Holden Premier Review and Specs

Holden Premier Review


  • Luxurious content
  • Sharp styling on later models
  • V8 power on pre-1976 models


  • Smog controls on post-1976 models
  • Ponderous handling on pre-radial tuned suspension cars
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Overview, Look, and Feel of the Holden Premier

The Holden Premier was the brand's flagship model from 1962 to 1980. Based on the Holden Special from 1962 to 1968, the big Holden offered all the latest luxury features, with extra chrome trim, leather bucket seats, front disc brakes, and an alternator. By the late-1960s, the HT Holden Premier had gained its signature quad-headlight arrangement, a more formal roof treatment, and a host of optional equipment.

The HQ Holden Premier was launched in 1972, and featured softer styling, a coil spring rear suspension, and lots of extra chrome. For 1974, the HJ Holden Premier received freshened front and rear styling, a redesigned instrument panel, and more comfortable full-foam seats. Holden also exported the HJ Holden Premier body to Japan, where Mazda fitted it with a 100kW 13B Wankel rotary engine and sold it as their domestic flagship. Called the Mazda Roadpacer, this hybrid Holden was fitted with a bunch of unique touches like central locking that automatically locked the doors as you accelerated past 10 km/h. A little chime would sound if you exceeded 110km/h, the wing mirrors were moved to the far end of the bonnet, and standard kit included a dictation machine and a radio with controls for the front and rear passengers. Mazda only sold 800 of the rotary-powered HJ Roadpacers.

The HZ Holden Premier came along in 1977, and it featured Holden's new radial tuned suspension for better handling and less understeer. Up to this point, all new cars had been fitted with bias-ply tyres, which used a soft rubber compound, wrapped around a separate inner tube for rigidity. This type of tyre had been in use since the automobile was invented, and the handling characteristics were sloppy at best. By 1977, the steel belted radial had become standard on all new Holdens, and the HZ Holden Premier handled better than any preceding model ever had. The RTS suspension featured relocated control arms, different camber and caster settings, along with more responsive springs, dampers, bushes and steering components. The HZ Holden Premier also got four-wheel disc brakes for the first time, and they helped keep this big luxury car under control during a panic stop. The RTS suspension made it easier to handle too.

The Holden Premier was discontinued in 1980.

Holden Premier Engine Specs and Performance

The first generation of the EJ Holden Premier (1962) was powered by the 2.3L 2260cc inline 6. 7

Commonly known as ‘the grey motor’ for the colour of the engine block, this trusty engine produced 56kW, which was fed to the rear wheels through a GM Hydramatic 3-speed automatic transmission. A new 86kW 2.9L ‘179’ engine was introduced in 1964, and a 102kW X2 version was added to the options list in 1965. By 1968, the HT Holden Premier came standard with a 94kW 3.0L inline-6 (the ‘186’), but a 108kW version was available, along with a 156.5kW 5.0L V8.

The HQ Holden Premier was a completely new design and featured a ‘perimeter frame’ for more structural rigidity. The engines were also new, with a 2.8L inline-6 (100kW) serving as the standard engine. A 138kW 4.1L V8 was also available, along with the 179kW 5L V8.

The 1976 Holden Premier saw newly mandated pollution controls and a reduction in engine power across the board. The standard 2.8L was replaced by a larger 3.3L unit, but power was down to just 88kW. The 4.1L V8 was down to 120kW, and the 5.0L V8 had been reduced to 161kW.

The 1978 Holden Premier got even slower, as the 3.3L was reduced to 71kW, and the 4.1L could only manage 87kW. The 5.0L made just 114kW by 1979, a far cry from the strong performer that it once was.

Standard Equipment and Options for the Holden Premier

As the top-of-the-line model, the Holden Premier came loaded with leather bucket seats, a centre console, and special exterior trim. The HK Holden Premier got a more formal roofline, different vinyl roof colours, and the signature quad headlights. Later versions continued to offer the latest interior fashions, extra chrome trim, and 4 headlights. If you wanted a fully loaded Holden in the 1960s or 1970s, the Holden Premier is the one you bought.

Holden Premier's Competition

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Ford Falcon and Ford Cortina gave the Holden Premier a run for its money, and not much has changed today. Both Fords are still popular, and the Holden Premier remains the more comfortable alternative. If a Blue Oval isn't for you, the Holden Premier would be a luxurious upgrade to the Holden Kingswood.

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