Stillborn HDT liveries
Former GM-H stylist Paul Beranger shares some never before published HDT paint schemes that didn’t make it onto the grid. And backgrounds the ones that did.
Holden’s styling studios must have been a hip and happening place to work in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As conservatism gave way to free expression, the designers at Fishermans Bend went to town, conjuring up such creations as the Hurricane concept car, the two-seater GTR-X sports coupe, various lairy-looking muscle cars and, ultimately, the Sandman.
Motor racing’s popularity was also on the rise, with the company finding a way to circumvent GM’s no-racing policy, via the Holden Dealer Team. This provided a further and welcome creative outlet for the fertile minds that populated Port Melbourne.
One of the studio’s junior stylists tasked with brainstorming and rendering HDT paint and graphic concepts was Paul Beranger. A number of Beranger’s stillborn Sandman sketches were published in AMC #75. These were paint schemes and decals for the shaggin’ wagon that never made it into dealerships.“Ninety-five percent of the ideas that designers come up with ended up on the cutting room floor,” he explained.
Beranger cut his teeth as an automotive stylist at General Motors-Holden and wrapped up his career as design boss at Toyota Australia not so long ago. In between was a variety of roles, including heading Nissan’s Special Vehicle Operations, which spawned the locally-built, highly acclaimed GTS Silhouette of the late ‘80s.
One of Beranger’s first jobs at Holden was to devise the Bathurst ‘68 paint schemes worn by the factory-backed Monaro GTS 327s of the Holden Dealer Racing Team. This was the forerunner to the more widely known Harry Firthled HDT, which was formed the following year.
“The culture at Holden was that we were not in motorsport,” Beranger recalls. “It was frustrating because, up at Broadmeadows, Ford were in motorsport. So we were very enthusiastic when any motor racing work came through the door – and the first time it came through the door was soon after I joined Holden. I’d been a motorsport nut all my life, so I was very excited when my