1972 HOLDEN HQ SS
If you were silly enough to hesitate, you would have missed out on buying this car new. Holden originally planned to make only 1500 of these beauties, but a mad rush through the dealerships saw them having to pump out a second batch of 1300. Why such demand? We reckon it was the looks. As then GMH designer Leo Pruneau revealed to us, this was a cheap and cheerful model done with next to no budget. Essentially a dressed-up Belmont, you got a V8 in riotous colours (Ultra Violet, Infra Red or Lettuce Alone green) for just $3500 on the road. A bargain, even then. “They were so hard to get,” recalls owner Hayden Pilgrim. “You really didn’t get a choice of colour – you couldn’t go to your dealer and say I want a red one, because the dealer got what he got.”
Actually, the spec wasn’t half bad: GMH’s 253 V8 was never the most powerful thing out there, but it sounded good, had tons of low-end urge and was famously bulletproof. That was mated to an M20 four-speed manual transmission, plus a Monaro 3.36 differential. It was a bit leisurely across the quarter at around 17.5 seconds.
Inside the first batch of cars you scored distinctive hounds-tooth upholstery, while the stripes and SS badging (the first time the now famous monicker was used) was supplied by 3M. General appointments were sparse in some areas. If you wanted an interior light, armrests or power steering, there were all extra cost.
You may have seen this car before. It’s owned by Hayden and Margaret Pilgrim, who bought it from a GMH employee when the car was but a pup. A tribe of kids have been brought up in it, though these days it’s more of a pet than family transport. The couple administers a club for the model.