Toowoomba Holden lovers mourn loss of Australian icon
JIM Beh learnt to drive as a 17-year-old in a 1966 HR Holden that was sold locally in Toowoomba, and since then he's never bought another type of car.
"Holdens have been part of me for all of my motoring life," he said while standing in Toowoomba Holden's showroom, with that very same HR model sitting outside.
Today will mark the end of an era, as the dealership removes the famous lion logo and name from its advertising in line with the death of the brand.
Dozens of members from the Darling Downs Veteran and Vintage Motor Club took their own Holdens to pay their respects to the demise of an Australian motoring icon.
General Motors announced earlier this year it would retire the brand at the end of 2020.
Mr Beh, the club president, said Holden had been intrinsically tied to Australian life and culture since the first model was rolled out in 1948.
"It's a sad day to see Holden disappearing from the landscape," he said.
"Holden represented Australia - there was an old TV commercial, which was "meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars".
"That's a good indicator to how symbolic Holden was to Australia.
"(Younger) generations may not relate to the Holden like the Baby Boomers do, but for my generation, Holdens are an important part of our national heritage."
Mr Beh's collection of Holdens span more than 50 years of motoring history, including the classic 1956 FJ Holden right through to the 2004 Calais VZ.
"I haven't sold a car I've ever owned, and I do have a collection of Holdens," he said.
"Before I was able to drive myself, my father always had Holdens.
"He had a 1956 FC Holden, then he bought the 1966 HR Holden, which is the car I've got here today.
"That was my dad's car and that was the car I learned to drive on when I was a young 17-year-old."
Mr Beh said successive federal governments could've done more to save the brand and its Australian manufacturing.
Toowoomba Holden service adviser Siobhan Dow said while it was sad to see the brand disappear, dealerships would continue offering servicing of existing cars for the next 10 years.