HX Holden (1976-77)

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Vehicle Overview

The HX Holden was the third iteration of the seventh generation of Holden vehicles. It was aesthetically very similar to its predecessor the HJ, with only a slight variation to the front-end styling. The HX is distinguishable by its grill, which has pronounced vertical divisions rather than an even mesh, and bold centrally mounted badge.

At the time of its release in 1976, the HX Holden’s biggest market competitor was the Ford XC Falcon. To comply with a new Australian design law related to emissions that had come into force, General Motors Holden opted to add more filtering to the exhaust systems of all HX vehicles. This had the negative effect of reducing power output marginally from previous models, as well as increasing fuel consumption. Conversely, Ford designers had complied with the new emissions rules by redesigning their engines and had actually managed to make them cleaner, faster and more efficient.

With the release of the HX, all models in the Holden range were now fitted with 11-inch power-assisted disc brakes at the front. This was done to replace the less effective drum brakes of previous models and was a long overdue safety upgrade. The steering ratio was increased to give a lighter feel and assist in parking. A control stalk was added to the steering column to operate washers, wipers, headlights and indicators.

As with the HJ Holden, the HX model saw changes in the lineup of the Holden range. The Monaro, which had previously been offered in four different configurations and primarily as a coupe, was only available in one configuration, as a four-door sedan. A limited edition of 580 coupes were produced in September 1976, but were marketed as a Holden coupe rather than a Monaro. These were similar to the top of the range Monaro LS of the HJ model. They came with a 5L V8 engine, air conditioning, electric windows and power steering as standard.

The HX model saw the extension of the commercial range of Holden vehicles with the utility and panel van models growing to include a Kingswood van, as well as the regular production option Sandman ute and van variants. The full commercial range included the One-Tonner chassis-cab truck, Holden branded utes and panel vans, and Kingswood utes and panel vans. There was also a limited number of ambulance models built based on the Holden van or One-Tonner body.

The Sandman took a lot of styling elements from the GTS, such as steel spoke wheels, bucket seats and sports instrumentation, and added wild graphics to the package.

The Belmont, Kingswood and Premier sedans and wagons were the staple of the Holden brand. The wagons had a longer wheelbase than that of the sedans and the rear seats could be folded flat, giving a loading area almost two and a half meters in length. The luxurious Premier models were distinguished by their twin headlights. In addition to the Premier, there were two more luxury vehicles based on the HX design, The Statesman DeVille and Statesman Caprice.

The Statesmans sat on an extended wheelbase and came with a 5L V8 engine and an extensive list of accessories and refinements. GM-H produced the car in an effort to rival European luxury cars of the day and no expense was spared. The Statesman models came with anti-lock brakes on the rear wheels, air conditioning, electrically powered locking and leather upholstery.

There was an extensive catalogue of additional extras available for all vehicles. Though many were purely cosmetic, some were more functional and forward thinking, like a fuel economy indicator light and remote controlled mirrors. A special edition silver Kingswood was produced in 1976 to mark 50 years of General Motors in Australia.

GM-H produced 110,669 units of the HX model from July 1976 until October 1977 when it was replaced by the HZ Holden.