Gary’s 1967 Holden HR Special is a hit at car shows across Australia.
Gary had his dream car planned in his mind and when a 1967 Holden HR Special popped up on eBay, he couldn’t say no.
“I’ve always had a love for old Holden’s, especially the HRs… It seemed almost stupid to let this one slip away.”
In 1966, the Holden was on its way out after being under increasing pressure from Ford’s Falcon and the Chrysler Valiant. Both of these cars offered more power for not a lot of money. The situation wasn’t helped by the comparative failure of the Holden HD, which was unsuccessful in reaching the hearts and minds of Australian buyers.
Motor enthusiasts were excited with the claims that the HR 186S was soon to be the best Holden yet. Turns out, the HR’s handling was a big improvement and the new Holden was a much more comfortable ride.
HR Special sedans were, back in the day, a pretty punchy machine. Howling their tiny tyres from a standing start, a 186 manual would hit 100km/hour in slightly more than 13 seconds and can reach out to an achievable 155km/hour.
Holden’s marketing described the HR as “Turbo-smooth” and good examples of the model, like Gary’s, are becoming increasingly difficult to find in today’s age.
“Your world changes around you when you discover the new Holden. This year Holden’s gone all-out on everything except the price – new style, new comfort, new car. Discover the new Turbo-smooth Holden for yourself. You only have to drive it once to discover nothing else will do…” – Holden’s HR marketing, circa 1966.
The car has a smoother performance and a gearbox that is a delight to use which adds a refreshing variety to the Holden stable. Also available were power disc brakes and a limited slip differential that would ensure all power to the ground effectively. This was a common build configuration and the best package as far as performance went in Special or Premier sedans. Codes were assigned to be attached to the base model designation to make the task of ordering a car simpler than individually specifying each component from the ordering procedure.
The HR featured a revised grille, re-worked roofline and a larger window area, revised rear lights and changes to almost all exterior body panels compared to the Holden HD series.
Other changes included a revised ball joint front suspension, widened track and an improved interior trim. The 186-CID motor developing 145 horsepower, supplemented a significantly quieter and smoother engine. The revised styling and clean, modern lines still look top notch on the roads today!
Gary reckons that “the Holden deserves to be mentioned as a muscle car as it was one of the fastest Aussie cars on the road in 1967!” And perhaps unknowingly, Holden had created a real rocket in terms of serious performance available to the everyday driver.
Since purchasing the car over four years ago, Gary has treated the Holden to a sound system re-vamp, including a new Bluetooth matchless player, 6.5” pioneer split systems speakers in front kick panels and 6.5” Sony 4-way speakers in the rear parcel shelf. He’s also added a 12” Rockford Fosgate subwoofer in the booth and a 340-watt Kenwood amplifier under the front seat.
Gary’s Holden is a daily drive which he loves to take out cruising as much as he can. “The memories it brings back to people at shows when I have it displayed and the comments I get is truly amazing. She’s just one big ball of nostalgia!”
He’s had a few almost irresistible offers from other Holden junkies out there but hasn’t been able to part with it. “If the right offer pops up and the timing’s right, I guess you never know.”
*Images courtesy of Us2 Photography, Charged Images, Katrina Cram Photography and Focus 64.