Unique Cars - - LUXO LAND YACHTS -

You can eas­ily imag­ine t he in­terna l strug­gle some­one might go through when pre­sented with the choice bet ween Fairlane and States­man. Both were pop­u­lar with busi­ness own­ers, com­mer­cial trav­ellers and any­one who had (or wanted) to rack up long miles in a big comfortable car t hat wasn’t go­ing to let them down. So Holden and Ford made sure the choice wasn’t easy.

Of course this was much less of a drama is if you had some sort of sen­ti­menta l a lle­giance to a par­tic­u­lar model. For Con Raphael, it was a ll about buy­ing back some­thing he re­gret­ted sell­ing. There had been a gold States­man parked in his drive­way many years ago and he even­tua lly traded it. That turned out to be a mista ke so, about a decade ago, he went hunt­ing and bought the clos­est thing he could f ind to his f irst.

It’s a 1977 HX, with a 308 V8 run­ning a Quadra­jet and Turbo 400 trans­mis­sion. A me­chanic by trade, Con reck­ons the red 308 is ul­tra-tough and easy to look af­ter. Keep up t he oil changes and you’ll be right. The blue version of t his en­gine runs a sin­gle in­stead of a dou­ble-row tim­ing chain, which f logs out sooner. If t hat’s t he case wit h yours, he sug­gests do­ing t he (easy) con­ver­sion.

Emis­sion reg ula­tions were ta k ing ef­fect by 1977, which had an im­pact on power out­put.

As for t he trans­mis­sion, t he T400 is tough though it does suck up more power than the later T350.

This model was built just be­fore t he in­tro­duc­tion of GMH’s ra­dia l tuned sus­pen­sion, which did a lot to tidy up t he han­dling of t his and the Kingswood se­ries. How­ever the HX, with some fresh bushes and dampers, can be made to be­have re­spectably.

Some­thing that caught our at­ten­tion was t he un­usual ‘sports’ dash and steer­ing wheel, plus a few ot her litt le cos­metic up­grades. Had some­one been get­ting cre­ative in t heir shed? Ap­par­ently not. Con reck­ons the car was or­dered by a Holden staffer, who spec­i­fied the Monaro dash and wheel, along with a few ex­tras nor­mally reser ved for the more up­mar­ket DeVille.

The ba­sic shape of t his car went back as far as the HQ States­man, which in turn en­joyed some strong Cadil­lac inf lu­ences. In HQ form it sold over 18,000 units – a re­spectable num­ber. It sub­se­quently went through HJ, HX, HZ and WB vari­ants, t he f irst t wo of which were largely cos­metic up­dates.

If you’re in t he mar­ket for one, t here is a prett y sub­stan­tia l f leet still r un­ning around and, as wit h a ll of t he lu xo bombers, t he dev il will be in the state of the body and how much of t he orig­i­nal trim sur v ives. With some ju­di­cious buy­ing you can do ver y well.

ABOVE RIGHT That dash and wheel are thought to be a spe­cial or­der from a Holden staffer. CEN­TRE RIGHT Owner Con Raphael.

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