Although recognised as Holden’s first ever concept vehicle, the radical, wedge-shaped Hurricane was more an experimental vehicle designed to explore future technologies. With Holden freely admitting at the time that it was never meant for production. This phenomenal machine will be showcased in a special display celebrating Holden’s design excellence and rich, 66-year history in producing iconic Aussie vehicles. Here is a quick rundown on one of the star attractions to see at the show…
When unveiled in 1969, it was a veritable technological tour-de force, with many of its futuristic features now taken for granted. These include; four-wheel disc brakes, with oil-cooling at the front, inertia-reel seat-belts, modern-style steering lock, integral head rests, on-board fire alert system, digital gauges, auto-seek radio, sequential blinkers, Comfortron climate control and an early GPS system Holden dubbed Pathfinder. There was even a rear-view camera connected to a black and white, CRT screen mounted in the top of the full-length, centre console.
Code named RD 001, the two-seater employs a wind-tunnel-tested, fibreglass body draped over a steel space frame. The extremely-low, 990mm (39-inch) tall machine, was the first product to emerge from the GMH Research and Development department based at Holden’s Fisherman’s Bend Technical Centre.
To assist passenger entry and egress, the one-piece canopy swings upwards and forwards (via hydraulic rams operated by an electrically-powered hydraulic pump). Behind the seats (that also rise and tilt forward) is a mid-mounted V8 that hides under the rearward-tilting bodywork. Driving through a Pontiac four-speed transaxle, the engine and is an early, 4.2-litre derivative of Holden’s own V8. Equipped with a four-barrel carburettor, it reputedly makes a stout 260hp. Double A-arm, front and rear suspension features coil springs along with 15×6 and 15×8-inch alloy wheels.
Despite the Hurricane’s historical significance, it had become somewhat run down. In 2006, RD 001 underwent an extensive and painstaking restoration by the Holden Design team. As Richard Ferlazzo stated prior to Hurricane’s re-launch at Melbourne’s 2011 Motorclassica, “it shows amazing foresight into future automotive technologies.” In fact it was so ahead of its time that it’s still the star of Holden’s Port Melbourne museum.