By Lauren Ferrone
Last updated on: November 7, 2017 at 8:30 am
From taking the first Australian-made Holden for a spin in 1949 to our yellow Holden patrol vehicles in the 60s and 80s, RAA goes on a cruise down memory lane as the last car with the lion badge rolled off the production line in SA.
1. When RAA met Holden
We’ve road-tested a few cars in our time, but getting behind the wheel of the first Holden ever made in Australia goes down in the history books as one to remember. In fact, we recently dusted off a story from samotor’s archives about our first spin in the Holden FX in 1949.
Our motoring experts at the time described the car as ‘remarkable’ and a ‘mechanic’s dream’ after putting it to the test on old Belair Road and through to hilly Crafers and Lobethal.
The final verdict? The famous words from Ben Chifley – Australia’s then Prime Minister who drove the first Holden off the production line – couldn’t have been truer: she sure was a ‘beauty’.
2. RAA Holden patrol vehicles
From riding pushbikes in the 1920s to the yellow vans you see on the road today, RAA patrol vehicles have come a long way – and Holden’s been part of the ride.
In 1964, our road service patrols got around in the Holden 149 EH, the first patrol vehicle which had flashing lights as a safety measure. By the start of the 1980s, we were driving Holden Geminis, which were the last patrol vans without air-con.
3. An icon in the making
When we think of iconic Aussie cars, Holden makes the cut – six times to be exact.
From the 1970s HQ Kingswood – the biggest-selling in Holden history, to the Commodore, this much-loved car brand dominated with six models appearing on RAA’s motoring team’s top 10 list of iconic Australian cars, published in a samotor collector’s edition in 2013.
4. Looking out for Holden owners
We’ve done a lot of research on different cars over the years and, in 2014, the Holden Commodore came out on top as one of the cheapest large cars to run. Unfortunately, it was named as one of the most stolen in SA the year before.
The 90s were particularly rife with car thefts, so much so that RAA actually designed and sold a protective metal case specifically for Commodores that could be placed over the ignition switch, preventing thieves from starting the car using a screwdriver and taking off.
5. Commending the Commodore
When the Holden Commodore VF won the title of best large car under $60,000 in Australia’s Best Car awards two years in a row, it was a special time for car manufacturing in the state.
RAA motoring expert, Mark Borlace, and a judge of the prestige awards, said it was great to see a locally produced car get national recognition in 2013 and again the year after for its sleek look, power and affordable price.