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Holden Heritage Collection tours Australia

Practical Motoring logo Practical Motoring 18/01/2021 Alex Rae
a close up of a car © Provided by Practical Motoring

Concepts, milestone production cars, engines and memorabilia to be shared amongst museums around Australia.

With Holden’s proving grounds at Lang Lang sold off in September, followed by the closure of the Holden Design Centre in October, the next act in General Motors’ dissolution of the Australian carmaker’s assets took place in December with the Holden Heritage Collection sent to more than a dozen museums around the country.

a close up of a car: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

Allaying fears that the collection may have been sent to the US or even scrapped, the 80 cars and 30 engines, plus manufacturing items, printed material, photos and other historical material, have been released to Australian museums, but GM will retain ownership.

Confirmed by GM on 7 December, the retention of the Heritage Collection within Australia is the culmination of an initiative that began five years ago, even before the last locally-manufactured Holden was produced in 2017, although the process was accelerated following GM’s official termination of the Holden brand this past February.

a car parked in a parking lot: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

“There has been considerable speculation with regards to what was going to happen to these iconic pieces of automotive heritage, and I’m pleased to reveal we are displaying our vehicle collection in Australia,” said GM Australia and New Zealand MD, Marc Ebolo.  

“We have never thought about sending it overseas. The vehicles which make up this multi-million-dollar collection have been loaned to a variety of museums. This will be the first time the entire collection of Holden production and concept vehicles has been released simultaneously for public viewing.”   

a car parked on the side of a road: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

Volunteer Assistance

Away from the cars, some of the items in the Holden collection are nearly a century old and tell the story of the Australian carmaker from its origins in 1859 as a saddler, through to becoming a cornerstone of Australian manufacturing and the heyday when half of the vehicles on Australian roads were Holdens. Preservation and cataloguing of the collection was done with the assistance of a dedicated group of Holden retirees in Victoria and South Australia. 

a car parked in a parking lot: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

“GM is sincerely grateful for the work our Holden Heritage Group of retiree volunteers has done to sort, digitise and safely store many thousands of items relating to Holden’s rich manufacturing and iconic brand history,” Ebolo added.  

“We are planning to launch a Holden Heritage Collection website which will provide enthusiasts with information about the collection, as well as details of where to view the vehicles.”

a close up of a car: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

Museum and Government Advice

The individual museums that will receive the cars and other items from the Heritage Collection were consulted during the planning and preservation process, as was the National Museum of Australia (NMA), History Trust of SA, Museums Victoria and the Commonwealth Office for the Arts.

a close up of a car with Holden Arboretum in the background: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

This planning process included the formation of an Advisory Committee, announced by Federal Minister for the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, and chaired by the Director of the National Museum of Australia, Dr Mathew Trinca, AM. GM says Holden participated with the Committee and was grateful for Minister Fletcher’s interest in the collection, along with the work and advice that Dr Trinca, members of the Committee and the Commonwealth Office for the Arts provided to examine long term options for the whole collection.  

“We greatly appreciate Minister Fletcher’s interest in the Holden collection and the work and valuable advice of Dr Mathew Trinca, the National, Victorian and South Australian museums and interest groups and the Commonwealth Office for the Arts, on how to best preserve our Heritage Collection in Australia,” Ebolo said.  

a car parked on the side of a building: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

What’s Going Where

Of the 80 vehicles and 30 engines from the Holden Heritage Collection, the National Motor Museum in Birdwood, South Australia, has received some of the best-known and highest-profile vehicles, while the Holden Manufacturing Heritage Association, located in the former Holden manufacturing facilities in Elizabeth, gets several late-model production vehicles, along with sectioned engines.

a car parked in a parking lot: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

The 18 cars allocated to the National Motor Museum went on display from 12 December in an exhibition called ‘Holden Heroes: A Retrospective 1948-2017’ (go to: motor.history.sa.gov.au for details). 

Museums in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia account for the rest of the collection, but not all were available for public viewing at time of writing. See below for the full list and search each individual museum for further details.

a group of people standing next to a car: Holden disperses heritage collection © Provided by Practical Motoring Holden disperses heritage collection

Holden Production and Concept Vehicle Collection

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

National Motor Museum of Australia - Birdwood

Concept Cars:                                    

1969 Hurricane, 1970 Torana GTR-X, 1998 Coupe concept (Monaro), 2000 Sandman Van, 2001 Utester, 2002 Monaro 427HRT, 2002 SS-X, 2004 Monaro convertible, 2004 Torana TT36, 2005 EFIJY, 2008 Coupe-60                               

Production Cars:

48/215 – Holden No. 1, EJ Premier sedan – 1 Millionth, HK Brougham sedan – 2 Millionth, VC Commodore SL/E sedan – 4 Millionth, VX Commodore SS – 6 Millionth, VE Commodore sedan – 7 Millionth, VF Commodore SS Redline sedan – Last Australian-made Holden sedan

Engines:

2004 3.6lt Alloytech V6 – first built, 2016 3.6lt Alloytech V6 - last built

Holden Manufacturing Heritage Association - Lionsgate Business Park, Elizabeth

Production Cars:

Cruze CDX Sedan – Cruze No.1, VX Pontiac GTO 2 Door Coupe, Cruze SRI Hatch, VY One Tonner Ute, Adventra Wagon, VF Chevrolet SS, VF Calais V Wagon, Cruze SRI, VF Chevrolet SS, VE Commodore SS Ute, VE Commodore SSV Sportwagon

Engines:

1995 3.8lt V6 - sectioned, 2016 3.6lt V6 – sectioned, Opel 2.0lt DOHC 4 – sectioned, Holden 2.0lt SOHC 4 – sectioned, Holden 2.0lt SOHC 4 – last built

VICTORIA

National Holden Motor Museum - Echuca

Concept Cars:

HJ Statesman

Production Cars:

EJ ute, VB Commodore SL/E sedan, VF Ute SS Redline ute – last ute built, VF Chevrolet SS sedan, VF Caprice V – last Caprice built, WB Caprice – last WB Statesman built                    

Trafalgar Holden Museum - Trafalgar

Concept Cars:

Sandman ute, VL Commodore convertible

Production Cars:

FC sedan, EK Special sedan, HR Premier sedan, VZ Monaro CV8Z, VF Commodore ute ‘McQueen’, VF Commodore SS-V sedan (pilot)

Engines:

1948 2.15lt 6 (grey), 1963 L6 2.8lt 6 (red), 1980 3.3lt 6 (blue), 1984 3.3lt 6 (black), Stop/Start V6 (experimental), GM Rotary (experimental), 5.0lt OHC V8 (experimental), 5.0lt Orbital V8 INJ (experimental), 1999 5.7lt V8 – sectioned

Shepparton Museum of Vehicle Evolution - Shepparton

Concept Cars:

ECOmmodore, Colorado Xtreme, VE Sportwagon, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Adra, Chevrolet YGM-1

Production Cars:

Chevrolet Camaro LHD, VF Magnum ute (pilot), GM EV-1, Volt EV, Chevrolet Bolt EV

Other:

ZB Commodore cutaway clay, Buick Avenir scale model    

Engines:

1988 Buick 3.8lt V6, 1995 3.8lt Ecotech V6, 1996 3.8lt Ecotech V6, 1997 3.8lt Supercharged V6, 2004 3.6lt V6, 2010 3.0lt V6 - sectioned

Gippsland Vehicle Collection Motor Museum - Maffra

Production Cars:

48/215 Cordell station wagon, HQ Premier 25th Anniversary, Chevrolet Bolt EV, VT Commodore SS (2000 Olympics torch relay car)

Winton Motor Raceway - Winton

Production Cars:

LX Torana hatchback, VX Pontiac GTO 2-door coupe, VE Pontiac GXP sedan, VE SSV Redline ute, VF Chevrolet SS sedan (pilot), VF Commodore SS design, Chevrolet Camaro LHD (pilot)

Engines:

1968 5.0lt V8 (red), 1969 5.0lt V8 – sectioned, 1988 5.0lt V8 PFI, 1999 5.7lt V8 – last built, 2007 5.7lt V8 & Trans

Elfin Heritage Centre - Moorabbin

Production Cars:

Elfin Clubman (Holden Design), Elfin Streamliner (Holden Design)

NEW SOUTH WALES

Mildura Holden Motor Museum - Buronga

Production Cars:

VK Commodore Berlina, VR Commodore Equipe, Cross 8 Crewman (design study), VF Calais Sportwagon - last wagon built

National Motor Racing Museum - Bathurst

Production Cars:

VB Commodore sedan (Brock), RB Gemini SL/X

Engines:

1988 V8 5.0lt GpA V8

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

WA Motor Museum - Whiteman Park                    

Production Cars:

EH Special sedan                                                      

Ridley's GM Motor Museum - Bertram

Production Cars:

WN Caprice Police Pursuit

QUEENSLAND

Collins Holden Collection - Toowoomba

Concept Cars:

2001 Jack 8, 2004 SST ute, Colorado

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