Holden Gemini Review and Specs

Holden Gemini Review

Pros

  • “Radial Tuned” RWD models are fun to drive
  • Reliable engines
  • Easy to modify
  • Quite practical, even by today’s standards

Cons

  • Poor stock engine performance (due to smog controls)
  • No independent rear suspension
  • Unpopular FWD model
View all Holden Gemini ads

Overview, Look, and Feel of the Holden Gemini

In the mid-1970’s, it was “You and I and Gemini!”. Holden’s popular compact car debuted in 1975, promising to be “the little car, full of big ideas,” and they weren’t joking. Co-developed with Isuzu, the 1975 Holden Gemini TX-Series had a comfortable interior with reclining bucket seats (1975 Holden Gemini SL), loop-pile carpet, fan-boosted ventilation, or optional factory-installed air conditioning. The 1.6-litre SOHC engine provided 61kW of power, with 127Nm of torque. Front disc brakes kept everything in check, and the coil spring suspension could handle rough tracks with ease. An Opel-derived coupe was also available, and the 1975 Holden Gemini easily walked away with the 1975 Car of the Year award from Wheels Magazine.

The 1977-1978 TC-Series Holden Gemini got a new grille with round headlights, and side impact door beams. Cars with the Fashion Pack option received a unique interior, along with a front anti-roll bar to improve handling. Although the revised suspension improved handling, power in the Holden Gemini TC was actually down to 51kW, thanks to the anti-pollution gear.

For the 1978-1979 Holden Gemini TD, another new front-end design was introduced, the suspension had revised geometry for better handling (called the Radial Tuned Suspension), and a new 5-speed transmission was made available, as was a 2-door wagon and a panel van. Power remained at 51kW.

For the 1978-1979 Holden Gemini TD, another new front-end design was introduced, the suspension had revised geometry for better handling (called the Radial Tuned Suspension), and a new 5-speed transmission was made available, as was a 2-door wagon and a panel van. Power remained at 51kW.

The 1983-1985 Holden Gemini TG would turn out to be the last rear-drive Gemini. A special sport-themed model called the Holden Gemini ZZ/Z was introduced in 1983, which had spoilers, a bodykit, and special wheels. However, no performance enhancements were made to the 49kW 1.6-litre petrol engine. In 1985 the Gemini switched to front-drive with the introduction of the 1985-1987 Holden Gemini RB. Developed jointly with Isuzu, this new version proved unpopular with buyers, and the Gemini name was retired in 1987.

Holden Gemini Engine Specs and Performance

The first generation of the Holden Gemini was powered by an OHC 1,584cc /1.6-litre Isuzu engine. Cars made before November 1976 produced 63kW, routed through a 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic. After pollution controls were fitted, power dropped to 61kW /127Nm.

In 1977, standard power dropped to 51kW, but a 5-speed manual was offered the following year. By the time the TG series was launched, pollution controls had reduced the Holden Gemini's 1.6-litre petrol engine to 41kW.

In 1981, the Holden Gemini could be had with a 40kW, 1.8-litre Isuzu Diesel. This engine would be available until the end of the RWD model. The FWD Holden Gemini RB (introduced in 1985) was powered by a 1.5-litre Isuzu petrol engine that produced 52kW.

Standard Equipment and Options for the Holden Gemini

The first few editions of the Holden Gemini were offered in Base and SL (Super Luxury) trims. All models got front disk brakes, a heater, and a steering wheel, while the SL models were upgraded to include an electric clock, pinstriping, reclining bucket seats, and fan-forced ventilation. Air conditioning was a factory option.

In 1977, the Fashion Pack equipment group was introduced. This included special plaid upholstery with plaid door inserts and a front stabilizer bar. The 1977 Holden Gemini SL Coupe also got a standard heated rear windscreen.

The Holden Gemini Sandpiper edition was also introduced in 1977. This car featured special exterior trim, woodgrain interior bits with unique upholstery, and a 4-spoke steering wheel.

Trim designations were changed to SL/E in 1978 and SL/X in 1979. The Sandpiper model resurfaced as the Sandpiper II in 1981, and a rare Gypsy trim was available on the panel van. For the last incarnation of the RWD Gemini, Holden offered a very special looking Holden Gemini ZZ/Z. Although no performance modifications were made, the ZZ/Z (triple-zed) appearance package included an aggressive body kit, alloy wheels, and a digital clock.

The FWD Holden Gemini RB was offered in SL, SL/X, and SL/E trims. The top-trim Holden Gemini SL/E could be ordered with power steering, and two special trim packs called Gemini Accents were also available. The “Fashion” package was outfitted with luxury trim, while the “Action” package included larger 14” wheels and boot lid spoiler.

Holden Gemini's Competition

If you want an easily modified RWD compact, you could also look at the Mk2 Ford Escort. This multiple rally winner has a loyal fan base, and parts are easily available. However, the Holden Gemini doesn’t have a Blue Oval on the bonnet, and its 1.6-litre Isuzu engine can take a real beating and still run well.

Holden Gemini's listed on Gumtree!
View all Holden Gemini ads
Free, easy and local.
Post an ad now
Recently Listed Holden Gemini's