The beginning of the end; enter the HZ Series
The HZ was the final revision of the HQ series. The HZ series stayed in production until 1980 and was the last traditional sized Holden until the release of the VN series in 1988. In late 1978, the HZ range was supplemented and then replaced by the smaller and lighter Commodore.
The new HZ series incorporated minor exterior changes, including a revised grille and higher bootlid and thicker body protection strips ran the length of the car.
The Premier added tinted side glass, pin striping and the now familiar quad-headlight configuration.
The HZ Monaro GTS was fitted with tinted glass, full instrumentation, front and rear spoilers and four-wheel disc brakes. The "Monaro" badge was dropped and the HZ GTS used fitted with the Premier nosecone, complete with blacked out quad-headlights.
The final HZ Sandman front treatment included a four-headlight grille and under bumper front spoiler.
In November 1977 the HZ Statesman was released with minor changes to the grille which made it look more "up market".
GM-H is now supplying four–wheel disc brakes and all HZ series passenger cars are now fitted with radial tyres as standard. All HZ series models are fitted with the new Radial Tuned Suspension (RTS) suspension system. The Premier variant was now available with the Tri-Matic auto.
RTS is designed to tune the vehicle suspension to the characteristics of radial tyres which vastly improved the driver's ability to remain in control after a violent swerve or under heavy braking and aided in the recovery from a slide. By relocating control arms and changing castor, camber, spring rates, bushes, shock absorbers and steering components, GM-H engineers produced a car with less body roll and better tyre adhesion. This so dramatically improved the handling of the Holden's without compromising ride quality that it forced the rival manufacturers to readdress and improve the suspension systems on their products.
The HZ Monaro GTS was fitted with dual exhaust and four-speed manual transmission as standard.
The interior received upgraded trim and improved instrumentation. The new base Kingswood variant was fitted with bench seats and without radio or clock.
The new Kingswood SL offered a much higher luxury level, even compared to previous Kingswood variants, offering reclining bucket seats, a centre console with padded armrest, loop-pile carpet, push-button radio and a tinted-band laminated windscreen.
The Belmont sedan was dropped from the range, which meant that the Kingswood was now the base tier variant and a Kingswood SL was added and became the mid-tier level variant. The variants available now in the HZ series were sedan and wagon versions of the Kingswood, Kingswood SL and Premier, and the HZ GTS sports sedan.
This Vactioner optioned HZ Kingswood SL wagon was fitted with a 4.2 litre V8 engine, trimatic automatic and power steering. It came with tinted windows all round, a power operated tailgate window, dual exterior sports mirrors, front bumper over-riders and a great looking roof-rack. The colours available were limited to only a few 2 tone style colour schemes. The interior was colour keyed.
The Kingswood luxury level continued until 1985 on the WB Holden utility but the HZ series was to be the end of the Holden Premier. Also the GTS and the Sandman were both deleted prior to the end of the HZ series.
New Statesman sedans were announced shortly after the release of the HZ range. These were also equipped with RTS and four–wheel disc brakes and an SL/E edition was introduced in 1979.
The light commercial range featured Sandman van and utility variants, both with 'GTS' trim and a 4.2 litre V8 as standard. The Sandman ute was phased out of production prior to the van, the last of which was manufactured around October 1979.
The Holden HZ was offered in four sedan and three station wagon models, marketed as follows:
- Holden Kingswood Sedan
- Holden Kingswood Wagon
- Holden Kingswood SL Sedan
- Holden Kingswood SL Wagon
- Holden Premier Sedan
- Holden Premier Wagon
- Holden GTS
The Statesman models were differentiated from the cheaper variants by a four headlight frontal treatment and utilised the longer wheelbase 76.2 mm (three inches) chassis used on the station wagon variants.
- HZ Statesman De Ville
- HZ Statesman S/LE
- HZ Statesman Caprice
The HZ series was also available in two coupe utility, two panel van and one cab chassis model, marketed as follows:
- Holden Ute
- Holden Kingswood Ute
- Holden Panel Van
- Holden Kingswood Panel Van
- Holden One Tonner cab chassis)
There were two special vehicle packages also available based upon commercial vehicles: Holden Sandman Ute and Holden Sandman Panel Van - option code XX7 (passenger tyres) or XU3 (load rated tyres). Ambulance - option code BO6, available on cab chassis and Holden panel van.
- Holden Sandman Ute
- Holden Sandman Panel Van
HZ Power plants;
The 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 HZ Sandman was offered with a choice of V8 engines only.
The HZ Monaro GTS came standard with the 308 5 litre V8.