With energy prices rising, switch to a cheaper plan
Compare Prices Now

6 things you didn’t know about Holden

Some fascinating facts about Australia’s favourite car

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Holden is as Australian as football, meat pies, kangaroos and, well, Holden cars. Or so the classic advert goes. Here are six facts you probably didn’t know about Holden.

1. The Holden company didn't build a car until 92 years after it opened for business

Holden started life as J.A. Holden & Co, a leather and saddlery making business in Adelaide. The year was 1856. The company merged with a carriage maker in 1885 and started trimming and repairing motor vehicle interiors in 1910.

It wasn’t until 1914 that Holden built their first car body. In 1936, the company began planning to build its first all-Australian car, but WWII put those plans on ice. The first Holden car finally came to fruition in 1948.

2. The first Holden car was called “The Holden”

Ben Chifley Holden

Ben Chifley and The Holden. Source: News Ltd

The first proper Holden car was the 48-215, which was built upon a pre-war Chevrolet design that never made it into production.

In 1948, 400 guests gathered to see Prime Minister Ben Chifley unveil the new sedan, a cream Holden 48-215, the first off the production line.

While the company did consider giving it a model name, with suggestions like “Woomerah”, “Emu” and “Austral” in the mix, in marketing materials it went by "The Holden".

3. Holden trams?

Holden has led a varied and historied life. The company has made everything from golf-club heads, fruit-packing cases, horse saddles, filing cabinets, torpedo engines and even trams.

4. The Holden Lion was born in 1928

The famous Holden lion didn’t make an appearance until 1928. Holden hired sculptor George Rayner Hoff to create the logo.

Hoff used an ancient fable as the basis for his work, opting for when man observed a lion rolling a stone around and decided to invent the wheel. Hoff’s other work includes the ANZAC war memorial in Hyde Park.

Before the illustrious lion, Holden’s logo depicted a winged worker kneeling in front of its factory.

5. Holden, list of firsts

Holden leads the way in Australian firsts for car design. In the 1960s, the car maker became the first domestic market manufacturer to fit seatbelts. To demonstrate the strength of these lap belts, marketers suspended a Holden from a crane by a single strap. Underneath, a second car hung on a seatbelt. Unfortunately, the crane driver got a bit erratic and a steel buckle split. The topmost car fell onto the lower one, squashing it in the process.

Source: hrc.org.au

The 1993 Commodores were the first cars fitted with an airbag. The 1981 models featured the first trip computer and cruise control on an Australian-built car. In that same year came the Holden Rodeo, the company’s first 4WD model as well as the TE Gemini, the first locally produced diesel passenger car. In 1986, Holden introduced the first turbocharger and 1995 laid claim to the first superchargers.

6. Delving into alternative energies

Peter Brock was an incredibly successful racing driver, with nine Bathurst 1000 wins. He had a close relationship with Holden until he pushed for the use of an energy polariser. The crystal/magnet device supposedly aligned a car's molecules and even absorbed impacts from bumps and lowered cabin noise. Failing to see any results from the crystals, Holden parted ways with Peter Brock and turned to competitor Tom Walkinshaw to create HSV.

Looking to buy a Holden?

If you’re looking to buy a roaring lion-badged car, check out our Holden reviews section. If you’re looking for no-surprises car ownership with all-inclusive fees, Holden’s ridesharing service might be up your street.

If you’ve got an old Commodore or Torana in a shed out in the yard, you may be sitting on some cash unknowingly!

You can also read a number of reviews from various manufacturers at our car reviews section.

Holden to close after 160 years of operations

In February 2020, GM announced Holden would close in 2021. Rear the announcement here.

Latest car headlines

Picture: Shutterstock

More guides on Finder

  • Stratton Finance Used Car Loan

    A used car loan with high borrowing amounts and both secured and unsecured options.

  • CarClarity Car Loan

    Find the best car loan for your circumstances with CarClarity. Rates start from just 3.35% p.a. and borrowers can apply for loans from $10,000 to $250,000 for new and used cars.

  • Great Southern Bank Fixed Rate Car Loan

    If you’re in the market for a new car, the Great Southern Bank Fixed Rate Car Loan may be able to give you the funds you need. With the security of a fixed rate and flexible repayments, this loan might be what you need to own your new set of wheels.

  • Car loan statistics 2021

    Finder research shows 2.7 million Australians have a car loan. Find out how much Aussies are borrowing, and how this has changed over time.

  • Alex Car Loan

    Opt for an Alex car loan and receive a personalised interest rate from 6.95% to 19.99%. Alex's car loans have no ongoing fees and are available from $2,100 to $30,000.

  • Toyota RAV4 car loans

    Compare car loans and discover prices and specs of the Toyota RAV4.

  • Stratton Finance caravan loan review

    Apply for a caravan loan with finance broker Stratton Finance and receive an interest rate from 5.49% p.a.

  • Stratton Finance boat loan review

    Stratton Finance's boat loans range from $10,000 to $200,000 with rates from 5.99% p.a. Secured and unsecured options available.

  • OurMoneyMarket Car Loan

    Get a loan for a new or used vehicle from $2,001 to $75,000. Rates start at just 5.35% p.a. and loan terms vary from 1 to 7 years.

  • Upcoming hybrid and electric car comparison

    Compare soon-to-launch electric and hybrid cars.

Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for IMB New Car Loan
IMB New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.

Logo for Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.69% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.

Logo for RACV New Car Loans
RACV New Car Loans

You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.

Logo for NRMA New Car Loan
NRMA New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site