Holden anywhere, in workshops, small towns, scrapyards and even in classic car hoarder’s houses. So where have the many Holden’s that used to be the pride of their owners gone?

Meanwhile a little history lesson on the Holden car brand. In 1917 the Australian government had placed an import embargo on complete vehicles, the First World War having almost entirely involved Britain’s industry, and German U Boat Captains were doing their best to ensure that very few cargo ships leaving North America reached their intended destination. These conditions, combined with the need to save valuable cargo space, restricted imports to chassis and forced local vehicle agents to look to local firms to provide the bodies.

In 1919 Edward Wheeldon Holden registered “Holden’s Motor Body Builders” as a separate company specialising in car bodies. At the time they built bodies for Overland, Chevrolet, Durant, Hupmobile and Dodge, and by 1923 they were producing over 12,000 bodies per year. In 1924 “Holden’s Motor Body Builders” became the sole Australian body builder for General Motors vehicles and had an output of over 22,000 bodies (over 11,000 for GM) in 65 different body styles.

The famous “Lion and Stone” symbol was designed in 1928 by George Rayner Hoff, and represented the legend of man’s invention of the wheel.

It was subsequently fitted to all Holden bodies and, although undergoing minor changes over the years, remains to this day.

During the ‘Great Depression’ in 1930, production fell from 34,000 units per year to a mere 1651 and, in 1931, General Motors were able to buy the entire Holden’s Motor Body Builders and merge it with their North American operation to form General Motors – Holdens.


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