Stately Hold­ens

The Holden States­man and Caprice clearly stood apart, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

FOR much of their ex­is­tence the States­man and its Caprice big brother played sec­ond fid­dle to the all-pow­er­ful Ford Fair­lane and LTD, but af­ter the demise of the Ford duo they reigned alone in the mar­ket.

As much as Holden tried it seemed there was noth­ing they could do to dent the dom­i­nance of the big Fords, even though they fol­lowed the same proven for­mula for build­ing a big car off a reg­u­lar pas­sen­ger car plat­form.

The for­mula was sim­ple enough; sim­ply stretch the wheel­base to cre­ate a mas­sive back seat, en­large the boot, tune the ride for com­fort, and add some bling to give it pres­tige ap­peal.

Model watch

LIKE all pre­vi­ous mod­els in the States­man and Caprice line the WM was based on the main­stream pas­sen­ger car model of the day. With the WM that was the VE Com­modore.

The trick with the big­ger mod­els was to dis­tin­guish them from their lesser sib­lings so buy­ers felt like they were buy­ing some­thing spe­cial.

That was achieved mostly by ex­tend­ing the wheel­base of the VE by 94mm and the over­all length by 266mm, which was used to in­crease the rear cabin space and the boot.

The pro­file was smoothed and re­fined to achieve a vis­ual bal­ance with the new, longer body, and there was ex­tra chrome trim and badges.

The fi­nal re­sult was an el­e­gant sedan that clearly stood apart from the run-of-the-mill Hold­ens.

Holden of­fered two mod­els in the WM range, the States­man and the range-top­ping Caprice, es­sen­tially dif­fer­en­ti­ated by trim and fea­tures.

Both could be spec­i­fied with ei­ther the 3.6-litre high-out­put Al­loytec V6, putting out 195kW at 6500 revs and 340Nm at 2600 revs, or the 6.0-litre V8 with 270kW at 5700 revs and 530Nm at 4400 revs.

The V6 came with a five-speed auto with shift pad­dles for man­ual shift­ing, and the V8 came with a six-speed auto that also fea­tured tap-up/tap­down pad­dle shift­ing.

Un­der­neath the chas­sis was in essence the same as the VE, with mul­ti­link in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion front and rear, front mounted steer­ing rack, and large disc brakes.

It was an awe­some pack­age that han­dled with the aplomb of a much smaller car.

In­side the States­man had wood­grain high­lights, power front seats, front and rear park as­sist, rain­sens­ing wipers, pow­er­ful 11-speaker CD sound, MP3 and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity.

The Caprice badges also called into play alu­minium ac­cents, deep bol­stered sports seats, leather and suede trim, Bose pre­mium sound, and Tri-zone air.

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