HOLDEN IT TOGETHER

THE HOLDEN FACTORY AT ELIZABETH MAY HAVE CLOSED DOWN, BUT SPIRITS WERE HIGH AT ADELAIDE’S WIGLEY RESERVE FOR THE 8TH ALL HOLDEN DAY

STORY DAVE CAREY PHOTOS TROY BARKER

METRES from the beach, surrounded by Norfolk Island pines and perpetually kissed by a gentle sea breeze, Glenelg’s Wigley Reserve is a prime place to be on a summer’s day. Add about 300 Monaros, Kingswoods, Commodores and a lone Camira, and you’re in Holden heaven!

Holden was cranking out family sedans and muscle machines by the hundreds just north of here until October last year. How had the demise of locally built Lions changed things for Holden fans? Would the 8th All Holden Day be a car show, or a wake? Street Machine went along to find out.

The FB/EK Holden Car Club of SA runs the All Holden Day, originally establishing it as an event for early Holdens only, before expanding to all of the General’s Aussie offerings the following year. “People love this event because it’s so casual; that’s why we don’t do trophies,” said organiser Roger Beale, custodian of an awesome, rat-spec EK wagon. “And it’s the cheapest all-day parking you’ll get down Holdfast Bay!”

Despite the still-raw realisation that Adelaide will never again churn out Holdens by the thousand, Roger reckoned the vibe of the event remained upbeat. “There’s been no change to the atmosphere. You see the guys with VF GTSs up here, and the FEs and FCs over there,” he said, gesturing to various parts of the reserve. “They’ll all still coming – although the FE guys are getting older!”

JOHN MCCULLOCH’S SURVIVOR FJ CUSTOM SEDAN STOOD OUT TO RAZZ UP THE ESTABLISHMENT

PROUD OWNERS HAD PREENED THEIR CARS SIMPLY FOR THE LOVE OF IT; THERE WAS NO REWARD EXCEPT TO HAVE THEM ADMIRED

We took a walk amongst Holdens of all shapes and sizes, dating from 1948 to (almost) the present day. Proud owners had preened their cars for the day simply for the love of it; there was no reward except to have their cars admired. Tubbed Toranas sat tough next to Adelaide-spec Monaros sporting fat-and-skinny Center Lines and reverse-cowl scoops. The FJ boys were more about the restorations, although John McCulloch’s survivor FJ custom sedan stood out to razz up the establishment.

It’s still early days since GM packed its bags and abandoned its spiritual home – after all, James A Holden established his saddlery business here in 1856 – but if the All Holden Day was anything to go by, the passion amongst Holden fans shows no signs of abating. And with plenty of young blokes rolling into the event with VZ SS Commodores and airbagged V8 Statos, it’s likely to stick around for some time yet.