The first production model Holden rolled off the assembly line at Fisherman's Bend, Victoria, on 29 November 1948. An icon of Australian society for more than half a century, Holden cars tapped into national postwar aspirations and represented the development of Australian industry and commerce. The last Holden was made in Australia in 2017.
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The launch of Australia’s first locally made mass-production car was a milestone in Australian manufacturing.
For 25 years Molly Goodall drove and cared for this 1955 Holden Special Sedan.
One of three test Holden sedans built by hand in 1946 by American and Australian engineers at in Detroit.
An early FX Holden owned by Australian industrialist Essington Lewis.
Australia’s own car
In 1944 the American parent company of General Motors-Holden approved the creation of an Australian-built car, in readiness for a transition from wartime to peacetime production.
Robust, economical and designed for Australian conditions, the Holden was marketed as 'Australia's own car'. By 1958, sales accounted for 43 per cent of total car sales in Australia. A million had been sold by 1960 and, despite growing market competition, another million would be sold over the next six years.
Icon of postwar Australia
Holden was a pioneer of the nation's automobile industry and contributed significantly to the increasing prosperity of Australians in the postwar years. A Holden was the first car owned by many Australians. Various models have been celebrated in popular culture, including music, art, film, television and even pinball machines.
End of an era
Australian-made car manufacturing ended in 2017 after General Motors announced it was leaving the locally-made car market in Australia and New Zealand.
The National Museum of Australia acquired a four-door Calais sedan, one of the last vehicles to roll off the Holden production line before the Elizabeth factory in South Australia closed on 20 October 2017.
General Motors supplied Holden dealers with rebadged cars from its subsidiary companies. In February 2020, General Motors announced the Holden brand would be retired by 2021.
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