Holden fans holdin' on 'til the bitter end 

WHEN it comes to the great symbols of Australia’s post-war prosperity, Ivan McGinness says the FJ Holden is hard to beat.

The Bushfield motoring enthusiast was disappointed but not surprised by Holden’s decision yesterday to pull out of Australia by 2017, saying the announcement was widely expected.

“Most Australians either love Holden or Ford and now they’re both shutting up shop in the same year,” Mr McGinness said. “It’s a real shame to see Holden go because we all grew up driving one and if you didn’t own one, you knew someone that did. 

“They were the working man’s car, a top-quality vehicle that Australia could be proud of.”

Mr McGinness bought the badly-weathered 1954 FJ Holden more than a decade ago and restored it to showroom condition, looking much as it did when it was first used by the Defence Ministry in Canberra. 

“You see people with 4WD and cars from overseas more and more,” he said. “People weren’t buying Australian cars like they used to.”

Western Victoria Holden Car Club president Peter Dunn said yesterday’s announcement was a sad but inevitable moment in Australia’s automotive history.

He said Toyota would be likely to pull out of Australia within the next few years, leaving Australia without a domestically-produced motor vehicle.

“It’s disappointing but the people I feel most sorry for are the workers,” Mr Dunn said. 

“That’s roughly 3000 jobs that are going to go from Australia. It’s a really disappointing way to end a proud history of manufacturing but the Australian dollar’s been too strong for too long and that’s probably been the death knell for them.”

GM Holden managing director Mike Devereux visited Warrnambool in March and assured customers the much-loved brand would remain in Australia.

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