As Holden prepares to wind down its assembly operations, TMR has learnt that the last Commodore to leave the line will be an SS-V Redline sedan with a six speed manual, finished in Redhot duco.
While that specification honours Holden’s performance heritage and is sure to please enthusiasts, it also means the last car off the line will feature an imported engine rather than the Port Melbourne-built V6 of lesser models.
Today’s assembly line closure signals the end of 69 years of producing Holdens in Australia, with a tally of almost seven million vehicles. At its peak Holden commanded a market share of greater than 50 percent of Australia’s new car sales.
Thanks to the importance of the V8 engine to Holden and its fans the 304kW 6.2-litre V8 has been chosen as the farewell model from Holden’s Elizabeth, South Australia factory.
The SS range has proven popular throughout 2017, accounting for well over half the Commodores produced this year as enthusiasts snapped up what will go down as a piece of Holden history. The V8 has also been the basis of an important export program to America in recent years.
Unlike Ford and Toyota’s staged shutdown programs that saw models and variants wrapped up before each manufacturer’s local closure, Holden is expected to precede the SS-V Redline sedan with the other three body styles still being produced at its South Australian factory: a Commodore Sportwagon, a long wheelbase Caprice and the classic Holden ute.
Those four cars will be added to the Holden Heritage collection that includes models from across the decades of manufacturing.
Communications director Sean Poppitt would not discuss which vehicles would be last off the Elizabeth production line, adding that more details would follow throughout what will be a difficult day for the brand.
“We’ll confirm details of the final cars later in the day,” said Poppitt.
The first car Holden produced wearing a Holden badge was the 48-215, better known as the FX and revealed on November 29, 1948.
Since then the company has produced nameplates as iconic as Kingswood, Monaro, Commodore and Sandman, helping shape Australian culture along the way.
In December 2013 Holden announced it could no longer maintain a viable production presence in Australia.
When that final Commodore SS-V Redline rolls off the production line today it will pull the shutters down on an industry that has formed a major part of the Australian economy for more than 100 years.
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