To counter the growing popularity of the Ford Fairlane, the General introduced a lavish luxury "large car", the Brougham. The linage was evident to even the most casual observer, it appearing much like a Premier on steroids.
Sure, both the Fairlane and Brougham used their respective parts bins extensively, but few would argue that the Ford designers were able to create a far more distinctive look, seperating it from the lesser Falcon's.
The Brougham was conceived mid 1968, along with the Monaro, both models being created to cater for the growing demand for individuaistic styling. The Monaro catered for the young, while the Brougham had the luxury buyer in its sights. Both would make their introduction with the HK model.
No doubt the most alluring part of the Brougham was the price. Not withstanding its lack of ancestry, the Brougham had an extensive standard features list that shamed most of the competition, particularly in its price bracket. In fact, for a price tag under $4000, it was a bargain.
Apart from a radio, push-button windows and maybe air-conditioning, most of the things a buyer could want were included as standard equipment. Included in the basic price were Powerglide automatic transmission, power steering, power-assisted front disc brakes and a distinctive vinyl covered roof in black or light saddle shades.
Costly cut pile carpet ran from wall to wall, it extending to the lower door panels and including the boot. Each door had its own courtesy light, as did the glove box and boot. Interior fitments included woodgrain trim, an electric clock, padded horn bar and centre pillars, and an infinitely variable heater/ demister with two speed fan.
For the HT model upgrade, the "second generation" Brougham (introduced by GMH in June, 1969), enhanced still further the styling distinction which Brougham owners enjoyed. It featured flowing side contours, a long rear deck, a new front grille and rear-end styling to help make it more distinctive than the lesser Holden's.
The Brougham also featured an extensive safety list, which included an energy-absorbing steering column, dual-circuit brakes and a new "double-jointed" wiper blade that cleaned a bigger area of glass in front of the driver.
A Luxury Car With The Best Dealer Network In The Country
Given the alluring price and standard kit, there was little else required to convince the Australian buying public to go for the local luxury hero rather than an over-priced import. And to further the case, the Brougham was supported by the mpst extensive service and spare parts network in Australia at the time. In 1969 there were more than 600 Holden Dealers around Australia, and because it shared many of its parts with Holden, and had a similar service routine, buyers were literally able to get the best of both worlds -a luxury car with family car running costs.
Powering the Brougham was the all-Australian 308 cubic inch V8 engine, which develops 240 hp at 4800 rpm. This was 30 more hp than the first HK Brougham model, itself no mean performer. Best of all, the changes made to the 308 not only increased the power, but also helped make it more fuel efficient. The 308 was light in weight, due to extensive use of aluminum, and its smoothness and silence set the pattern for the rest of the car.
Sound-deadening compounds were lavishly applied wherever they could be effective. Chunky rubber mountings separatd the passenger compartment from the drive train. The carpet underfelt was one inch thick to further dampen noise and vibration. Inside the Brougham's seats were deeply padded and featured high backs for neck and shoulder support.
There were centre armrests, front and rear, which swung down to turn the wide bench seats into personal club chairs. The backs of the front seats were fitted with twin map pockets. But arguably the best part of the Brougham's interior was the upholstery, the nylon-blend brocade in delicate tone-on-tone shadings making the cabin a distinctive and luxurious place to be. The brocade was soft to the touch, but long-wearing and easy to care for.
The Brougham is today (and has been for many years) a highly prized collectable. Much like Ford's Landau, too few were made, making those that survive today an astute investment for the classic car collector.