Car manufacturing in Australia died several years ago now, when Ford, Holden and Toyota shuttered their local factories.
That’s not to say the automotive industry went with it. There are still, for example, plenty of engineers and designers working for Ford Australia, while the likes of Walkinshaw, Premcar and RMA Automotive are either fettling utes or remanufacturing them in right-hand drive.
The days, however, of Falcons and Commodores rolling down the assembly line are gone.
As CarExpert was founded a few years after local manufacturing ended, you won’t find any new car reviews of Falcons on our pages – though you may find some excellent ones among our owner reviews.
But while we were established after local manufacturing ended, that hasn’t stopped us from looking back occasionally at its rich history. Here are a few articles to read this weekend if you love Australian brands and locally developed or built vehicles.
10 Holdens you may have forgotten about
Plenty of car manufacturers built vehicles in Australia, from Ford and Toyota to Leyland, but only one mass-market brand wore a distinctly Australian brand name: Holden.
The General Motors brand manufactured vehicles in Australia from 1948 until 2017, limping on for a few more years as an importer before closing its doors at the conclusion of 2020.
During that 72-year run, it offered popular vehicles like the Kingswood and Commodore, but also its fair share of less commercially successful vehicles.
In this article, we look at 10 Holdens that failed to make an impact in Australia and may have receded from your memory entirely.
The car that killed Holden in Australia
Holden had plenty of great cars during its 72-year history as a car manufacturer, but it had its share of duds as well.
Some of them were low-volume imports that made barely a ripple in our market, and were quickly forgotten: the Isuzu-based Piazza, for example.
Some of them, however, were actually quite popular with punters, but soon received a reputation for poor quality and reliability.
In this article, we look at one long-lived imported Holden that sold like hotcakes but did little to help the brand’s reputation.
Passports please! Australia’s best (and worst) automotive exports
When Australia built cars, they were exported all over the world, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South America.
It wasn’t just Holden Commodores with Chevrolet badges that rolled off ships from Australia, either. Companies like Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota also built cars here both for local consumption and global exports. Some of these cars from Japanese brands were even exported back to Japan.
In this article, we look at some of the vehicles proudly built in and exported from Australia.
10 Fords you may have forgotten about
Ford might be an American brand originally, but thanks to models like the Falcon, Fairlane, LTD and Territory it was regarded as proudly Australian. Even today, after local manufacturing has ended, it still has an established engineering and design presence Down Under.
Over the years, Ford Australia has rolled out everything from quirky city cars to full-sized pickup trucks.
In this two-part article, we look at obscure Aussie Fords like the luxurious Landau, as well as slow-selling imports like the Laser Lynx. MORE: 10 Fords you may have forgotten: Part IMORE: 10 Fords you may have forgotten: Part II
Holden Monaro Convertible: Australia’s Mercedes-Benz SL that almost was
For several decades, HSV took workaday Holdens and worked them over to be more powerful and dynamic. HSV put its name on everything from sedans and utes to wagons, coupes and even a crossover.
One thing it never offered, however, was a convertible. But it wanted to.
HSV worked with a company called Maverick Motors on a convertible conversion of the Holden VN Commodore, which would have dusted off the dormant Monaro nameplate.
Alas, the project ended up being scrapped. The Monaro nameplate returned in 2001, but it graced only a coupe (incidentally, HSV’s version was blandly called the HSV Coupe) despite a convertible prototype being built. No HSV convertible ever reached showrooms.
Paul Maric got a chance to drive the VN-based Monaro Convertible prototype, which HSV held onto until 2012 when it shifted hands.
10 Chryslers you may have forgotten about
It’s but a distant memory, but Chrysler once manufactured cars in Australia before it closed up shop… only to return again, and leave again.
Chrysler Australia is best remembered for the Valiant, which battled the likes of the Ford Falcon and Holden models like the Kingswood.
The Valiant spawned utes, panel vans, multiple coupes and luxury models. In this article, we look at many of these Valiant models, plus some other Chryslers, both locally built and imported.
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