THE STORY BE­HIND HOLDEN’S LEG­ENDARY HK

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID BUR­RELL

EV­ERY clas­sic car has a de­sign history and how the 1968 HK Holden sedan shape evolved is one of those won­der­ful au­to­mo­tive yarns that gets bet­ter with telling.

The start­ing point chance meet­ing in Fe­bru­ary 1964, be­tween two of Gen­eral Mo­tors (GM) styling ex­ec­u­tives at GM’s de­sign HQ in Detroit. On this day, Joe Sche­man­sky, the newly-ap­pointed boss of Holden styling, is chat­ting with a young Leo Pruneau, guy who will even­tu­ally take over from in Aus­tralia.

The dis­cus­sion is about the forth­com­ing 1968 HK and it is tak­ing place su­per se­cret styling stu­dios where 1966 Oldsmo­bile Toron­ado and Buick Riviera are be­ing shaped side by side.

Sche­man­sky is a highly re­spected GM de­signer whose re­sume in­cludes the first Corvette, the iconic 1955 Chevro­let EH Holden. Pruneau one of new kids on block with grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion for pen­ning stylish “mid-sized “cars. He’s just com­pleted the HD Holden and the 1965 Opel Ad­mi­ral is about to start work on HB Vaux­hall Viva, which will end up as Aus­tralian To­rana.

Talk­ing re­cently with Cars­Guide, Pruneau clearly re­mem­bers that day.

“We were stand­ing next the Riviera and Toron­ado, were still two years away from pro­duc­tion, and Joe turns to me says, ‘Hey Leo, you did the HD I’ve just done HR, so how about you do the HK? Here are all the pack­age and di­men­sion de­tails. Do some full-sized clay mod­els of a sedan that will kick off cre­ative ideas’,” he said. Pruneau shaped four-door sedan

took in­spi­ra­tion from the Riviera and Toron­ado. Armed with Pruneau’s ideas, Sche­man­sky went back to Mel­bourne.

Over the next few years shape was changed meet engi­neer­ing con­sumer taste re­quire­ments and along the way lost its racy vigour.

But by then Sche­man­sky had de­vel­oped Monaro coupe — and we all know that story.

David Bur­rell is ed­i­tor of retroau­tos.com.au

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