HD Holden (1965-66)
Following the popularity of the previous EH model, the HD Holden would struggle to rival its predecessor’s success. The HD sold well on initial release in early 1965 but its acclaim was short lived. It had a short production run that lasted just over a year due to declining public interest. The HD was a slightly larger design with a longer wheelbase though it still bore a strong resemblance to its forerunner EH. Some unusual styling elements were featured in the new model, such as front wings that extended out beyond the headlamps and a concave rear window.
The HD was produced in a choice of four different body types, specifically a sedan, station sedan, panel van and utility model. The sedan and station sedan were available in three trim variants, namely standard, special and premier.
Though not one of the most popular Holden models, the HD had some notable improvements over the previous model. The HD saw the addition of a performance engine to the Holden line. The EH model had seen the inclusion of the six-cylinder “red” engine to the Holden range which came in 2.4L (149 cu) and 2.9L (179 cu) displacement. The HD model went a step further with the additional option of a twin-carburettor version of the 179 engine, which GM-H called the X2. The X2 was capable of up to 140bhp, which was impressive considering that a 2.3L engine with a maximum power of 75bhp was the most powerful engine GM-H produced just three years earlier.
The 2.4L engine was standard across the range on all models except the premier which had the basic 2.9L. The X2 was an optioned upgrade across the whole range. All three engines could be paired with 3-speed manual transmission or GM’s “powerglide” automatic transmission.
This increase in speed required improved stopping power and the HD’s premier variant was the first Holden model to be fitted with front disc brakes as standard rather than 9-inch drums. Disc brakes were also available on all other variants as an optioned extra. The standard drum brakes were also upgraded with larger brake linings, and from manual adjustment to a self-adjusting type which greatly reduced maintenance. The HD was the first Holden to be fitted with an alternator as standard rather than the old-style generator.
Inside, the car was a little roomier than its predecessor caused by the curved door and window design which added five inches in width for extra shoulder space. The premier benefitted from bucket seats in the front rather than the single bench seat of the standard and special variants. The interior of the HD premier was trimmed in vinyl “Morrokide” that replaced the leather in the interiors of the EJ and EH premiers.
The HD’s dash was simplified and had a bolder, straighter and more modern design. Its instrument panel had a large black plastic surround and its speedometer was round, which was a shift from the semi-circular one of the EH. The gauges provided were basic with just a speedometer, a fuel gauge and some warning lights. The X2 engine models had slightly more instrumentation with the inclusion of temperature, oil pressure, fuel and amps gauges, all in a single circular unit.
The station sedan had foldable rear seats and an increased load area that measured 7 ft 2 inches. The HD brochures boasted of the station sedans suitability for camping and featured a fully windable rear window. GM-H offered a range of accessories such as whitewall tyres, tinted windshields, power operated rear windows for the station sedan, two-tone paint finishes and additional chrome, and a vinyl roof. There were also many more styling and comfort accessories available from the GM-owned and designed Nasco parts catalogue.
Between February 1965 and April 1966, GM-H produced 178,927 units of the HD Holden before it was replaced with the HR Holden.