1969 Holden Hurricane Concept


(from Holden Press Release)  Described as an experimental research vehicle ‘to study design trends, propulsion systems and other long range developments’, the wedge-shaped, mid-engined Holden Hurricane was revealed in May 1969. Unlike modern show cars which tend to signpost directional design strategies, it was a pure flight of fancy.

The two-passenger Hurricane displayed an array of gee whiz technology – much of it familiar now, but well beyond the horizon back then – such as electronic digital instrument displays, station-seeking radio, Comfortron automatic temperature control air conditioning and a Pathfinder automatic route indicator. Rear vision was provided by a CCTV screen in the console, connected to a wide-angle lens camera activated by the ignition.

As its code name suggests, RD 001 was the first product of the GMH Research and Development section, staffed by a small squad of engineers working in conjunction with the Advanced Styling Group at the Fishermans Bend Technical Centre.

RD 001 stood just 990mm high and had no doors in the conventional sense.  An electro-mechanically powered canopy swung forward over the front wheels, combining with twin ‘astronaut type’ power elevator seats which rose up and pivoted forward, along with the steering column, for ease of access. Occupants were lowered to a semi-reclining position and the roof closed over.

The car could not be started until the canopy was locked down, the seats fully lowered and the driver’s fully retractable, automatically locking seat belt secured.  Among other safety innovations were a foam-lined fuel tank, integral headrests, the digital readouts, interior padding and a fire warning system.

The wind tunnel-tested fibreglass body was finished in an experimental aluminium flake-based metallic orange paint and mounted on a steel box section perimeter frame with rubber insulated mountings.

Under the Hurricane’s pivoting engine hood, set forward of the rear axle, was an experimental 253 cubic inch Holden-designed and built V8 with a four-barrel carburetor.

Serious Wheels