Out-of-this-world. Ahead of its time. Ground-breaking. Just some of the ways the latest arrival at the National Motor Museum could be described. With its space-age looks and cutting-edge design the Hurricane caused quite a stir back in 1969. No-less impressive now, this car’s futuristic features are sure to turn heads. Who needs doors when you can have a hydraulically-powered canopy that swings forwards over the front wheels as the steering wheel rises up and tilt forwards?
The brain child of Holden’s R&D team working in conjunction with the Advanced Styling Group at the Fishermans Bend Technical Centre, the Hurricane has earned its place in motoring history. At just 990mm tall this sleek two-seater might have been low-slung but it was high-powered for its time. With its mid-mounted, high-compression 4.2 litre Holden V8 engine it produced a blistering 193 kilowatts (259 hp).
It is hard to overstate this vehicle’s credentials. For a car that is now well into its forties it was remarkable for its time, boasting many innovative features: Pathfinder - a fore-runner to GPS which acted in conjunction with magnetic signals built into the road to guide the driver; Comfortron – an automatic temperature-controlled air conditioning system- something no self-respecting Aussie motorist can do without these days. It even included an early version of parking sensors involving CCTV cameras and a console-mounted screen!
As Holden design chief and the man behind the EFIJY, Richard Ferlazzo, puts it: "It shows amazing foresight into automotive technology". Digital instrument displays, integral headrests and interior padding are just some of this concept car’s other futuristic features. A foam-lined fuel tank and four-wheel disc brakes – standard spec today but back then these were ground-breaking developments.
It had its first public outing in several years at the prestigious 2011 Motorclassica in Melbourne and in the meantime has been on display at the National Holden Museum in Echuca (see http://www.holdenmuseum.com.au ) as well as Holden’s headquarters in Fisherman’s Bend.
Now, the Hurricane finds a temporary home as part of the impressive collection at the National Motor Museum. So head for the Adelaide Hills and for a whirlwind romance with motoring history.