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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holden Production and Concept Vehicle Collection
National Motor Museum of Australia - Birdwood
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
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
2004 3.6lt Alloytech V6 – first built, 2016 3.6lt Alloytech V6 - last built
Holden Manufacturing Heritage Association - Lionsgate Business Park, Elizabeth
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
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
National Holden Motor Museum - Echuca
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
Sandman ute, VL Commodore convertible
FC sedan, EK Special sedan, HR Premier sedan, VZ Monaro CV8Z, VF Commodore ute ‘McQueen’, VF Commodore SS-V sedan (pilot)
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
ECOmmodore, Colorado Xtreme, VE Sportwagon, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Adra, Chevrolet YGM-1
Chevrolet Camaro LHD, VF Magnum ute (pilot), GM EV-1, Volt EV, Chevrolet Bolt EV
ZB Commodore cutaway clay, Buick Avenir scale model
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
48/215 Cordell station wagon, HQ Premier 25th Anniversary, Chevrolet Bolt EV, VT Commodore SS (2000 Olympics torch relay car)
Winton Motor Raceway - Winton
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)
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
Elfin Clubman (Holden Design), Elfin Streamliner (Holden Design)
NEW SOUTH WALES
Mildura Holden Motor Museum - Buronga
VK Commodore Berlina, VR Commodore Equipe, Cross 8 Crewman (design study), VF Calais Sportwagon - last wagon built
National Motor Racing Museum - Bathurst
VB Commodore sedan (Brock), RB Gemini SL/X
1988 V8 5.0lt GpA V8
WA Motor Museum - Whiteman Park
EH Special sedan
Ridley's GM Motor Museum - Bertram
WN Caprice Police Pursuit
Collins Holden Collection - Toowoomba
2001 Jack 8, 2004 SST ute, Colorado