While Japanese imports are cheaper to buy, cheaper to repair and more readily available, it’s not that long ago that Australia was actually pretty good at making cars too. Here’s our salute to 10 classic cars we’re proud to say are Aussie icons.
1. Holden Sandman
Panel vans are synonymous with the 1970s, and Australia had its own beauty, the Holden Sandman. As the name suggests the Sandman was the no.1 beach car for the young and hip, not to mention, ideal for lugging surfboards around.
2. Holden Torana
Holden Toranas were the V8 racing cars of the late 60s to the early 80s, and are still popular cars to drive in classic car race events. Known as ‘mini muscle cars’ the name Torana is Aboriginal meaning ‘to fly’.
3. Datsun 200B
The Datsun 200B was Australia’s top selling four-cylinder car in the late 1970s and its sturdy clean lines and roomy interior were a big hit with families. A drawback (though not for hoons) was the noisy exhaust. Today this is a sought after car for classic enthusiasts.
4. Holden HK Monaro
The Holden HK Monaro is a two door hardtop coupe named after the Monaro region in New South Wales. Its sporty appearance was proved legitimate when it gave Holden its first win at the Bathurst 500 in 1968. It also won car of the year in 1968 for Wheels Magazine.
5. Valiant Charger
Intended for street use, and occasional drag racing, the Valiant Charger took Australia by storm in 1971. The muscle car was a short wheelbase two-door valiant coupe produced by Chrysler and had a clean, sporty look.
6. Holden FJ
Holden’s FJ was its second model manufactured and was a popular post-war car for families in 1953. It came in a sedan, a coupe utility and a panel van. The car is so iconic that there are approximately 20 car clubs around Australia dedicated to its preservation.
7. The Ute
It’s half truck, half car and more commonly known as ‘the ute’ (short for utility vehicle) but there’s no doubt Aussies love them. Ford first produced an Australian ute in 1934 in response to a letter from a farmer’s wife asking for a vehicle to go to church on Sunday and to take the pigs to market on Monday.
8. Holden VL Commodore
Back in the late 80s anyone who was anyone owned an Holden VL Commodore and the craze has existed well into the 2000s. Young males especially love VL Commodores (probably because of the turbocharger) and there are a surprising number still around that are tidy and well modified for their age.
9. Ford Falcon GT
Produced by Ford between 1967 and 1976, the Falcon GT was affectionately known as a “Shaker” because of the shaking action of the bonnet when it was idling. It can reach a top speed of 225 kmph. The grunty looking muscle car was, and still is, an incredibly popular car for classic enthusiasts.
10. Holden Kingswood
The Holden Kingswood was so popular in the 1970’s and 1980s that it had a sitcom named after it (Kingswood Country). It was an ideal family car and offered both luxury and mobility at an affordable price. It was also very versatile coming in a two-door coupe ute, a three-door panel van, a four-door sedan and a five-door station wagon.