The History of Holden

On October 20, 2017, a significant and somewhat sad event took place in Australia: the Holden assembly plant stopped its work. Despite the fact that the Holden brand is not widely known in the world, it has a very long and interesting history, which is well worthy of a separate topic.

The history of the Australian company Holden started in 1856, when the English emigrant James Alexander Holden founded the company J. Holden & Co, which specialized in manufacturing finishing and accessories for horse carriages. After 29 years of successful work in this field (in 1885), the company acquired a junior partner - a native of Germany, Henry Frost, who was engaged in the production of carriage bodies. Since that time the firm became known as Holden & Frost Limited, and the production volume has grown by 2.5 times compared to 1880.

In 1905, Edward Holden, the 20-year-old grandson of the founder, became the head of Holden & Frost, who was interested in cars and the fledgling automobile industry. This led to the company becoming actively involved in partnerships with various automobile manufacturers, offering a wide range of bodywork, and from 1908 it was involved in repairing automobile interiors and finishes. In 1913 Holden & Frost began producing motorcycle sidecars and also offered various combinations of bodywork and third-party automobile chassis. The first Holden car was built in 1914 on an imported Lancia chassis, after which the company received and executed a larger contract with Dodge. A separate Holden production line produced bodies for streetcars and supplied them to major Australian cities.

In 1917 Australia imposed a ban on importing complete cars into the country. This was connected both with the ongoing First World War and with the desire of the authorities to stimulate the development of their own automobile industry. The result of this embargo was an increase in Holden production and the transition to full-scale car production.

In 1919, Edward Holden and his father established a separate firm for the production of automobile bodies, which became known as Holden's Motor Body Builders Limited. This was due to the large influx of orders and the need to separate the automobile business from other activities. At this time HMBB was fulfilling many orders for Overland, Chevrolet, Durant, Hupmobile and Dodge. HMBB production was located in Adelaide; by 1923 production was reaching 12,000 units per year. At this time Holden was the only body supplier for Ford's Australian division. The need to expand production lines led to the opening of a new plant in Woodville (near Adelaide) in 1923.

In 1924 NMVB signed an exclusive contract to produce bodies for General Motors, as a result of which production volume grew to 22,000 units per year, of which 11,000 were intended for GM. It should be added that Helden was producing 65 types of bodies for many automakers at the time.

By 1926, GM opened several plants in Australia, which imported car kits from North America and assembled on the American chassis bodies received from the NMVB.

The company's emblem, or 'Holden, lion and stone,' played an important role in creating the brand's image. In 1928, Holden's Motor Body Builders commissioned designer Reiner Hoff to create a trademark. The image of the emblem he created was inspired by the legend that the observation of lions turning over stones led to the invention of the wheel. Do not forget to use Holden VIN decoder in order to avoid potential problems when buying a used car.

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