posted at the Cohort by John Cockerell
Gorgeous HT Premier wagon caught by William Stopford
Among the many things that fascinate me about Australian cars is they seem to have never had model years. they just built one model until they had a better idea, then built the next one.
There was an annual model change back in the day, my dad changed cars with each new Holden we had a HK 68 Wagon for just over a year it got repaired after a crash and sold and May 69 when these appeared he got the first wagon into the dealership it had detail changes over the HK only but it had voided rubber suspension bushings and rode better, they handle worse but Aussies have nice straight roads so didnt care.
I always thought model years were a particularly North American thing, as far as I’m aware it was never done in Europe either.
GM Vauxhall did it in the UK Where my dad worked they sold Vauxhall and Chevrolet cars and Bedford trucks but took on Holden in 66 when it became known local Chev assembly would be stopping my dad bought the first Holden they got a russet red HR special wagon it was a big step down from the 64 Velox we had been riding in.
Holden from 62 onwards had an anual model change often with only minor under the skin upgrades the HT pictured was 2nd of three models to use that bodyshell but between 68HK and 70/71 HG they gained syncromesh on all 3 speeds voided rubber front suspension bushings and a three sped THM auto trans and their own two V8 engines, and the car itself is basically a widened Opel,
Evan, I look at it the other way. Changing a model every year seems to have been such a stereotypically American thing to do. 🙂 Rich Americans, and all that…..
During the time of this Kingswood, Aussies came the closest to having a US-style model year. Holden sort of panicked when the Falcon and Valiant arrived. Rather than leading the market and having the same basic model running forever, they changed models more frequently, as Ford continually upgraded and strengthened the Falcon and Chrysler rebodied the Valiant more or less following US lines. Our economy probably helped too. Everyone seemed to have a job.
But by the late sixties, models seemed to change almost every year. It was a great period to live through; peak Aussie car in many ways. Some folk found it hard to keep up with all the changes. But after ’71-72 things slackened off again. I’d imagine that was at least in part due to the expense of tooling up all-new sedan, wagon and LWB sedan bodies (HQ for Holden, XA for Falcon, and VH for Valiant), and adding the expense of coupes, in both short and long wheelbase form for Chrysler. And the expense of producing smaller models as well, as the Big Three grew too big for many.
I reckon the kitty must have been empty after all that. Model years stretched out again.
Cool colors, particularly as accentuated by the photo.
But while some would look at this and see patina galore, I look at it and think that it missed its date with the crusher.
ROFLMAO theres one in a local dealers yard with much more surface rust than that no rego and out of the system so needs a revin he only wants 6K for it.
Pastels seemed all the rage on these. Blue, green, that tan colour.
Lose the visor and get the car over to Australia’s version of Earl Scheib!
Everywhere once – so common that if someone was caught photographing one 15, 20 years ago, it would raise alarms – or ridicule. Now, it wouldn’t last 10 minutes parked without someone wanting to buy it. Madness (but very well made cars).
White roof, visor, door mirror, 186 engine – such typical period options. Back in the day a car like this would fit in anywhere and cause no comment.
Need to walk around the back to see if has the POWERGLIDE badge.
I should have commented on how much later we were in taking to A/C than the US despite it being hot and humid here too – hence the white roof and sunshade! Factory under-dash AC was only introduced on Holdens the year before and only became a factory option on the Falcon (integrated) and Valiant (under-dash) in 1969, same year as the HT pictured. Maybe that A/C was 10% of the price of the car had something to do with the low take-up rate.
Always quite liked the looks of these. My primary school headmaster owned one until the mid-90s; a friend currently owns a wagon. The pictured one looks a little tired, but it seems quite straight and most of the trim appears to be present. A good clean could do wonders!
I would hazard a guess that GM in the U.S. started the annual model change (it certainly wasn’t Henry Ford!). I wouldn’t be surprised if it was part of the Sloan ladder marketing scheme. People would pay dearly for that patina over here too…
I know this is a GM product, but it looks like a Ford to me. The front end resembles a late 60s Ford falcon and the rear endLooks like a four-door maverick. But maybe it’s just the paint colors?
Agree. Reminds me of when an American ’66 Falcon mated a ’69 Chevelle. I’ve been watching a New Zealand tv show, Brokenwood Mysteries, where the lead character tools around in one of these, à la Columbo (except with a young blonde partner)
Its a HG in that TV show the next model, my sister has ridden in it she got a minor role in one episode.
In a world of ever advancing idiocy, that car would be sold today in an instant for not a cent less than $10K. (For one of these, the rust appears not bad).
I would not begrudge that cent, but it is all I would offer – just that cent. These are not great cars.
We had one for too long, and then I drove it. This Kingswood was a melange of fairly decent-looking bare-adequacy, and even that standard it usually failed to reach. Poor steering, awful legs-ahoy seats, body-roll that gave your ears gravel rash and understeer in exact proportion to that. Add an engine that made a gaspy sound like someone trying forever to blow a tuba through a pinhole, and wind roar from the Antarctic if you exceeded 40.
It also had places where it did not rust. Like, I think, the steering wheel, I don’t recall that rusting.
Oh, sure, sure, it was tough, it was reliable – having no tech not invented by 1930, it’d want to have been – and mechanics weren’t scared of it. Hell, it was Australia’s Own, after all, so who was I to argue?
I didn’t. I just never bought another remotely like it.
I imagine that perhaps the hot 2-door Monaro versions with big V8’s and manual floorshifts and hardened suspension felt better: being one of GM’s finest designs of the ’60’s, they sure looked it, and they won races. But the vinyl-choked barely-equipped versions most of us could actually afford would only win a race to be got rid of by any soul vaguely interested in driving.
The next all-new model in ’72 was actually a worse car again, so, ofcourse, they’re worth even more now, because nostalgia and bored Boomer cash.
They are entirely welcome to them.
Am I the only one that thought this was a Ford Falcon at first?
Thanks for featuring my picture Don, I didn’t expect to see it here, I wish I had taken one of the back but didn’t think I could get a good shot with that truck so close..
It was in the main street on my way home from work and I couldn’t resist a picture., then the next day it was gone.
Once again thanks. 🙂
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