CONNECTION GOES DEEP: Matthew Clift has been brought up in a Holden mad family.
CONNECTION GOES DEEP: Matthew Clift has been brought up in a Holden mad family.

Warwick enthusiasts gutted after Holden burn out

IT was a sad day on Monday for lovers of the iconic Australian car as Holden announced it would retire the brand by 2021.

For Allora car enthusiast Peter Stacy and Warwick mechanic Matthew Clift, it may be end the of an era but not the end of their love for the cars they grew up with.

Peter Stacy has owned his faithful station wagon for 40 years.

“I bought my 1978 five litre Holden station wagon in 1980,” he said.

“I brought all three of my kids home from hospital in it and it still sits in my garage. I hope one of my sons will end up owning it.”

Mr Stacy said the ‘80s were a different time, when the Holden was one of Australia’s most popular cars and petrol was 50 cents a litre.

“I think it’s a sad case of the changing industry, I know back in the ‘80s no one would have bought a Japanese car, now they’ve got the market saturated,” he said.

“I’m disappointed for Holden dealers and all the jobs lost. It will be more than the 600 manufacturing jobs, also dealerships and more.”

Warwick mechanic Matthew Clift has dedicated countless hours of time working on and preparing Holden race cars but says his connection to the brand goes deeper.

“I drive a SSVY Commodore, my wife drives a LC Torana and my young fella, who has just gotten his licence, drives a VS Holden Commodore. We’re a Holden family,” Mr Clift said.

“I remember sitting on Dad's lap in the ‘70s and ‘80s, watching Bathurst. You’d go for either Holden or Ford and I’d go for Holden because my uncles raced Holdens.”

As he grew older, his family’s connection to Holden made his choice of car obvious.

“If you drove a Ford or Japanese car into my Grandfather’s driveway you’d have to park it on the street,” he said.

“He was Holden mad, and I guess that rubbed off, he had almost every first model that came out, the FX then the FJ and more.”

As a mechanic, Mr Clift knows there are a “hell of a lot of Holden drivers” in Warwick, especially the racing side.

He looks after “10 or 15” Holden Race cars at Morgan Park Performance Centre with the V8s especially popular for racing.

He believes Holden’s downfall was due to changes in consumer preference.

“I think Holden really lost in the early 2000s because they were flogging the Commodore and people were wanting SUVs like Prados and Hiluxes,” he said.

“We all know the famous advertisement, ‘football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars’.

“It’s sad to see the end of that, but I think now people will be more enticed to keep the vintage car going.”