August 30, 2007

Holden Crewman & Commodore: Australian For "Sweet Cah"


How is this possible? Until last night, the only Holden I'd ever heard of was the Caulfield, a temperamental, unreliable model which was entertaining but ill-suited for the city, and which ended up getting trucked out to Camarillo for a much-needed overhaul.

Now it turns out that GM's homegrown Australian subsidiary also makes Utes. It's as if El Caminos didn't disappear after all, but stayed alive, thriving and evolving in isolation on some remote Pacific island, where they were pressed into service by the local courier population to deliver dog food made from kangaroo meat.

The Crewman is the 4-door, crewcab version of the Ute. It seats five, drives like a car, but can handle the outback, all with a rear bed plenty big enough for Bugaboo smuggling. Do people haul their families around in these things or does their listing under the "commercial" tab at Holden's website mean what it says?

Or is every new family in Australia sitting around waiting for the release next year of the redesigned Holden Commodore wagon, which, from this leaked image, actually looks kind of...Aussome?


I'd ask what else you Aussies got on down there, but the last time we did that, we ended up with Welcome to Woop Woop, so I'll just keep my trap shut.

Holden reinvents the Aussie wagon [ via jalopnik]
Practicality Plus: Holden's new King-cab ute [webwombat, heh]
mfr site: Holden Crewman - go all out []


If you cover the front two-thirds of the Holden wagon, the back third looks 100% Dodge Magnum.

Sometimes I think Holden is run by some sort of Col. Kurtz figure- a GM executive who got sent off to Australia because he screwed up something in the US (Aztek?), then just went crazy down there. Or maybe it's some kind of isolated evolution thing, where a lack of predators and limited gene flow results in strange marsupials, and 4 door El Caminos.

As possibly the only Aussie reading this blog right now I will add my 2 Australian cents..but I don't drive and I am female (ie not car centric) so I am somewhat useless on the specifics.

In OZ "we love football, meat pies and holden cars" part of the national anthem. We all grow up thinking that Holdens are Australian and that we invented the Ute (Utility vehicle) just like we invented Ugg boots, the clothes line and lawn mowers. The front cab which seats 4 is a relatively new thing.Yes- people do drive their families around in them but probably only if their dad happens to be a plumber/builder/construction worker/electrician and this is the only car they have. What goes in the back? Certainly NOT a Bugaboo-wrong demographic- usually it would be the toolbox (for the job) the Esky ("cooler" to you folk) for the lunch and the beers and a Jack Russell.

Attitudes in Australia toward the desirability of owning a Ute and in the US re a "truck" seem to differ -unlss you are male and just getting over puberty.
As for the Station wagon- Awesome family car (we had one before we left OZ-we did some long road trips ) -HEAPS of room-comes in Wiggles red but sadly does not rate for style with the Bugaboo crowd.
I am sure a much more informed Aussie male will come along and give you more input.

[great insights, thanks. -ed.]

Before seeing that purple Holden Crewman, I would never have thought Aussie's and East LA Cholos had antyhing in common.

Most car buffs in the US were introduced to Holden a few years ago, when GM rolled out their new Pontiac GTO. That car was just a re-badged Holden Monaro (a muscle car icon in Australia going back to the 60s), and it was badged as a Vauxhall Monaro in the UK. Alas, that car wasn't very popular here because it didn't look enough like the older GTOs. It was a great car, nonetheless. Holden cars are a bit retro, and they have remained steadfastly rear-wheel drive through the 80s and 90s (unlike the rest of GM, which is why they used a Holden as the basis for the GTO).

Part me beef curtains! That's the only Woop-woop weference I've ever seen in print.

Holden continues to do de-facto development work for future RWD GM products.

As a 2001 Holden ute owner here is what I have to say. 5.7litre LS1 engine (as in the Corvette) 6 speed, rear wheel drive and no traction control. This is a very fun wagon to drive although rather expensive to run. The missus has suggested trading in on a smaller cheaper wagon, but NO WAY!!

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