I expect that there are a lot of people who are not aware of Holden’s history before the launch of the 1948 Holden, so let’s have a quick look at what was on show at Motorclassica 2017. As well as the run of the mill sedans there were some rather special cars too.
After some convincing by Don Andreina, I have been working on a history of Holden, and General Motors-Holden, however I recently had a USB stick with a lot of my material fail; so while I attempt to recover the data I thought that I would resurrect this draft on the cars that generated that idea.
Our first car pre-dates the creation of General Motors-Holden however several years after Holden were contracted to build bodies for all GM cars imported to Australia. This 1928 Buick Roadster was a body built by HMBB Ltd probably as a promotional exercise, and early in its life it was sent to England for some hotting up. This sounds unconventional, but a run around the legendary Brooklands oval reportedly saw an unofficial top speed of 138 mph which is very impressive, and well ahead of other production-based race cars. The outright lap record was an average speed of 143 mph by the Napier Railton (powered by a 24-litre aero engine).
It returned to Australia and went to Mildura on the Victoria/NSW border where it was supposedly used to run moonshine (although this seems unlikely to me). Cue a couple of decades sitting at the bottom of a dam before it was dragged out and restored. You would have to agree it looks pretty sharp.
And how about this radiator mascot – have you seen one like it?
Surprisingly the next car chronologically was another boat-tail speedster! This is a 1932 Chevrolet, with a body known as the “Moonlight Speedster”, which was built in 1931. This body is #10, and with a few other unsold bodies was fitted to a 1932 chassis.
The body was built from 17 pieces of aluminium over a timber frame. The cowl and front end panels plus those under and around the chassis including the mudguards are standard 1932 Chevrolet. How do you like the air scoops in front of the windscreen?
The vee-shaped screen in front of the single dicky seat is a unique touch. The ridge along the rear deck runs down between the front seats forming them into individual buckets.
I will follow this with a couple of 1939 cars – La Salle and Oldsmobile, and when I can get the chance a more comprehensive look at pre-1948 Holden history.