FUTURE SHAPED

THE CONCEPT CAR HIGHS FROM FIVE DECADES OF DREAMING BIG

WORDS: JAMES WHITBOURN

HOLDEN 1948 2017 FORM GUIDE

1969 HURRICANE

THE ICONIC Hurricane concept was GM-H’s first, and came about and Australian engineering In the late 1960s there appetite for affordable General Motors to consider of a halo model for After a succession including the EJ, EH from the Holden design redesigned in Detroit President of Design, design team needed In 1966, 18 months of the HK series, a small dedicated where young Ted Schroeder and Phil series of front- and themes that progressed tape drawings and scale particular was suited returned from the US Larry Shinoda in GM’s With Holden engineers, and packaging concepts presented to management surrounded by contemporaries Jaguar E Type, Aston ane via American inspiration eering nous. here was a growing le sports cars, which led nsider the development Holden. of production models, and HD, were snatched gn department and under GM’s then-Vice Bill Mitchell, the local a confidence boost. before the introduction mall work space was ng designers, including hil Zmood, developed a mid-engined sports car ed from sketches to ale models. Zmood in to the task, having just S where he worked with M’s Corvette studio. eers, a variety of design pts were developed and ment as scale models, mporaries such as a Martin DB6 and C2 Corvette Stingray. But this was as far as the Hurricane precursor got.

With the focus on preparing for the introduction of the HK and maintaining market share, management would not commit further funding and the project was canned.

The Hurricane was born in 1968 in part to showcase the introduction of Holden’s locally manufactured 4.2-litre (253ci) V8.

The concept’s scale, clay model form –

penned by GM designer Ken Genest – arrived at Fishermans Bend from the US in a crate, with American designer Don Daharsh in tow.

Daharsh worked with local engineers to bring the concept to reality. The original scale model underwent a number of changes, including the addition of a one-piece roof canopy, before a full-size model was signed off.

Interestingly, Daharsh was written out of the plot in contemporary press material, by a GM-H keen to promote the local story.

Given the prototype’s radical design and innovative features, which included digital instruments, a rear-view camera and ‘Pathfinder’, a crude early nav system, the cast-iron pushrod engine mounted rear-mid in the chassis hardly seemed the highlight.

Yet the sleek, one-off Hurricane captured Australia’s imagination and elevated Holden’s image as a brand with a vision.

GTR-X 1970

IN JULY 1969, when the GTR-X program was announced, the high levels of scepticism in Holden’s technical centre were not surprising.

But unlike Holden’s outlandish earlier sports car endeavours, the GTR-X was developed with a view to low-volume production, and set out with realistic expectations, borrowing much of its driveline and mechanicals from the newly released six-cylinder LC Torana.

Part of the design department’s auditorium was partitioned for concept sketching and clay modelling, based on a front-engine, rear-drive layout and body-on-frame construction.

Both the exterior and interior were designed by a local team that included Phil Zmood and Don Daharsh. Drawing on GM’s Corvette experience, the body was designed for manufacture in fibreglass. The exterior moved through a series of iterations before the striking final design was approved.

The GTR-X owed little to its sports car contemporaries, instead establishing its own identity and character.

The interior was drawn up as a full-size tape drawing, a timber seating buck fabricated, and then clay was added.

As work on the prototype progressed in testing, challenging acceptance GTR-alongside destroyed. partnership between the design department and the experimental engineering workshop, the full-size clay model was transferred to a local fibreglass manufacturer. Multiple body shells were produced, then returned to and electrical ng, and with ng business tance of a R-X project has since , while Holden for a time de Holden’s estroyed. r Fishermans Bend for mechanical assembly, development and testin provisions to satisfy ADRs.

Ultimately, though, a challengin case and concerns over the accept fibreglass-bodied car saw the GTR cancelled at this advanced stage.

One complete car survived and been restored as a museum piece, another body was salvaged by a H employee. The remaining bodies, unceremoniously stacked alongsid Technical Centre canteen, were de

COUPE 60 2008

GIVEN it generated a similar frenzy of public reaction to the concept that heralded the second coming of Monaro a decade earlier, 2008’s Holden Coupe 60 concept could well have followed in its tyre marks to become the third and final Holden Monaro rebirth.

The VE Commodore-derived Coupe 60 stepped out at the Melbourne motorshow as a surprise to onlookers as well as many Holden insiders. The decision to reveal the two-tw o -door concept was driven by Holden’s 60th anniversary, despite the fact the project had been shelved around three years earlier.

The squat, muscular coupe brought race-car cues including the lower front blade splitter and rear diffuser, 21-inch centre-lock wheels, and bellowing side-exit exhaust. The rolling Zeta chassis and LS2 V8 running gear were pure VE SS.

Yet after thorough analysis Holden concluded that, sadly, without an export market – it would have cut Camaro’s grass in the US – the Coupe 60 would remain a $2.5-million one-off.

EFIJY 2005

THE HOLDEN Efijy was the standout at the 2005 Sydney surely the most outlandish, concept of the modern While concepts Efijy instead gazed iconic form of the 1953 reinterpreted for the liberal application of customcar craft.

The result was a show wider and lower than but with 1950s signatures chromed tail-light bezels grille brightwork intact.

Beneath the old-world the Efijy bristled with best-from the GM parts bin, including stretched Corvette chassis, and a blown, 480kW 6.0-litre Efijy was a passion project Holden’s design chief Richard creation lauded both here and still stands as a stylistic and creative point in Holden’s history. motorshow, and remains utlandish, daring Holden dern era. preview the future, the back, drawing on the 953 FJ, which was e new millennium via a mid-century customow car much longer, an FJ Holden, res such as its s and broad facade, st-of bits cluding a , transaxle re V8. t for d Ferlazzo; a d overseas, and eative high THIS FEATURE WAS COMPILED WITH ASSISTANCE FROM AUTOMOTIVE DESIGNER PAUL BERANGER, WHOSE BOOK, CRAYON TO CAD: A POST-WAR HISTORY OF AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN IN AUSTRALIA, IS OUT Q1 NEXT YEAR

TORANA TT36 2004

IN HINDSIGHT, the concept of a locally designed and built medium-size performance car might have been the saviour Holden needed, and even in 2004 the idea of a reborn Torana held plenty of appeal.

A brief that called for a hi-po four-door sedan that delivered BMW 5 Series space in a 3 Series-sized package held huge promise.

The Torana TT36 was designed on a shortened version of the new Zeta platform, the Alloytec 3.6-litre V6 prompted the ‘36’ while twin turbos took care of the rest of the title, and delivered the 280kW and 480Nm outputs.

Few makers have adopted the TT36’s all-white interior but elements such as the mood lighting and in-headrest screens have since filtered mainstream.

It was envisaged that would give rise to a range variants, including a V8. Alas, even for a buoyant Holden, forging from concept production for an ambitious as the Torana TT36 was eadrest infotainment red into the the concept ge of production . Yes, please. ant mid-millennial ncept to ious project such a bridge too far.

SSX 2002

THINK large, all-wheel-drive liftback today, mind might go straight to an Sportback. The Lion was ahead of when it had a crack at the 2002’s SSX Concept. front, it could be a hottedup your eyes linger longer the flared arches to wider tracks – 54mm wider 93mm at the rear – as part drive set-up that heralded the Holden Adventra Holden designer Max differentiated the SSX, 200mm rewards in coupe-like profile, C-pillars styled after contemporary Monaro. opened this is clearly part-ute drop-down oddity. largely forgotten, to the arrival liftback, however some graced the VZ headlights, large and your min Audi A7 Sport its time, then, genre with 200 From the fron up VY, but let yo and you’ll notice accommodate wid at the front and 9 of an all-wheel-dri the system beneath and HSV Coupe 4.

From the rear, Ho Woolf further differe with the glass shifted the creation of a more complete with broad C those of the contempo With the liftback ope no Commodore, and the tailgate remains an oddi The SSX concept, now l didn’t progress, in part due of a Holden Vectra liftback detail design elements grac Commodore, including head tail-lights and cabin cues.