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My HK Holden | one in a million

HK Holden's are fabulous first time classics.

Way back in February 1968, when Brian Jolly's next door neighbour rolled up in a brand new V8 HK Holden Kingswood, little did Brian know that 46 years later the same car would reside in his driveway. "It's my baby," says Brian of the pristine, metallic blue sedan.

Built in the Dandenong factory the car is a perfect example of Holden's efforts to retain market leadership by offering increasingly affluent buyers a longer, lower and wider car featuring a bedazzling array of factory options and all wrapped in a swaggering new shape.

Holden's advertising blitz urged buyers to indulge themselves and "personalise" their new car. The choices were formidable : power steering, power windows, four engines (three sixes and the 5.0-litre V8), drum or disc brakes, bench or bucket seats, automatic or manual transmissions (three and four speed), five interior and 10 exterior colours, white wall or redline tyres, airconditioning, venetian blinds (yes!!!) and the list went on and on.

Adding to all of that, the upmarket Premier shouted out its prestige and difference with four headlights, metallic paint and a formal, Cadillac-style roof line. It is no wonder that Holden claimed they could make one million HKs and no two would be the same.

Brian's neighbour wholeheartedly embraced the idea of creating his own HK. "He ordered it from the Reg Hunt dealership and was very particular about what he wanted," remembers Brian.

"What he wanted was a Kingswood with the 5.0-litre V8, powerglide automatic, power steering, front bucket seats with the centre arm rest, power disc brakes and the heater from the Premier."

This combination makes Brian's car very rare because most Kingswoods came with the three litre six cylinder engine and bench seats. Brian drives the car almost every day. "I've had it for eight years. When my neighbour decided to stop driving in 2004 he asked if I'd like to buy it, but on the condition I call it 'baby'," admits Brian. And that's what he continues to call it.

"I spent four years restoring the body and bringing it back to new. The interior was much easier. It was in showroom condition, thanks to my neighbour using sheep skin seat covers from day one," says Brian.  The effort has paid off. The car has been a multiple trophy winner at Holden car shows since 2010.

On the road the HK cruises with no effort at all. The V8 is totally under stressed and the disc brakes and power steering make for easy driving in 21st Century traffic.

HK Holden's are fabulous first time classics. They are not expensive and, because Holden built 199,039 of them, parts are easy to find.

David Burrell is the editor of www.retroautos.com.au