Reminiscing the Statesman
Rodney Anderson has had four Statesman HQs in his life. Yes, four! He’s had other classics in the past, but nothing like this Aussie classic would keep Rod coming back over and over again. A head-turner no doubt, there is more to this car than meets the eye. It’s been 35 years since Rod first heard the rumble of the Statesman, and ever since, his classic car ownership experience always had a common thread running through, the Statesman HQ.
With the exit of the less successful Holden Brougham series, Holden needed to up their game with something vastly different to rival against the increasing sales of the Ford Fairlane. The Fairlane created an exclusive prestige car category and dominated the Australian prestige car market. Fighting fire with fire, the built of the ’71 Statesman was entirely different in almost every way.
Built as a monocoque body with an independent suspension front subframe, the HQ featured a modern style, new suspension with coil springs to improve the ride and handling, and a padded interior and stronger exterior panels to upgrade passive safety. The Statesman came with two levels of specifications – the upmarket DeVille which Rod has, and the base model custom. The car was given a 308-cid V8 and automatic transmission as standard, along with power disc brake and variable ratio power steering.
Inside, the Statesman was fitted with cloth or vinyl upholstery, full carpeting, and full instrumentation. While the manufacturing was underway, General Motors engaged a new marketing strategy designed to give the marque a more exclusive and luxurious vibe. To set it apart, they avoided the Holden name in all sales collateral and advertisements. Overall, the Statesman became a symbol for the successful businessman who wanted to buy an Australian built.
Rod recalls plenty of wonderful times in an HQ, but the real reason that led him back to his favourite car is so he can relive his childhood memories. At the age of 12, Rod’s family became close to another family that drove a Statesman. They spent time together every weekend, and he fondly remembers the power their car had and the sound of the engine rumbling each time they came by. Though it was a simple memory, it’s something that he’s reminded of each time he gets into a Statesman.
In August 2018, Rod got the keys to his HQ after his mates restored and modified the car to a roadworthy state. The Holden 308 engine was removed and replaced with a 350 Chev, and new wheels were fitted in. For a prestige twist, the HQ was painted Estoril Blue, iconically seen on a BMW. Just recently, Rod brought his new car to Summernats 32 to cruise on the tracks and show off his favourite to friends from interstate.
“This is my fourth one now and the best one I’ve ever had”.