No other car company has shaped Australia in so many ways, for so long. Established as a saddle maker in 1856, Holden has come a long way. And we’re still going places.
The fifties were defined by beautiful design, bringing the good-looking, affordable 48-125 (FX) to Australians. Production was booming and by the end of the decade, over 500,000 Holden's were produced.
It didn’t take long for Holden to become the market leader. The fondly regarded FJ Holden was followed by more modern designs like the FE and the 1958 FC. By this time, Holden outsold the nearest competitor by two to one.
The FB Holden arrived and was more akin in design to US cars. The 1961 EK followed and gave thousands of Australians their first automatic experience.
Holden was on a roll and in 1963, the EH launched and became the fastest selling Australian car. Buyers loved it, snapping up 256,959 units during the EH’s 18-month manufacture.
Output had doubled since 1962. The Monaro arrived in 1968 and the HK model gave Holden its first victory in the Bathurst 500. In 1969 the HT replaced the HK, now fitted with the Holden’s first-ever Australian developed V8 engine.
At the start of the 70’s, Holden introduced the final refinement of the HK/HT series: the HG Holden. The car was the first full-sized model to include the Australian-built, Trimatic automatic transmission.
The Holden Commodore — it won Australia’s heart and became a national icon. This smaller, lighter model was the legendary first of the 14-model series spanning 30 years.
The 70’s brought Holden legendary status. The first Torana model appeared in the late 60’s, however it was really a true icon of the 70’s. Claiming motorsport success, the Torana became one of the most respected vehicles in the Australian car scene.
In 1975 the Gemini was launched. This compact design was built at Holden’s Queensland factory and was voted the most popular four-cylinder car on the Australian market.
The 80’s were a time of evolution and new ventures for Holden. The VH and VK models represented further technology refinements, peaking in the VL Commodore. By 1981, the four-millionth Holden was sold, and the first 4WD vehicle was launched, the Holden Jackaroo.
The JB Camira marked another first, as Holden made its foray into front wheel drive. Our motoring innovations led to GM’s SunRaycer winning the first cross-continental solar race and the VN Commodore range winning the 1988 Car of the Year award from Wheels, Car Australia and Modern Motor.
Holden’s technological innovation continued. The 1993 VR Commodore was the most technically savvy to date, with more safety features than any other car in the family bracket.
The 1997 VT Commodore continued to make further strides in this area with class-leading vehicle dynamics; the culmination of a $600 million investment and the most advanced new vehicle technology program ever.
Exports of the Family II four-cylinder reached the three-million mark by 1999. The VT Commodores smashed the FAI 1000 Bathurst, taking 1-2-3 on the podium and the Commodore became the top-selling car of the decade.
At the turn of the millennium, Holden put its efforts into refining existing technologies. The Monaro sports coupe launch at the Sydney Motor Show in 2001 set the decade off in style with the last produced auctioned for charity, fetching $187,600.
The all new VE Commodore followed, representing the fourth generation of Australia's best-selling car range and winning the 2006 Wheels Car of the Year and Australian Design Awards for its performance, refinement, fit and finish.
Today, Holden continues to push boundaries and stay at the cutting edge of technology.
The VF Commodore range, launched in 2013, became one of the most advanced vehicles to wear the Holden badge. Lighter, smarter and more streamlined, it contained a vast array of integrated high technology features, combined with its renowned performance prowess.
The model line-up has included the stunning Astra, Cascada and Insignia, with super sharp looks and performance to match. Now celebrating over 60 years of heritage, Holden has become an integral part of Australia. Our next chapter has already begun – stay tuned to see what the future will hold!