Ode to a Holden Kingswood

I drove a 1974 (or was it 1975?) Holden HQ Kingswood from 1986 until 2002 when I stupidly left it behind in Australia. Last time I cried in public. Really.

Holden Kingswood HQ 1974Holden Kingswood HQ 1974

Most of you don't have a clue what an HQ is, but if I tell you it had a three-seater vinyl bench seat in the front (that I fitted with wooden-bead seat covers) and three-on-the-tree column gearshift, you'll get the idea.

I drove that car so long I could parallel park it in its own length or double-declutch it into first taking the Hoddle Street hill while changing lanes in peak hour traffic. It took six people, all their gear and their beer, and Cold Chisel [you foreigners download some] on the stereo sounded like a train smash in heaven. It's cruising speed was 30kph over the legal limit, it had more go than a burnt cat, and it could get many places that a 4WD could (they were designed as "farmer's cars" with enough room for a bale of hay in the boot/trunk).

It cost next to nothing for service and parts. Of course it drank petrol but not as badly as a V8 - it had what was reportedly a reworked 1950s Chev 202 cu.in. straight-six truck motor in it that was virtually unbreakable. It took the fireroads of the Blue Mountains and the four lanes of the Hume Highway in equal comfort (admittedly not much of that: the only "aircon" was the manual window-winder handle in the door. But with all the windows down in the Aussie heat and shirts off listening to Midnight Oil [download them too] nobody cared much. In winter the heater rocked).

It had no airbags, and the seatbelts only recoiled because I fitted new ones. But in a collision it was the other car that needed the airbags. There were reportedly a quarter of a million Holdens running around Australia (they are much rarer in NZ - the sea air kills everything). Every mechanic learned on them. Every back-blocks service station had parts. They don't die unless you shoot them.

Now Holden make huge tin boys-toys with as many computers as a Jumbo jet and electric everything. They still guzzle gas and they still take off like a bee bit them, but they regularly score next-to-bottom of the heap on reliability surveys, just ahead of Fords. The Japanese piss all over them.

I want that Kingswood back.


I bought a Kingy

I bought a new one, or more precisely my 15-year-old son has learned the Kingy magic from me and bought one with a bit of help from me http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=782972734

It's a wreck. I hope we can make it go again...

my green kingswood

I had a lime green kingswood that just went and went and went. I remember on a camping trip drive home it had a filling shaking vibration that would make the tape player sound like it was under water. The vibration eased between 90 and 95 kilometers per hour - which would have been ok but it was also prone to surge and splutter between 80 and 90. So you had the choice.... BUT despite these horrible afflictions the car just kept going and going.
It was known as 'the fridge' amongst any who rode in her, as the heater had long since given up. I remember driving down to Melbourne with many jackets on and a blanket across my knees.

I live in Ireland now and drive a comfortable ford focus, but what I wouldnt give to have a Kingswood like that one again