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WagonDan Offline
#1 Posted : Sunday, 13 March 2022 3:13:15 PM(UTC)
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Hi Everyone,


Just looking for people's opinions/knowledge, on how common it was for an HQ Kingswood to be optioned with a 308, as opposed to a 253?


Obviously it was available as an option on Kingswood, but usually seen on the higher spec models.


And further to that being a 308 Kingswood with Column Auto, opposed to floor shift?


Thanks 👍
Sandaro Offline
#2 Posted : Sunday, 13 March 2022 4:13:07 PM(UTC)
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I don't know exact numbers, and I don't know that such information is available now, but I would say it was definitely common in the day, obviously less that 253 and way less that 6 cylinder. Kingswood was the middle spec vehicle in the day, it all came down to dollars on the option sheet.

I don't have access to my literature at the moment but from memory a 253 was maybe $250 option in hq, whereas a 308 was around $400. That's with manual gearbox, then you add auto (plus $$) column being the standard auto fitment in Kingswood, floor console would have been more $$.
castellan Offline
#3 Posted : Monday, 14 March 2022 3:02:32 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: WagonDan Go to Quoted Post
Hi Everyone,


Just looking for people's opinions/knowledge, on how common it was for an HQ Kingswood to be optioned with a 308, as opposed to a 253?


Obviously it was available as an option on Kingswood, but usually seen on the higher spec models.


And further to that being a 308 Kingswood with Column Auto, opposed to floor shift?


Thanks 👍


In Australia ? with the HQ not many Kingswood's had the 308 V8.
Most got the little 202 6 cyl.

If you look at Ford Falcons most were 250 6cyl that I seen, and Valiant's were 245 6 cyl mainly, so why were Holden's not manly 253 V8's ? well I believe that the V8 made people think oh no ! so they just dismissed such a thing.
I believe a 202 manual HQ is just ok but a auto 202 HQ is crappy combo. 253 auto is fine. 308 V8 was a bit to much for most people to handle back in the days as remember the tyres were total rubbish and roads ?

T Bar auto HQ regardless was not popular back then with that generation, they loved bench seat totally and hated buckets overall, they loved 3 on the tree manuals believe it or not, but they did ! and the tree auto.

The price of a HQ 202 auto was more than a 253 manual I am sure and a 308 was not much more than a 253.

Auto was $235 over 3sp manual
202 over 173 stung you $60
253 over 202 stung you $150
308 4speed over 202 stung you $285
So a 4speed manual 202 ?
So what is the difference of the 253 4sp vs 308 4sp ? maybe only $80 more for a 308 truly. as a 4sp comes with bucket seats and centre console.

Not to mention $235 nowadays money value would be like maybe $2350 nowadays ? so $600 for the big 202 over a 173 stung more than one thinks back in the days.

A 1979 Commodore auto was $652 and all were T Bar and 202 over 173 $322 and 253 over 202 $455. I have no 308 price list.

So going a HQ Kingswood 308 4sp price is good value to me and a 202 auto would of been shit value to me.
So 202 auto Kingswood $3215
And 308 4sp manual Kingswood $3265
HK1837 Offline
#4 Posted : Monday, 14 March 2022 6:13:26 PM(UTC)
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253 was never optional in HQ, it was only ever standard on all V8 HQ models except Deville (308 standard) and GTS350 (350 standard). See for example the engine order selection on a late 1973 HQ commercial dealer order form. The only optional engines were L20, L21 and L31. Unless it was a SVO you couldn't even order L33 (253LC).



308 was fairly rare in any HQ outside of Deville and to a lesser extent Premier/LS. It was never optional on V8 cab-chassis. Later on 308 became a lot more common on Kingswood V8 plated vehicles but only once the XV4 (GTS sedan) and XX7 (Sandman) packages were made available on respectively V8 Kingswood sedan and the two Kingswood ute models. In GTS sedan and V8 Kingswood Sandman, 308 was always console shift, probably a 50/50 split manual/auto in the GTS and maybe 95/5 split in Sandman. The bulk of L31 M21 non-GTS or Sandman that I have found over the years have been Belmont utes or vans. GMH actually put a stop to people being able to Retail Order L31 M21 commercials as they wanted to free up schedule spots for Sandman production.

If any HQ V8 Kingwood model was optioned with a 308 it automatically came with M21 floor shift and 3.36 rear axle, unless it was standard with a floor console in which case it got M21 with console shift (example GTS or Sandman). However the bulk of HQ V8 Kingswood (or V8 Belmont or V8 Premier or V8 LS or V8 Statesman) optioned with 308 would have got column shift auto and 2.78 rear axle for the simple reason GMH built them that way unless someone placed a Retail Order dictating the standard 4spd manual.

Edited by user Monday, 14 March 2022 6:15:59 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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WagonDan Offline
#5 Posted : Monday, 14 March 2022 6:26:44 PM(UTC)
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Thanks for your responses guys 👍


The reason I ask, this rather interesting (to me at least) HQ Kingswood has just been listed for sale over the ditch here.


https://www.trademe.co.n...olden/listing/3510710048


Its NOT mine (I dont self promote auctions) but wanted to get a gauge on how common/uncommon it might have been.


The interior is simply stunning...
HK1837 Offline
#6 Posted : Monday, 14 March 2022 6:58:41 PM(UTC)
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That would be a pretty rare car. Probably the only rarer drivelines in a HQ Kingswood wagon would be:

253 4spd.
Low comp engine or any kind.
173 or 202 4spd.
308 4spd
350 auto (none made as far as I know, only HQ Premier wagons in this driveline).

It may well been a private import too as there was very limited normal availability for powertrain opton son NZ spec vehicles.

It is an earlier HQ as it has 120mph dash and no ADR27 gear. Trim will be either 12E or 22E depending upon when it was made.

Try and get me the details off the ID plates and I'll look it up. I searched the rego plate but it has no NZ rego history so it is probably the wrong one.
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WagonDan Offline
#7 Posted : Monday, 14 March 2022 7:35:09 PM(UTC)
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It's in the NZ registration system with a QT engine number, although the engine and chassis number are listed back to front.

That's pretty typical of our poor record keeping here.


https://www.carjam.co.nz/car/?plate=Fs9826


I would assume that CHQ35770S is the number stamped by the steering box. I will email the seller and ask for ID tag details.


Thanks 🤟
HK1837 Offline
#8 Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022 8:06:01 AM(UTC)
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I think I found it. It most likely will have the VIN plate 80435QH728339. This is listed as an export car so it shouldn't have an ADR plate, will just have the same putty that was used in HQ rivet centres pushed over the ADR tag holes to seal them up.

Its build configuration was L31 M40 GV3 N40.

It is a May 1972 build.

There is a HQ V8 Premier wagon completed on the same day that is the same driveline, just has integrated A/C. It is listed with engine number QT141299 which is one number earlier than that one in NZ so that further nails it.

There are a fair few 308 auto wagons in that area, maybe one in every 80-100 cars built at Pagewood around the same time are this spec, however most are Premier. I did find another two 308 auto Kingswood wagons within a few pages, one of them is also an export car but it had no power steer, although it did have LSD.
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WagonDan on 15/03/2022(UTC)
WagonDan Offline
#9 Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022 5:07:40 PM(UTC)
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Cheers for that info, it completes abit more of the puzzle.

It sounds like you have access to some amazing records 🤟



I've just received a picture from the owner, but it wasnt of both tags unfortunately.





If they do not have definitive evidence/paperwork that it was a 308 from factory, aside from its originality (which can in extreme cases be "made") then the records you have accessed might be all we have to go on.


Once again, thanks for your help.
Smitty2 Offline
#10 Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022 6:41:56 PM(UTC)
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.. that body plate proves -
it is a HQ, what colour and ... not more
other than it was built at Sydney in RH drive config.

you need more
Club circuit racing...the best fun you can have with your pants on
WagonDan Offline
#11 Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022 6:47:17 PM(UTC)
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And that's the big problem with early build HQs not having Eng/Trans/Diff listed on the tag.


Without original/genuine paperwork, there is no way to prove a factory built 308 over a 253.


I'm trying for abit more information however, will keep you posted 👍
HK1837 Offline
#12 Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022 7:19:17 PM(UTC)
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For starters the model code tells you it is a HQ V8 Kingswood wagon, so it has to be at least a 253. It doesn't guarantee it was built in Sydney though, just the body was put together and it was painted in Sydney.

Once you have enough cars recorded and you have access to original records, then understand how the scheduling was done at the particular time then it is easy to know which car it is. This one is the car I told you it was to almost certainty. When I get time to do some extrapolation with the chassis number off Carjam will confirm it 100%. All these numbers that people don't think relate to each other, they do. You just have to have enough data to solve it.
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Sandaro Offline
#13 Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022 7:44:02 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
253 was never optional in HQ, it was only ever standard on all V8 HQ models


Welcome back HK, love your extensive knowledge and opinions, but I would disagree with the above comment, at least on face value. You are right technically and from a back office point of view, that's how they would have processed it and we all know that's how the models align in the records and on the plates. But to Joe Punter, who might have been buying a Holden (or reading this post without the deeper knowledge) 253 was optional on a HQ everyday of the week (and weekend). Joe Punter didn't know that the dealer ticked V8 model code for 253 as a starting point. They just would have said I want a 253 with a 4 speed or a column shift auto or whatever.

Edited by user Tuesday, 15 March 2022 7:46:15 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

HK1837 Offline
#14 Posted : Wednesday, 16 March 2022 6:22:24 AM(UTC)
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It doesn't matter what Joe Punter thinks. It is what is fact and what isn't. The fact is there was no optional 253 in any model in HQ, or in HT or HG for that matter. HJ-HZ, LH-LX yes, as GMH went back to a sort of modified HK model coding system after HQ where they used PTC's (power train combinations) where some model codes could have any engine/transmission as there was no longer a model coding system with separate models for 6cyl and V8. HK was a bit different where there were V8 models (even number model codes) but only where V8 was standard, otherwise it was a lux/trim level code where the standard engine was a 6cyl and you could optional any available alternative engine including V8.

However the fact remains that there is no single HQ model where you could option a 253 engine. 253 is no different to 173 - it was always the standard engine unless the model it was standard in was optioned to an alternative engine.
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castellan Offline
#15 Posted : Wednesday, 16 March 2022 10:10:52 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Sandaro Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
253 was never optional in HQ, it was only ever standard on all V8 HQ models


Welcome back HK, love your extensive knowledge and opinions, but I would disagree with the above comment, at least on face value. You are right technically and from a back office point of view, that's how they would have processed it and we all know that's how the models align in the records and on the plates. But to Joe Punter, who might have been buying a Holden (or reading this post without the deeper knowledge) 253 was optional on a HQ everyday of the week (and weekend). Joe Punter didn't know that the dealer ticked V8 model code for 253 as a starting point. They just would have said I want a 253 with a 4 speed or a column shift auto or whatever.


Hi Holden dealer, I want a HQ Holden Kingswood sedan.
Dealer ok, here is the option list.
Now we see that the standard Kingswood is a 173 3 speed manual, but I do not want the 173 at all. then I can see the options and I pick what I want, or may have ? 308 is an option because it is ticked off on the list for the Dealer to order for me.
Now if the Dealer turns up with a 173 I can turn it down, no deal buster ! I optioned 308. and if I ordered a auto I want an auto and such is an option if I ordered it.

Anything that is not standard in the HQ Kingswood 173 manual is an option Radio for one etc etc is what one would say, so I go to my brother who our uncle gave us a present to order both of one HQ Kingswood each and my brother took that as it was, but I optioned a radio ? or 202 or a automatic and payed the extra myself ?

No ! all HQ Kingswood are all 173 3 speed manual d'oh! Liar ? BS !
When you sell your HQ Kingswood sedan one says what it is ? 202 auto HQ Kingswood sedan, if it is ! because it's an option. and most people wanted just that in fact. even the colour is an option. what colour do you want you will be asked.

If one was to order a HJ Statesman Caprice I would not ask the engine size or transmission, because I know what it is.

The engine size makes a big difference to what the car actually is in fact in reality ? so when one says I have a HQ Kingswood ? I am well yes but what is it truly ? so when one says 308 I am impressed as that is a good car regardless be it auto or manual and a 253 just passes as fine and a 202 auto is a total shit box and a 173 is just shit as to my opinion in fact.

So when people talk about any Holden the 173 and 202 is the poor mans car who to them is just a form of transport, but a 253 is a worthy of driving and a 308 is a must have for me.

So I have pointed out to others that a 173 and 202 is worthy of that of a Belmont statist as a class of engine, to me ? and a 253 is worthy of a Kingswood statist to me lets say and a 308 is the Premier engine ! but you can have a Premier classes engine lets say in a Belmont or Kingswood car.

So the engine defines the car for me first and foremost ? then the trans mission may come into it ? 3 on the tree to me is trash and would not tolerate such at all. auto 202 is a work of the devil to me as well, directly ! I would kill someone who made me drive something that bad Dancing
HK1837 Offline
#16 Posted : Wednesday, 16 March 2022 2:08:56 PM(UTC)
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I didn't work like that. Dealers were trained using a GMH training course to sell from stock. They didn't want you to order a car, they wanted to sell you firstly what they had in their own stock. Secondly sell you what was built but not yet allocated to a dealer. Thirdly, sell you off the production schedule. Lastly, place a retail order. Probably 90% of people who went to a dealer thinking they were placing an order were just being sold a car that either existed (as in belonged to Sales) or was in the schedule to be built (belonged to Production). The dealer would have asked what you wanted, as in do you want a 6cyl or a V8? What colour? Will see what we can get. I went through this exact process with my VY SS ute. I went in to order a white manual with black leather trim. They tried to sell me a red auto with standard trim really cheap as it was on the yard. Then tried cars other dealers or off the schedule. Then reluctantly placed a Retail order as it wasn't a car Holden built as a stock order. It took 5 months to get, and they were even less happy with the sale as it was a National Fleet order so it was at a big discount.

Its not just the 173 or 202 that made them "bad" by today's standards, as a driver's car. It is the rear axle ratio that came with them, at least on a Holden other than a tonner. 253 was 3.08 manual, 2.78 auto. 308 was 3.36 manual, 2.78 auto. Those rear axle ratios are fine for cruising and highway speeds although the 308 manual car with its 3.36 rear axle did tend to rev a bit much at highway speeds, although by the time I owned then in the 80's we used to run taller tyres like 245/60/14 which gave you a few more % taller tyre compared to say an E70H14. The 6cyl were not far off valve bouncing with the standard 3.55 with a manual doing 110km/h, they were not much fun. Something like a cab-chassis with a good cyl and Trimatic were OK if you changed the rear axle to 3.08. They weren't exactly fast but they were comfortable at highway speeds and the torque converter covered a lot for the taller rear axle in low speed work like reversing. I did have a 5.0L manual car with a 3.08 rear axle but it was horrible for towing or trying to reverse, best changed out for an auto.

I always used to buy 5.0L/308 Premier or Statesman as everyday drivers and wreck them once rego ran out. So I had a lot of Devilles and Premiers. I tended to steer away from commercials or Holden/Belmont/Kingswood as they were often manual if fitted with a 308. I used to use them as tow cars, and favoured HJ's as they had the best engines and an unbreakable gearbox. The best of the manuals as tow cars were 253 3spd column shift as they always had a 3.08 rear axle (unless they were a cab-chassis) and reverse was good whereas M20 fitted cars were useless as reverse with a 3.08 rear axle was way too high geared and you just burned up clutches, not to mention the 4spd were far more breakage prone than a 3spd. The absolute best high speed cars or towing cars were those fitted with a 350 or 400 or 454 or similar with TH400 and a 2.78 or 2.6 rear axle. I had a HJ Kingswood ute like that, was a great long distance car, got written off in a head on though with a Renault.

The Holden 6 wasn't a poor man's car. The bread and butter Holden was a 186 and later 202 Kingwood sedan, they were the volume cars built for sale that suited the Australian buyers. Someone with a bit more $ forked out for a Premier but normally a 6cyl. For those that thought like we do but didn't want a coupe, they shelled for the top spec Holden (V8 Premier) or the sporty Holden (GTS sedan). They would have optioned a 308/5.0L or even bought a GTS350 sedan, however the (for want of a better word) smarter ones knew how expensive a GTS was to insure so they bought the V8 Kingswood or V8 Premier or optioned V8's in HJ-HZ. That is exactly what the original buyer of my HJ Premier did, he ticked every option he could other than dual exhaust and cloth inserts. It actually cost more than a 5.0L auto GTS however he would have recouped the cost with the first insurance premium.
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Dr Terry Offline
#17 Posted : Wednesday, 16 March 2022 3:06:20 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HK1837 Go to Quoted Post
It doesn't matter what Joe Punter thinks. It is what is fact and what isn't. The fact is there was no optional 253 in any model in HQ, or in HT or HG for that matter. HJ-HZ, LH-LX yes, as GMH went back to a sort of modified HK model coding system after HQ where they used PTC's (power train combinations) where some model codes could have any engine/transmission as there was no longer a model coding system with separate models for 6cyl and V8. HK was a bit different where there were V8 models (even number model codes) but only where V8 was standard, otherwise it was a lux/trim level code where the standard engine was a 6cyl and you could optional any available alternative engine including V8.

However the fact remains that there is no single HQ model where you could option a 253 engine. 253 is no different to 173 - it was always the standard engine unless the model it was standard in was optioned to an alternative engine.


I'm with Sandaro on this. As far as the average buyer is concerned a Kingwood is just one model of Holden that could be ordered (or purchased) with any one of either 2 6-cyls or 2 V8s. He doesn't know (or care) that the V8 version in that model series has a different model code. It matters to the dealer, but not to the buyer.

Many dealer retail price lists of the day, list say a Kingwood sedan, as being so many $$ for the 173 version, & so much extra for the 202 & extra again for the 253, 308 etc. Also they list the Tri-Matic (or 4-speeed) as an addition $$. With the 308 its price is extra again but includes the 4-sp as manatory, there being no M15 for the 308.

Technically you are correct, but for Fred Average retail buyer it matters zero.

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HK1837 Offline
#18 Posted : Wednesday, 16 March 2022 4:58:59 PM(UTC)
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There is only one correct answer, and that is 253 was never optional in HQ. Nowhere in any literature that matters (just about everything outside of sales literature) lists a 253 as an optional engine. Anything in Sales info is simply dumbed down or hyped up, it is all smoke and mirrors and the least reliable source of factual information. I've always seen stuff like HT Press release, see attached. Lists the 6cyl and V8 models as separate prices, then they list a price for 186 over 161 and 307 over 253 amongst all the other regular options. All technical stuff is the same.



In the end what people think is irrelevant, most of those same average people think a HQ is a Kingswood, or an LS1 is a 350ci Chevrolet engine. This is a forum about Holden vehicles, not a numbnut Facebook page.
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Sandaro Offline
#19 Posted : Wednesday, 16 March 2022 5:44:39 PM(UTC)
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It's not black and white because Holden ran the ordering side of things as you have said but the retail side differently. Brochures and other sales documents are still part of Holden history. If you refer to a Holden HQ general brochure (doesn't include commercial or statesman) it will say 253, standard GTS, optional on all other models.
The retail/advertising of Holdens is important and can't be excluded. I agree that if a brochure shows for example a pre production feature that didn't eventuate, but here we are talking about the very way Holden conducted business. 2 methods side by side. You can not now simply discard one part of that
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#20 Posted : Thursday, 17 March 2022 8:33:40 AM(UTC)
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It is black and white. Sales is all about hype and bullshit - the aim being to take your money off you. I never said I discarded Sales info, I said it the least reliable source of factual information. Even the photos in sales brochures are mostly faked to create an illusion. You go away and try to write a factually correct article about GMH vehicle or series or whatever. Spend hours and hours finding different documents. You quickly learn that amongst 3 different sources you get two different answers. Research some more, think about the timeframe and what was happening, and then the real truth emerges. I can give you dozens of examples of this sort of stuff, where the starting point is an established fact, but when you research it hard enough you find out that established fact is wrong and Chinese whispers have changed it over time.

In the end it is about the cars and how they were built and what they are, not how people interpret something designed in first place to at least bend the truth. Think "Advertised Horsepower" for example of further bullshit. The cars don't lie. Look at a HQ with a later revised body plate where only the optional mechanical items are listed. The car is telling you that it is standard or optioned in those areas, and the info is backed up in ALL GMH publications that tell the truth. When someone comes to me looking at a car that they think might be a HQ Sandman. If its a standard V8 Belmont XX7 van I tell them exactly that - it is a bone stock HQ V8 Belmont Sandman van with no options. Sure its mechanical build configuration on the broadcast sheet would have been L32 M20 GV2 JL2 where a 6cyl Belmont van would read LD1 M15 G91. However the car is an 0270 (or 80270) model which means L32 GV2 and JL2 are standard along with M15. Having option code XX7 replaces M15 with M20 and that is why the BODY tag reads blank M20 blank as the 80270 model has been modified from standard to M20 by the application of the XX7 special vehicle package. So in reality if you are going to start and incorrectly tell people that any HQ with a 253 has been optioned that way, you'd also better start mentioning it being optioned with JL2 front power disc brakes, and a 3.08 Salisbury rear axle (or a 2.78 Salisbury rear axle if its an auto). Reality is all of those are standard on a V8 HQ apart from cab-chassis.
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