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Top 10 Australian cars that could have saved Holden

It has been over six years since Holden ceased manufacturing operations in Australia and coming up to three years since the marque shut down altogether.

That hasn’t stopped fans drawing them and imagining ‘what if’ certain models went into production. Who knows, maybe some models could have saved Holden?

With the emergence of AI-generated imagery, this has presented a multitude of opportunities to speculate about hypothetical models that may have been. Here’s our top 10:

1. 1988 Holden Torana

In our parallel universe, the Holden Torana didn’t stop its journey in 1980. This imaginative 1988 version could have been a potent combination of wedgy ’80s design with enhanced engineering.

We envision this version combining elements of the VN Commodore to give mid-sized car shoppers of the late 1980s a six-cylinder option. The weight savings would give superior performance to the already-quick VN.

Engine: 3.8 V6
Output: 125kW/ 285Nm
Transmission: Borg Warner T5 5M/TH700 4A
Performance: 0-100km/h in 6.8s
Weight: 1195kg
Price: $16,888 in 1988

2. Minidore – A kei-sized Holden Commodore for Japan

In the crowded urban centres of Japan, compact kei cars rule the road. In our alternate universe, the Holden Commodore spawns a baby, giving birth to the ‘Minidore’.

Even though it’d be smaller in size, the Minidore would still pack a punch with a turbocharged 660cc engine and advanced handling, staying true to the Commodore’s sporty spirit.

Engine: 660cc V6
Output: 47kW
Transmission: 6M
Performance: 0-100km/h in 12.0s
Weight: 990kg
Price: $16,000

3. VF Holden Monaro Convertible

Holden threatened to revive the Monaro for a second time when it wheeled out the Coupe 60 concept based on the VE platform in 2008 . Picture that icon reborn as a convertible with our hypothetical scenario.

The VF Holden Monaro Convertible would combine the iconic design of the Monaro with the advanced engineering of the VF platform. Topless drives on sunny days with the V8 rumbling under the hood would make this car a favourite for cruisers and muscle-car lovers alike.

Engine: LS3 V8
Output: 304kW/570Nm
Transmission: 6M/6A
Performance: 0-100km/h in 5.0s
Weight: 1690kg
Price: $65,000

4. 2023 Holden Caprice

The Holden Caprice always stood for luxury and comfort. In this alternate reality, the 2023 Holden Caprice gets an update befitting its status as the flagship sedan. For the purpose of this exercise, it borrows the Omega platform from the Cadillac CT6.

With cutting-edge technologies like advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), a high-end infotainment system, and luxurious materials throughout the cabin, this Caprice would’ve redefined the pinnacle of Australian automotive luxury.

Engine: L86 V8
Output: 313kW/624Nm
Transmission: 10L80
Performance: 0-100km/h in 4.8s
Weight: 1870kg
Price: $85,000


The oft-maligned ZB Commodore was an outlier in Holden’s racing history for not having a V8 model in the showrooms, despite the Supercar racing edition being powered by one.

In the spirit of homologation, a road-going version of the Car of the Future (COTF) chassis is adapted, since the ZB’s E2XX architecture would not have been able to facilitate a RWD V8 very easily.

The ZB HSV GTSR would be the ultimate Aussie performance sedan, with massive power, sharp handling, and a design to make every head turn.

Engine: LT4 supercharged V8
Output: 485kW/881Nm
Transmission: 10L80
Performance: 0-100km/h in 3.9s
Weight: 1750kg
Price: $120,000

6. Opel Omega C based on VF Calais for Germany

Holden and Opel have a long history of cross-pollination. Now, envision a German version of the VF Calais, based on the rear-wheel drive Zeta architecture. It would combine the sophisticated engineering and superb balance of our homegrown hero with the high-quality fit and finish German cars are known for.

The result would be a luxurious, high-performance sedan perfectly suited for the autobahn. Smaller engines would be available due to Europe’s punitive taxes and preference for economy.

A similar thing was investigated by GM Europe, but – as with other global Zeta derivatives – was abandoned when the GFC hit in 2008. What a shame as the Commodore originated from Opel, it would’ve been nice to return the favour.

Engine: 2.2 D/I, 2.0 LK9 Turbo, 3.0 LF1, 2.0 CDTi BiTurbo
Output: 110kW/203Nm, 154kW/300Nm, 190kW/290Nm, 143kW/400Nm
Transmission: 6M/6A
Performance: 0-100km/h in 10.5-5.9s
Weight: 1590-1740kg
Price: EU25,000-50,000

7. VF HSV Walkinshaw Group A tribute

In motorsports, the name Walkinshaw is synonymous with Holden’s racing success. What if we could have a VF HSV tribute to the glory days of Group A touring car racing? The result would be a road-legal beast, featuring a high-performance V8, track-tuned suspension, and a distinctive bodykit inspired by the legendary race cars. This is essentially a fully homologated version of the 2017 V8 Supercar chassis.

The necessary accoutrements for road use would reduce performance ever-so-slightly compared with the purpose-built race car of its time.

Engine: Homologated V8 Supercar engine
Output: 480kW
Transmission: 6-speed sequential
Performance: 0-100km/h in 3.7s
Weight: 1550kg
Price: $150,000

8. 2012 Holden Torana

Reintroducing the Torana nameplate in 2012 could have added a new chapter to Holden’s history. This almost happened under the aegis of former CEO Peter Hanenberger.

Utilising GM’s Alpha platform, it would’ve been a versatile and practical mid-sized car with an engaging rear-wheel drive characteristic. It would be a modern reincarnation of a legend, perfectly tailored for the 21st century.

Engine: 1.8 Ecotec, 3.0-litre V6 LFW, 3.6-litre LFX, 6.0L, 6.2L
Output: 104kW/176Nm, 190kW/290Nm, 210kW/350Nm, 304kW/570Nm
Transmission: 6M/6A
Performance: 0-100km/h in 9.9-4.2s
Weight: 1410-1600kg
Price: $30,000-55,000

9. Holden VF-based Nullabor SUV

SUVs are the talk of the town in recent years. In this alternate universe, Holden joins the party with the Nullabor, an SUV based on the VF platform.

Combining the VF’s dynamic handling with the practicality and ruggedness of an SUV, the Nullabor could’ve been a true all-rounder, equally at home on city streets and outback trails.

Engine: 3.8L, 6.0L V8
Output: 190kW-304kW
Transmission: 6A
Performance: 0-100km/h in 8.0-6.0s
Weight: 1750-1890kg
Price: $45,000-70,000

10. Torana SUV based on 2023 MG ZS

Finally, let’s imagine a compact SUV with the iconic Torana badge, based on the 2023 MG ZS platform. If this sounds nuts, consider that Holden was considering rebadging some SAIC models before its untimely demise, as outlined in a report by Drive a few years ago.

This hypothetical Torana SUV would offer a compact footprint, advanced tech features, and a zippy drive, making it a perfect urban companion. This combination of Chinese platform and Australian soul would definitely create a unique proposition in the compact SUV segment. If this sounds pretty cynical, we added a six-cylinder option as a nod to its big-engined past.

Engine: 1.5 SAIC 4cyl, 3.0L LF1 V6
Output: 84kW/150Nm, 190kW/290Nm
Transmission: 4A, 8-speed auto
Performance: 0-100km/h in 13.0-6.5s
Weight: 1255-1350kg
Price: $26,000-35,000

Mitchell Jones

Eccentric car nut and just as enthused by roasting an egg on the air cleaner of an old Hemi as he is hunting the horizon in a space-age electric supercar, Mitchell's passion for motoring started at a young age. He soon developed a meticulous automotive obsession for obscure facts. He joins Driving Enthusiast as a features writer and car reviewer, following a near 10-year stint at PerformanceDrive.

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