Holden cloud has a super silver lining

Bob and Anne Allinson will hold on to their 2011 HSV Maloo ute and 2007 HSV GTS Commodore because their value is now expected to increase. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Bob and Anne Allinson will hold on to their 2011 HSV Maloo ute and 2007 HSV GTS Commodore because their value is now expected to increase. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Bob Allinson’s retirement nest egg just got more exciting.

The Green Island car enthusiast has three VE model Holdens — a 2008 SV6 Commodore, a 2007 HSV GTS Commodore and a 2011 HSV Maloo ute.

He refers to the latter two as his retirement fund because they are sought-after high-performance vehicles, modified by Holden Special Vehicles.

Since General Motors announced it would no longer be producing Holdens, Mr Allinson said his prized cars had become very healthy investments.

‘‘The two of them would now be worth over $100,000. I think they’ll be my retirement nest egg.’’

Despite the windfall, he had mixed emotions about the death of the Holden brand.

‘‘It’s very sad. It’s finished now for good.

‘‘I always liked the Bathurst racing days, with the Holdens and the Fords fighting each other. It won’t be the same once Holden goes.’’

Mr Allinson said he fell in love with cars when he was a boy, and admitted his first car was a Ford Prefect — much to the disgust of his Holden-loving friends.

But then he started collecting Holdens.

‘‘I like the shape of them and I’ve always wanted to have a V8.

‘‘Once I had one, I wanted another one and then I decided to get another one after that.’’

He said he was not addicted to Holdens, and had no intention of buying any more, but if one needed a home, there would always be room in his collection.

‘‘I love them. They’re great for going cruising in. I take my wife and my 92-year-old mother. She loves it, too.’’

Cooke Howlison managing director John Marsh said his family had had a long association with Holden and the closure had come as a shock.

He said the Dunedin business was founded in 1895 by Frederick Cooke and Edward Howlison, who manufactured bicycles in Great King St.

The first car they sold was a single-cylinder Rover in 1907. This was followed by Buicks, which was the start of a very successful relationship with General Motors, he said.

In 1963, the business was sold to the Marsh family, and now the group employed more than 270 staff in nine dealerships across Otago and Canterbury with franchises for Holden, Isuzu, Toyota, Hyundai and BMW.

‘‘We’ve had a huge history with Holden and it’s been a great franchise for us.

‘‘We understand the business rationale behind the decision, but it’s still pretty painful.

‘‘The closure has come as a shock. It’s not ideal, but we’ll get through it and come out stronger, probably.’’

He said the parts and service side of Cooke Howlison Holden would continue for at least another 10 years to honour warranties on its vehicles.

‘‘On the sales side, we’ve still got a lot of good [new stock] to sell through, and there will be some incentives announced soon which will make them pretty attractive to the market.

‘‘That will keep us busy on the sales side for quite some time.’’

However, he said the Holden side of the business would eventually be replaced.

‘‘This only happened yesterday, so we haven’t had a lot of time to digest it.

‘‘Already, there’s a possibility of an emerging alternate franchise — that’s where we’re heading.

‘‘But as of 2021 we won’t be selling any General Motors products here. Until then, it will be business as usual.’’

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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