HOLDEN HZ SLE STATESMAN
The Holden HZ received minor updates to the exterior over the HX series, and saw the introduction of what Holden termed “Radial Tuned Suspension” (RTS) across all models. RTS made significant changes to the suspension of the car, greatly improving the handling finesse, while at the same time not compromising ride quality. Modern Motor magazine described the HZ as “a great handler spoiled by the car” in a comparison against the BMW 528i, contrasted as “a great car spoiled by the handling”. In this series, the base specification Belmont was deleted and the new Kingswood SL became the base luxury level for sedans and wagons, with a lower specification Kingswood sedan and wagon only offered as a delete option on the Kingswood SL. During the course of the HZ series, equipment levels were upgraded in 1978 effectively to match improvements in the opposition Ford Falcon range, but the life of the full W size Holden looked set to end following Holden’s release of the VB Commodore in November 1978. After 1980, W sized Holden passenger cars were cancelled—replaced by the downsized Commodore. The Kingswood luxury level lived on until 1985 on the WB Holden utility but the end of HZ saw the end of the Holden Premier alongside both the GTS and Sandman which were both deleted prior to the end of the HZ series.
In 1977, General Motors-Holden’s introduced the Statesman HZ, 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. 4-wheel disc brakes were now fitted to all Statesman models.
The previous Director of GMH Engineering, 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.