HJ Holden (1974-76)
The HJ Holden was released in October of 1974 and is a facelift of the earlier HQ model that had been in production since mid-1971. The physical differences between the two were mostly at the front end with the HJ given a flat and chunky grill, while on its predecessor the HQ, the grill and front end receded from the center.
The new model featured wrap-around indicators on the front and rear, with the tail lights recessed into the body, rather than into the bumper on the HQ. A revised bumper design helped to protect the front and rear bodywork by protruding further out, which offered greater clearance upon impact. On the inside, new full foam seats were added which improved comfort on long distance journeys.
The luxury variants like the Premier and Statesman models could be distinguished by twin headlights at the front, and in the case of the Statesman models, a longer than standard wheelbase.
The release of the HJ model saw an alteration in the range of vehicles available from Holden, which this time wouldn’t include the base model Monaro, as well as the 5.7L V8 powered Monaro 350. The HJ range represented Holden’s large family automobiles, but the company was simultaneously producing the smaller Torana model with an option of four-, six- or eight-cylinder engines. The Torana was the Holden dealers’ team race car of choice, a spot that had previously been filled by the Monaro. This may have been the reason behind the limited range of performance vehicles for the HJ. The removal of the Monaro 350 also meant that no Holden would be offered with a 350 V8 option.
The Belmont, Kingswood and Premier sedans and wagons were the staple of the Holden brand, with the mid-priced Kingswood selling particularly well. The basic Kingswood was upgraded to include power-assisted disc brakes on the front end, and its engine upgraded from the 2.8L (173cu) to the 3.3L (202cu) six-cylinder unit as standard.
The Monaro GTS was available in two- and four-door configurations, as well as the LS “Luxury Sport” variant. The Statesman brand that had been introduced with the HQ model gained a new more luxurious variant named the Caprice. The Standard Statesman, which had simply been called the Statesman, was scrapped and the de Ville took its place as the basic model.
With the introduction of the HJ, entry level utes and panel vans were sold under the Holden badge, where previously they had been marketed as Belmont. The Kingswood ute was still available, as well as the One-Tonner chassis-cab truck. The Holden commercial vehicle range also began to include ambulances, which were developed on either the panel van or One-Tonner platforms.
The Sandman option package, which had been developed and released during the production of the HQ range, was also continued. Based on the panel van and utility models, the Sandman was promoted as a sportier ute or a panel van aimed at the younger crowd. The panel van in particular was aimed at the camping and surfer market. With bucket seats, sports instrumentation, GTS accessories, the option of a 4.2L or 5.0L V8 engine, and even a built in tent, the Sandman was a fun addition to the Holden lineup.
In 1975, General Motors Holden built a limited production of the “Kingswood Vacationer”, which had also been developed and produced during the previous model. The concept behind the Vacationer was that GM-H was trying to produce something like an ultimate factory model. It did this by adding the most popular additional accessories from its extensive catalogue of extras and pricing the car at a slightly reduced cost.
GM-H produced 176,202 units of the HJ model from October 1974 until July 1976 when it was replaced by the HX Holden.