HOLDEN’S Sandman was a clever piece of 70s marketing looking to cash in on the fun and fancy-free lifestyles of the ‘free love’ surf culture and adventurous youth market. It’s been over 35 years since Holden sold a Sandman, but the name is set to live again with the new Sandman Sportwagon and ute.
Holden’s latest nostalgia trip sports unique Sandman decals, stripes and build plate, along with black vents and 20-inch wheels. The package costs around $2950 extra, and can be optioned on the SV6 or SS-V range in three different colours: Heron White, Nitrate Silver and Phantom Black. The Sportwagon also gets a pair of roof racks, while the ute has a black sports bar fitted. Bright orange sheepskin covers are available as options, and the Sportwagon has the additional option of the large sheepskin rug for the back as well. All you need is a roaring fire with a bit of Barry White and the scene will be set. Cue porno music.
While it doesn’t sound like much compared to the original Sandman, you’ve got to remember that those iconic panel vans and utes were basically base-model commercial vehicles before the Sandman options were applied, whereas the VF Commodore SV6 and SS-V are both highly optioned rides in their own right.
So what are they like? Well, they’re just like any other VF Commodore to drive, which is to say that they’re the best Commodores ever made. If you’ve never driven a VF then we suggest you do before they stop making them; they are simply brilliant.
Add the Sandman package and you’ve got a ride that certainly won’t be lost in the parking lot. The orange stripes against the Phantom Black is a stark contrast and one that gets noticed; it’s not for those who like to remain anonymous. The white ute feels a little more subtle, but looks sporty with the black vents, wheels and sports bar. The Sandman-scripted sunshade on the back window offers a constant reminder that you’re not driving another mundane shopping trolley.
Every owner gets a framed Sandman poster and build plate, and for those looking for the full Sandman experience, there’s even a customised surfboard available to decorate the shed wall.
We only spent a weekend with the ‘Sandmen’, but every moment behind the wheel was fun, and an afternoon spent down at Avalon Beach reminded us what the original Sandman was all about.
Some critics have argued that the Sandman should be more than a sticker and wheel package, but that’s essentially what they were even back in the 70s. The joy of owning a Sandman is all about what they represent: fun times with friends and new adventures. Holden will sell you the dream, but it’s up to you to make it reality.