Way back in 1969, Holden unveiled its first concept car – the Holden Hurricane. Code named RD 001; the Hurricane is a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-seat sports car incorporating a remarkable array of innovative features and technology, much of it years ahead of its time.
The Holden Hurricane stole headlines and dropped jaws nationwide when it debuted at the 1969 Melbourne Motor Show. It did exactly the same when the fully restored Hurricane was displayed to the public at the Motorclassica car show held at the Melbourne Royal Exhibition Buildings in October 2011.
As its code name suggests, the RD 001 was the first product of the GMH Research and Development organisation, staffed by a small squad of engineers working in conjunction with the Advance Styling Group at the Fishermans Bend Technical Centre in the 1960s. Features such as electronic digital instrument displays, station-seeking radio, automatic temperature control air conditioning, rear vision camera and an automated route finder were all showcased in this ground-breaking vehicle over 40 years ago.
The Hurricane’s V8 engine featured many advanced design components such as the four-barrel carburettor – a feature which wouldn’t be seen on a production 253ci Holden V8 until the late 1970s. The end result was approximately 262hp (193kW), a towering power output in 1969 and one that ensured the Hurricane had the go to match its show.
Perhaps the two most innovative features on the Holden Hurricane were the “Pathfinder” route guidance system and the rear-view camera. The “Pathfinder”, essentially a pre-GPS navigation system, relied on a system of magnets embedded at intersections along the road network to guide the driver along the desired route. A dash-mounted panel informed the driver of which turn to take by illuminating different arrows, as well as sounding a warning buzzer.
The rear-view camera was also a ground-breaking innovation. Engineers using a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system with a camera mounted in the rear bumper feeding vision to a small black-and-white TV mounted in the centre console.
The wind tunnel-tested fibreglass body consists of three segments; the canopy, the engine hood and body shell and was finished in an experimental aluminium flake-based metallic orange paint. Safety innovations included a foam-lined fuel tank, integrated roll-over bar, digital instrument readouts, ignition safety locks, interior padding and a fire warning system.
The Hurricane holds a particularly special place in Holden’s history as it kick-started Holden’s long love affair with concepts that has since seen the likes of the iconic GTR-X, Torana TT36, Coupe 60, the GMC Denali XT (which was requested specifically by GM for the North American market) and the award-winning EFIJY.
Paul Clarke, Holden’s manager for Creative Hard Modelling talking about the restoration said,
The entire team has done a fantastic job in bringing this beautiful concept back to life. The Hurricane plays a crucial role in Holden’s story and the company has such a great sense of history and heritage that it was very important to bring RD 001 back to life. It’s been a challenging but incredibly rewarding process.
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