New Grille, New Hubcaps – the 'New' HX Series
When General Motors – Holden heralded in its HX series in July 1976, the new series came with more than just new grilles and hubcaps. The HX series came with changes to the model line-up, some new limited edition models, interior improvements and the HX series was engineered to meet the Australian Governments new emissions regulations.
The HX series did not bring any major body changes; instead it came with just minor cosmetic changes. There was a new grille, revised hubcaps and other minor modifications to the badge work.
The base specification utilities and panel vans retained the HJ grill, except for the Sandman variant which now came with the HX Kingswood front clip. The HX Sandman also introduced a large 'Sandman' logo on the tailgate and matching stripes emblazoned the sides.
The mildly facelifted HX Monaro GTS sedan was quite distinguishable, by its liberal splashes of black paint outs contrasted against a range of bold bright body colours, and a choice of traditional chrome or colour matched bumper bars.
Statesman Caprice and De Ville models were given a new grille treatment, the horizontal pattern of the new grille made the Statesman's look wider than their lower tier variants.
Several areas on the HX series were addressed. Some of the changes were considered improvements, some of the changes considered not to be improvements. On the HX series GH-H;
- revised the rear shock absorber mountings,
- made minor alterations to the steering box ratios which reduced steering effort at low speeds, but unfortunately increased the turns required for lock-to-lock,
- improved clutch and throttle linkages,
- fitted radial tyres to the model range from Kingswood upwards which improved the handling characteristics of those HX series models,
- doubled the service intervals to 10,000 km/6 months which reduced maintenance costs.
The HX series is fitted with the first, if somewhat primitive, anti-lock braking system. This system operates only on the rear wheels, which detracts from most of the potential safety benefits such a system can provide.
Probably the most significant major mechanical change was the introduction of low emission versions of each Holden engine. GM-H chose to add emission control equipment rather than attempting any re-design of the basic engine.
This strategy to meet strict new anti–pollution standards required by Australian Design Rule 27A ended in significant reductions in both fuel efficiency and power output of the Holden engine range. Fuel consumption was up by seven percent, and power was down by about four percent which equated to a performance loss across the range and the deletion of the 2.85 litre straight-six.
GM-H's treatment to the interior of the HX series includes circular instruments and additional dashboard illumination (ashtray/cigarette lighter). The addition of a steering column stalk in all models giving fingertip control of the wipers, washers, turn signals and headlight beam control.
During the course of the HX series, front bucket seats are adopted as standard equipment for Kingswood badged vehicles.
Power central locking is now an option across the Holden range.
Standard equipment on the Statesman range now includes power radio aerials, and on the Caprice extra gauges for battery charge and oil pressure, intermittent wipers, revised door-trims finished in Rosewood, and beautiful crushed velour upholstery are now an option.
Following the marketing strategy of previous series GM-H releases a couple of special-build HX Kingswood variants during production. As a celebration model in November 1976 GM-H unveils the 50th Anniversary Kingswood sedan and then a repeat appearance of the Kingswood Deluxe sedan.
A Kingswood panel van is introduced to the range of commercial vehicle models and because of their strong appeal to the younger Holden buyers, Sandman recreational versions of the panel van and utility continued to be popular selling models.
The Monaro Coupe variants are phased out in September of 1976.
The remaining coupe body shells are used to create the Holden "LE" (or Limited Edition).The LE was available from August 1976, almost two months after the HX series release and was marketed by GM-H as a "Luxury Sports Coupe".
The LE was available only in metallic maroon with gold honeycomb-pattern trims on steel wheels, and was powered by a the 5–litre V8. The Holden LE featured the four headlight (quartz halogen) HX Premier front and integrated, colour matched front and rear spoilers.
The LE passenger compartment combined GTS features with a walnut finish dash fascia and centre console, with crushed velour and cloth trim. Its comprehensive equipment listing included;
- power windows,
- power steering,
- power aerial,
- integrated air-conditioning,
- heated rear window,
- quadraphonic eight track cartridge player, and
- tinted windows.
The LE coupe was produced at GM-H's Pagewood plant in Sydney, which specialised in the exacting low volume assembly of luxury Statesman and Caprice models. The LE had a production run of just 580 vehicles.
HX Model range;
The mainstream passenger car range consisted of 4-door sedan and 5-door wagon body styles in three trim levels. The Premier models were differentiated from the lower tier variants by a four headlight frontal treatment. Station wagons were produced on a wheelbase which was 76.2 mm (three inches) longer than that of the sedans. Two special-build HX Kingswood variants emerged later in production. A Kingswood Silver Anniversary model was released in November 1976 to celebrate 50 years of General Motors in Australia and a Kingswood Deluxe sedan and wagon was also introduced during the HX model life in September 1977 with a 4.2 litre V8 as standard.
- Belmont Sedan
- Belmont Wagon
- Kingswood Sedan
- Kingswood Wagon
- Premier Sedan
- Premier Wagon
HX series Monaro range is reduced to one model.
- Monaro GTS Sedan
Holden Limited Edition coupe is released in September 1976.
The Statesman HX range of long-wheelbase luxury sedans developed from the Holden HX series was released in July 1976.
- Statesman DeVille
- Statesman Caprice
The commercial vehicle range included coupe utility, panel van and cab chassis truck models. The base models were marketed simply as the Holden Ute and Holden Van and both retained the HJ style grille. The Kingswood Van was an addition to the commercial vehicle range. The Sandman Ute and Van were equipped with various features from the Monaro GTS and featured side stripes and a large 'Sandman' logo on the tailgate.
- Kingswood Ute
- Kingswood Van
- Sandman Ute
- Sandman Van
One Tonner was a chassis cab vehicle which featured its own unique frontal treatment, carried over from its HJ predecessor.
- One Tonner
HX power plants;
2.8 litre (173 cubic inch) and 3.3 litre (202 cubic inch) inline six-cylinder engines were available, as were 4.2-litre (253 cubic inch) and 5.0-litre (308 cubic inch) V8 units. The 2.8 litre engine was eventually phased out during the HX series production run.
The LE models was only offered with the 5.0 litre eight-cylinder engine.