Holden is a name which provokes a lot of good memories. Always seen as innovative, the 1969 Holden Hurricane was revolutionary in its design and the propulsion system. And now, a team of former engineers and designers have banded together to restore one as a labor of love.
Years ahead of its time, the Hurricane is a two-seater sports car with rear-wheel drive and includes an incredible amount of features such as an automated route finder, automatic temperature control, electronic digital instrument display and rear-vision camera. All of which in 1969 was light years ahead of what was currently available and showed remarkable prescience on behalf of the designer Holden.
When the Hurricane debuted at the Melbourne Motor Show in 1969, jaws collectively dropped and everyone talked about it.
Michael Simcoe, GMIO Designs Executive Director said of the restoration, it was amazing to see this revolutionary vehicle once more in how it was meant to be. He explained that its concept cars always have looked to the future and what strikes him is that its engineers have the ability to predict many of the functions that we now take for granted.
RD001, as it was so named, was the very first in the GMH Research and Development organizations line and it was down to a very small team. This team worked hard with the Fishermans Bend Technical Center and the Advance Styling Group in the 1960s.
Through their cooperation, the team was able to develop some of the most incredibly advanced techniques we now take for granted. For example, the 4.2 liter V8 engine was a prototype for what was to become the Holden V8 engine program which eventually went into mass-production towards the end of 1969.
This led to the creation of many innovative design features including the four-barrel carburettor which wouldn't be seen again until the late 1970s. The engines were able to produce a staggering amount of power for its time, (262 hp / 193 kW).
Some of its other features include “Pathfinder” - the first step towards modern-day GPS. Pathfinder used a series of magnets placed at certain intersections to guide drivers along certain routes. They were informed which way to go with an alarm system and illuminated arrows pointing in the direction.
Finally the last innovation was the rear-view camera, an innovation which is only seen in a few modern vehicles today. Built using CCTV and a camera placed inside the rear bumper, the camera fed back black and white images to a small TV placed inside the console in the center.