- For other uses, see Statesman (disambiguation).
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Statesman was an automotive marque created by General Motors Holden (GMH), the Australian subsidiary of General Motors in 1971. Statesman vehicles were sold through Holden's dealerships, and were initially based on the mainstream Holden HQ models, but offered more luxury and considerably extended length. Production ceased in 1984.
Holden reintroduced the luxury range in 1990; however, they were not marketed as Statesmans, but instead as the Holden Statesman. The former flagship of the Statesman range, the Caprice, was also relaunched as the Holden Caprice, but the Statesman Custom, de Ville, and SL/E names were not revived.
Then, comes the History section. Expand on any important events and company occurences in this section.
The original HQ was released on July 22, 1971 as a replacement for the Holden Brougham, although drawings exist of a HQ Brougham, albeit in short-wheelbase guise. The first Statesmans were based on these short-wheelbase HQ variants, and were offered in two specification modes, the Custom and the de Ville. Engines ranged from a 202 cubic inches (3.3 L) Red six-cylinder, a 253 cubic inches (4.1 L) V8, a 308 cubic inches (5.0 L) V8 and a 350 cubic inches (5.7 L) Chevrolet Small-Block V8. Compared to the short-wheelbase HQ models, the Statesman featured a wheelbase extended by 3 inches (76 mm), totaling 114 inches (2,900 mm). The extra length was incorporated behind the rear doors to allow for additional rear seat legroom.
The Statesman was intended as a rival for Ford Australia’s successful ZA Fairlane, first introduced in 1966. This created a new category of Australian-made prestige cars. The Fairlane was derived from the Falcon, with an extended wheelbase and unique front- and rear-end styling to differentiate the car's appearance. At the time, this category of vehicle was very profitable, as the sales price was significantly higher than the base car from which the prestige model was derived, while the additional cost of production was moderate. GMH went to some length to set the new luxury Statesman marque apart from the Holden equivalent in their sales literature. for the new models, totally avoiding the presence of the name "Holden", even to the extent of using the term "General Motors" in lieu of "General Motors-Holden's". Advertisements in newspapers among other mediums followed the same format.
Statesman HQ models were marketed in South Africa as the Chevrolet Constantia and the Chevrolet de Ville   and were exported to many other countries as the Chevrolet 350. From 1973 to 1976 HQ and HJ models were exported to Japan as the Isuzu Statesman De Ville. Isuzu sold 246 De Villes between late 1973 and 1976.
General Motors–Holden’s updated the range in 1974 with the HJ Statesman, the two models were the Statesman de Ville and the Statesman Caprice. The Statesman Custom was deleted, as was the six-cylinder engine option. The Caprice was the most luxurious car offered by General Motors in Australia at that point, with a push-button AM radio, pile carpet, leather seats, electric locking, power windows and no fewer than 13 interior lamps.
The Caprice was introduced in 1974, as the new top line model in the facelifted Statesman HJ series. It was a more luxurious version of the Statesman de Ville, with a distinctive radiator grille, Cadillac style front bumper overriders and a bonnet ornament borrowed from the Chevrolet Caprice. The interior was significantly more lavish.
Once again, the Caprice was General Motors − Holden’s response to a new Ford car. In 1973, Ford had upped the ante in the Australian prestige car stakes when they unveiled the LTD. This was a Fairlane which had the wheelbase extended again - to 121 inches (3,100 mm) - making it the only Australian car which fitted into the US full size category. The LTD was a significant success for Ford, both in terms of sales and profits, as well as making a statement regarding their prowess as a manufacturer.
From March 1976, an electro-mechanical rear drum anti-lock braking system (ABS) was made available on the Caprice. This system, a Delco-Moraine unit, carried over to subsequent models, but after the WB's discontinuation, ABS was not seen on another until the Calibra coupe and VQ Caprice in 1991. This new ABS system was the electronic Bosch patent system operating on all four-wheel discs.
The HX Statesman de Ville and Caprice models were released in July 1976 . A more formal grille was adopted and emissions' regulations saw a re-tuned 5.0 litre V8.
In 1977, General Motors-Holden's introduced the HZ Statesman, which involved a minor cosmetic facelift. However, it had a significant engineering upgrade, along with the rest of the GMH range, involving the adoption of Radial Tuned Suspension, giving the Statesman better handling.
The previous Managing Director of GMH, George Roberts had insisted that the Statesman have a high standard of ride comfort (at the expense of ultimate roadholding). (Roberts previously had been the Chief Engineer of the GM Cadillac Division). Prior to HZ, the Statesman's Cadillac style of ride was not to everyone's taste.
The Statesman de Ville and Caprice were supplemented in 1979 by an intermediate model - the SL/E, which was launched with a different "egg-crate" grille.
The final series to be marketed under the Statesman marque was the WB Statesman of 1980. As with previous Statesmans, GMH did not use the Holden name in the badging or the official sales literature. The WB had a six-light body, with a longer, squared-off roofline. The design was by GMH's Chief Stylist, Leo Pruneau. The styling of the WB Statesman was a compromise between achieving a fresh appearance and minimising the cost of redesign, by using panels from the antecedent HZ model.
Mid-term 'Series II' revisions came in 1983 before production ceased in 1984 when GMH announced they were vacating the luxury and commercial vehicle fields to build more variations of the lighter, smaller Holden Commodore. Well kept used models were changing hands in the mid-1980s for more than their final list price.
A full range of WB models including long wheelbase sedans and station wagons bearing the Kingswood and Premier names were planned, but only the Statesman and the commercial models (ute, panel van and cab-chassis "One Tonner") went into production. The stillborn sedan and wagon models would have shared the front end of the production WB panel van. The sedan used the HZ Statesman long wheel base body with different tail lights. The station wagon was to have used the same tail light assemblies as the ute and panel van.
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- ↑ Luck, Rob (September 1971). "Bold New Breed". Modern Motor (Modern Magazines (Holdings)): 62.
- ↑ Wright (1998), p. 209
- ↑ Easdown (1987), p. 97
- ↑ Template:Citation
- ↑ Template:Citation
- ↑ Australian Muscle Car, Issue 33, pages 84-86
- ↑ 1972 De Ville and Kommando Article Retrieved from www.moby302.co.za on 25 August 2009
- ↑ Tony Davis, Aussie Cars, 1987, page 121
- ↑ Bedwell (2009), p. 199.
- ↑ 1976 Chevrolet Constantia brochure
- ↑ 1976 Chevrolet Caprice Classic brochure
- ↑ Norm Darwin, 100 years of GM in Australia, 2002, page 265
- ↑ Davis, Tony; Wright, John (1994). Spotlight on Holden Commodore 1978-1988 (including HSV & Statesman WB). Marque Publishing.