by: Keith Edwards
January 26, 2021
With 2021 spelling the end of the road for GM’s celebrated Australian brand Holden, the team at Wagon Source felt an unusually strong sense of mourning for a brand never officially seen on American roads. Not only was Holden a storied make most comparable to being the Chevrolet of Australia, they were makers of go-fast, haul-anything sport wagons. That’s an easy way to earn our admiration.
Holden consistently offered wagons in their lineup from 1957 all the way through the end. Having driven absolutely none of them, here are a few of our favorites from abroad:
Holden Commodore (VE) SS V-Series Special Edition Sportwagon
We know what you’re thinking. No, Pontiac never offered a G8 wagon here in the United States. But for a short while in Australia, Holden let buyers come close with the Commodore SS V-Series Special Edition Sportwagon. Based on the VE generation of Commodore, the SS V-Series Special Edition was essentially a clever way of using up excess G8 hoods, bumpers, and grills when the Pontiac brand was shut down in April of 2009.
The SS V-Series Special Edition added these extra Pontiac bits to the recipe we already loved the Commodore for: a 6.0L naturally-aspirated V8, rear-wheel drive, and a standard 6-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic was optional for $2,000 AUS, but we know which version we want to import 12 years from now.
Between 2003 and 2006, the Holden Adventra gave Australian Subaru buyers a serious reason to stop by the Holden showroom. Originally based on the VY generation Commodore, Adventra models featured All-wheel drive, a 5.7L V8, a lifted suspension for light off-roading, and rugged body cladding and roof racks. Holden even offered an optional third-row bench.
While the Adventra was never the sales success Holden had hoped for it, the rugged concept behind the Adventra now feels particularly modern.
An honorable mention goes to the HSV Avalanche, an insane HSV-tuned version of the Adventra that pumped out 360 hp and permanently sent 62% of its power to the rear wheels.
Holden (HZ) Kingswood
One of the most captivating things about Holden to Americans is their remarkable similarity to American cars, while having just enough of a unique presence to be different (funny steering wheel placement aside). Large wagons similar to the Holden Kingswood once dominated American parking lots, but this family-haulin’ Holden beats any late ‘70’s American wagon for one simple reason.
Side. Window. Louvres.
Sure, they look remarkably like Venetian blinds, but have you seen them on any other wagon?
The Kingswood also earns bonus points for the hood visor not seen on American cars since the 1950’s, a rear spoiler, roof racks, and a retractable rear window.
The Jump Seat: Which Holden wagons did we miss? Have a favorite Holden wagon that we missed? Were we way off-base (we did say we haven’t driven any!)? Let us know at email@example.com, and we may feature your answer in our follow-up list of our reader’s favorite Holden wagons.