Random # 43: HQ Holden Kingswood Sedan (& a Cautionary Tale)

The Car

This exceptionally tidy HQ Kingswood sedan was spotted in Hobart's Lower Sandy Bay.  All evidence suggests that it's just been fully restored; the paint, chrome and interior all appear to have been recently, and expertly, renewed.  Even the registration plate - which may well bear the original number attributed to the car when it was new - has been been remade in the newer Tassie Tiger style. 

The Cautionary Tale

There is absolutely zero suggestion that this particular car - or any of the other HQs featured elsewhere in this 'blog - are anything but one hundred percent kosher.  However, anyone considering buying an HQ through to a WB series Holden should be aware of a few potential issues that may arise with the identity, and thus the authenticity, of cars from that range.  

The following information is skewed towards HQs but a lot of it applies to HJs, HXs, HZs and WBs, too.  Buyers of performance versions, especially Monaros and SSs, should be particularly careful, as the asking prices for good examples are now hovering around the $80,000 plus range. 

HQs were manufactured by General Motors Holden at plants in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane between 1971 and 1974.  They were available as sedans, station wagons, utilities, flat-trays (‘one-tonners’), vans, and Monaro coupes, which were only built in Melbourne and Sydney.  HQs shared interchangeable mechanical, structural and body parts (panels) with later model Holdens right through to 1984 (HJ, HX, HZ and WB series vehicles).

The serial number is the primary identifier of motor vehicles manufactured before the 1st of January, 1989 (after then, the 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number - or VIN - system came into force internationally).  HQ – WB series Holden serial numbers were stamped on the top of the off-side (driver’s side) sub-frame rail, forward of the engine.  Depending where an individual car was manufactured, there was also a body number stamped or written on the body-shell.  Body numbers are regarded as secondary identifiers and, as such, are not used to identify a vehicle for the purposes of registration and the like. 

The entire front sub-frame of HQ – WB series Holdens is separate to the body-shell and is attached by bolts.  Therefore, it is possible to detach the component that carries the primary means of identifying an HQ – WB Holden and reattach it to the body-shell of another vehicle from that series range, effectively bestowing the identity of the car from which the sub-frame was taken to the body-shell to which it is attached.  

That's where the risk lies.  Is the GTS Monaro you've just fallen in love with and shelled out big bucks for really a GTS?  It might actually be a lesser LS with a GTS's sub-frame.  Worse still, the entire car could have been stolen and the theft covered up by swapping the sub-frame - and therefore the serial number - with one from a wrecked sedan, wagon, ute or van.

There's a helluva lot more to know about confirming the authenticity HQ - WB series Holdens than is contained in these few paragraphs.  So how can you be sure that your dream car isn't a fake?  There are plenty of seriously knowledgeable people out there in recognised Holden clubs that can help decode serial numbers to see if they match the rest of a car's identity.  The internet is a good starting point, too (http://www.gregwapling.com/hotrod/monaro-shrine/monaro-vin.htmlhttp://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/holden_identification.php and  http://www.allaboutholdens.com/Excel/VINBodyDecoder.html, for example). 

So, whatever you do, please exercise caution buying HQ - WB series Holdens (any classic cars, really) and do some checking!  Sadly, there are some dodgy mongrels out there.


(uppermiddlepetrolhead.blogspot.com.au ).

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