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Motoring: Holden HD - 1965

The HD Holden, which is disparagingly said to stand for 'Holden's Disaster', got its bad reputation not because it was a bad car, but in terms of sales and popularity it was a disaster. By comparison, the previous model, the EH, was conservatively shaped and the most popular, highly respected Holden thus far. The problem with the HD was its shape. The body had a rounded barrel shape designed to give more room in the cabin, which was in stark contract to the EH which was square and chunky. The leading and trailing edges of the front and rear wings had fins, the forward ones protruding beyond the grille and headlights. To many it looked and felt light and flimsy, which it wasn't, but it was enough to turn buyers away.

In spite of it being perceived an an ugly duckling, there were a number of significant engineering upgrades in this model. The HD was the first Holden to use a ball joint suspension system up front, a vastly superior setup to the previous King Pins. Also, the HD was the first model Holden to offer disk brakes as standard on the Premier, and optional on all other models. It also offered the first factory performance option, being designated 'X2'. The X2 motor was a 179 cubic inch fitted with twin carbs, factory headers, a higher lift camshaft and aluminum alloy main bearings for reliability.

It was good for 140 HP, which was 25 HP more than the standard 179. The X2 was optional on all models, and vehicles fitted with this motor also received a special instrument cluster with proper gauges for monitoring engine temp, oil pressure, amps and volts instead of the usual tell tale lights. Owners of the new HD Holden had the choice of either a three speed manual or the new two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission.

The HD was followed by the HR, which was essentially the HD with the fins removed and a few other modifications and upgrades. These minor cosmetic changes did the trick and the HR won back the respect of the buying public to the degree that the model was seen by many as one of Holden's best.

Number of HD models built: 178,927
Number of HR models built: 252,352
Years of Manufacture (HD): 1965 - 1966
Price at Introduction: ?1160 ($2320)
Date(s) of Introduction:

Sedans and Station Sedans: February, 1965
Panel Van and Utility: July, 1965

Models: Standard Sedan
Special Sedan
Premier Sedan
Standard Station Sedan
Special Station Sedan
Premier Station Sedan
Panel Van

Production line, GMH, Elizabeth, South Australia

Vauxhall vs Holden

During the mi8d 1960s, General Motors was faced with somewhat of a dilemma with the the sale of the British made Vauxhall Velox/Cresta and the smaller Victor in Australia. Fully imported examples of these cars had available in Australia since 1954 and 1957 respectively, and the marque had built up a small but strong following. As the 1960s progressed, with each new model released by Vauxhall and Holden, the single source of origin of the design of the two cars became increasingly obvious and sooner or later GM-H would have to bite the bullet and stop importing Vauxhalls. That happened in 1966, a year after the Holden HD was released.

1966 Holden HD Station Wagon

By the mid 1960s, the design of the HR Holden had been effectively transposed with a little external modification to the PC Series of the Vauxhall Velox/Cresta range (compare Holden HD with PC Vauxhall Cresta), which was released in all other territories but Australia in 1966.

1966 PC Vauxhall Victor

Holden HR Utility

Holden HR Wagon

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