Sad day for Ballina's biggest Holden fan
TODAY is a sad day for Kevin Woolard, of West Ballina, as the last Australian-made Holden rolls off the production line in Adelaide.
"I think it's a sad day for the whole of Australia," the keen Holden collector said.
The closure of the Holden production factory follows the closure of the Ford and Toyota plants and signals an end to Australia car manufacturing.
Mr Woolard has liked all cars since he was a young boy.
But he has had a particular soft spot for Holden.
He remembers the day in May 1958 when he, as an 18-year-old student at the Armidale Teachers' College, went to the local Holden dealership to see the launch of the FC.
In a way that is similiar to the launch of things like new iPhones is today, Mr Woolard said the launch of a new Holden model was a "national event".
He said the dealers would put sheets over the new vehicles and they would all be unveiled on the same day across Australia.
"In the 1950s and 19560s, Holden had 52% of the market," he said.
"Everyone had a Holden."
As a young man, Mr Woolard aspired to one day own a vehicle bearing the name of what was to become as iconically Australian as "football, meat pies, kangaroos, and Holden cars".
The FJ, produced in the 1950s, was arguably the model that gave the brand its iconic status.
Later came the Kingswood, which inspired a television show, Kingswood Country, then the Torana which motor racing legend the late Peter Brock had success with at Bathurst and the Commodore in the 1980s.
Mr Woolard later went on to become a collector of Holdens and Holden memorabilia, setting up a museum near Byron Bay which he called the Ewingsdale Lions Den, taking its name from the Holden logo.
He said the "classiest" Holden produced was the EH made in the 1960s.
Mr Woolard restored nine Holdens over a period of about 27 years.
He said he travelled the country searching farms and other places for old parts.
A 1957 FE he restored was a vehicle he travelled in as a passenger when he was 18 years old.
He found that car "in a ditch" 28 years later at Inverell.
It once belonged to the local saw doctor and Mr Woolard has restored the original door signage.
Mr Woolard said he will wait and see what the future holds for the brand.
But while he was saddened that the last Australian-made car is being manufactured today, it won't change his affection to Holden.