HELD at Clarendon’s Hawkesbury Showground each August, the New South Wales All Holden Day (AHD) is an institution for the Lion-hearted, with the show’s 800-vehicle limit typically reached at least a month or two beforehand. The 2018 event was no different, attracting a whopping 64 Holden car clubs and encompassing everything from the early FX and FJ right up to the final VF II Commodore.
Thanks to the ongoing dry conditions much of the state had been enduring, this year’s AHD was a bit of a dustbowl (granted, it is a dusty show at the best of times). Even by 10am, most of the display vehicles were swathed in a healthy layer of dirt, but most owners didn’t seem to mind.
After 33 years, event organisers clearly believe they’re onto a winning formula, as I haven’t noticed much alteration to the format, layout or schedule of events over the 15 or so years I’ve been attending. I’m pretty sure the same band was playing the same old-time rock and roll hits, too. Regardless, crowds always flock to the showgrounds in their tens of thousands, and by midday at this year’s event it was hard to get a clear photo of most vehicles as eager punters vied for top viewing positions.
Though the car club displays were awesome, many SMC readers would probably find their favourite rides in the ‘Individuals’ section of the show. Here a lot of the more modified machines from around Sydney and beyond converge. There were plenty of blowers, turbos, tubs and ’cages – as well as more second-gen models, which were pretty thin on the ground overall.
Read next: History of the Holden Commodore (part one)
If the car displays get too much (we spent five hours non-stop trying to capture it all for you!), AHD also includes a massive swap meet adjacent to the show ’n’ shine. It’s not unusual to find people perusing the show cars while carrying bumpers, carbs and headlights just as often as chips, burgers and drinks.
Despite the MC’s assertions that we should have all been upset that the local Rural Fire Service destroyed a Holden this year in their fire and rescue demonstration – instead of the usual Ford or other make – we’re not sure anyone really cared. It was just an old Astra, after all – and a repeat performance of the demonstration they kindly give every year, highlighting the important work they do keeping us safe.
The NSW All Holden Day will no doubt remain an important event on the local automotive calendar. After all, Holden no longer makes cars locally, so the wonderful vehicles on show at AHD each August represent all there is and all there is going to be. Consider for a moment that the iconic 48-215 (aka FX) is now 70 years old; the VB Commodore is 40; even the humble VN just turned 30! So with each passing year, the work their owners do to keep these cars running and looking their best becomes even more important.
We’ll see you there again next year!
One of 64 clubs on display, the Central Coast Commodore Club had an impressive number of member cars on show.
We overheard a pair of Holden speculators discussing the modern version of the iconic Sandman, with one guy proclaiming that dealers had to remove the stickers and reduce the price just to get them out of the showroom.
They just don’t design ’em like that anymore!
Justin Johns’s sleepy-looking VH runs a warmed-over Nissan RB25 with an RB26 head, GReddy intake and 6boost exhaust manifold spinning a Garrett GTX 3076 turbo. The power is untested, but we bet it embarrasses plenty of guys at the lights.
The CV6 Monaro is a pretty rare beast on the roads today, but this one is factory-fresh.
Laura McMurdo had her bold magenta IRRIT8 VY on show. If the custom paint and large reverse-cowl scoop weren’t enough, a quick look in the boot let you know that the stereo was going to be just as loud as the outside.
Greg Chase is a lucky man. Not only does he own this pristine SV5000, but he also owns the SV300 and SV99 parked next to it! He had his son and cousin helping with the driving duties to get all three to Clarendon. We asked him how he came to own the trio: “They’re cheaper than Toranas!”
The new W1 GTS-R on show didn’t cop the same attention from the crowds as these two original 1996 bright yellow examples.
For anyone who grew up in the 1990s, seeing a stock VN Executive on display at a car show (albeit a pristine one) must be a bit of a head-scratcher.
With only 240 built during the Holden Ute’s final production year, the Magnum pays homage to the 1980s HDT-modified ute of the same name. It boasts a 304kW 6.2L LS3, FE3 suspension, unique red-accented 20in wheels, two-piece detachable-hub brakes, eight-way adjustable seats and more.
Despite a welcome resurgence of van culture in the past few years, the problem with modern iterations is that the rear bulkhead of your average ute can’t be hacked out to create the ‘real’ panel van architecture. Unless you get an engineer on board, that is. This LS3-powered, Pontiac-nosed VE is the only such example we’ve seen.
This VK SS was ready to party – complete with a matching rear half-cut trailer and barbecue combo!
With a centrifugal blower on a 5.0L Holden V8, this super-clean VN SS was a wonderful reminder of how we made bulk grunt in the early 2000s.
Parked next to the white VN SS was this Atlas Grey example that took things a step further, running an intercooled Vortech set-up complete with COME Racing twin-throttle intake.
Ian Williams had his unassuming-looking 2001 VX Clubby on display. It had plenty of the good stuff lurking beneath though, including an 11:1-comp 6.9L stroker with CNC-ported LS3 heads, massive cam and 102mm FAST throttle. So far, its PB is 10.9sec on the strip and a blistering 1:09 lap at Wakefield.
Brian Shearer’s pristine VH Group 3 SS was one of dozens of gorgeous first-gen HDT specials on show. As far as Commodores go, the early girls were the best-represented.
It may have had Italian design, but the short-lived Isuzu-sourced Holden Piazza found itself an unloved footnote in the company’s history books thanks to a thoroughly conventional architecture and sedate powertrain. It only lasted a year before being cancelled.
The modern-day equivalent of Ted Bullpitt? This treasure trove of HSV merchandise looks to contain just about every single item there is to buy.
This tubbed and blown VK is a regular tyre-destroyer at Powercruise and Summernats. But it played nice at All Holden Day, happy to be the centre of attention as one of the show’s most modified Commodores.