/Holden: Historic Australian car brand loved by families and surfers – BBC News

Holden: Historic Australian car brand loved by families and surfers – BBC News

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A 1951 FX Holden belonging to the director of Queenscliff music FestivalImage copyright
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A 1951 FX Holden belonging to the director of Queenscliff Music Festival

The historic Australian car Holden will no longer be made after more than a century of production, the brand’s owner, General Motors, has announced.

While not a global household name, the outpouring of love in Australia for the brand chimes with anyone nostalgic for long summer trips in a clunky, family-sized machine.

Holden-lovers are using social media to share their memories of the vehicles.

It’s a car that gently drove generations of new-born babies home from hospital.

And a Holden gave more than a few teenagers the thrill of their first drive – with or without a licence.

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The EJ model in the 1960s

The company was also a big exporter worldwide. Visitors to the Unusual Holdens in Unusual Places online forum can read about enthusiastic sightings of models anywhere in the world.

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The Holden Panel Van was popular with surfers

Holden began as a saddle-making company in South Australia in 1856 until branching out in 1908 to produce Australia’s first mass-produced car. It was bought by General Motors in 1931.

In the 1970s the company tapped into the carefree surfer lifestyle with Holden Sandman, a panel van that could be customised to store boards or even beds so surfers could snooze after a long session at the beach.

“My first car was an awesome EJ Holden Panelvan,” tweeted Lachlan Hogson, with a picture of his ochre yellow Holden.

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A 1975 Holden Sandman customised with carpet, TV and other extras

In the 1970s the family-friendly Commodore model was released, and would become the company’s most popular vehicle.

“Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos, and Holden cars,” rang the advertising jingle.

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“I picked up my wife and newborn first child from hospital in my Holden 5.0L VK Calais. It’s fair to say Holden has been a big part of my life. It’s a sad day!” tweeted one driver, Chris Read, on Monday.

“I was brought home from hospital in a Holden Commodore. That car lasted years before it was stolen,” wrote @Shub_1989 from Perth.

A Holden was the first car one enthusiast in Melbourne ever drove, and crashed.

Leo Cadle and four friends skipped school and drove with a less-then-perfect engine, until they bumped into a letterbox, a small tree and a passerby’s shopping, he wrote on Twitter.

“Dad thought my brother dinged the bonnet,” he added.

Now as falling sales and high costs have brought the Holden to the end of the road, families mourn the loss of a tradition.

TV presenter Michael Usher tweeted sepia pictures of his “pride and joy” that he drove across Australia, after it was passed on to him by his aunt and uncle.

Former Queensland cricketer Luke Feldmen reminisced how both he and his dad’s first cars were Holdens.

They were also the first cars they both wrote off. “Now my son will never get the chance,” he lamented.

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A Holden left to decay by an artist who leaves vintage cars in a forest in Neandertal, Germany