• One owner Holden Overlander Panel Van with books
• First time offered for sale since original purchase
• Rare opportunity to acquire an iconic Aussie 4WD
A very rare one owner 1976 Holden Overlander ‘Sandman’ Panel Van offered for sale for the first time in 35 years has created Australia-wide interest ahead of its sale in Shannons Late Spring Classic Auction in Sydney on November 17.
The high-riding and comfortably appointed Overlander was the brainchild of Tasmanian Arthur Hayward in the 1970s, at a time before the term ‘SUV’ existed when most 4WDs were basic, utilitarian devices devoid of any creature comforts.
His attention-grabbing ‘Uber’ Holden four-wheel drive vehicles were inspired by the Chevrolet Blazer of the era and based on Holden’s HJ panel vans, utes and station wagons, with each completed to the customer’s own specification.
The combination of Holden’s powerful 308-cid V8 engine and Turbo 400 transmission was perfectly suited to the task of bush bashing and the Overlander effectively set the stage for Holden’s own 4WD Adventra introduced nearly 30 years later in 2003.
Sadly, delays in ADR certification, combined with import duties on the major driveline components from the USA, frustrated Hayward’s efforts to increase production and Holden’s decision to switch to the Commodore was the final nail in the coffin. Production ran from late 1976 until 1980 and it is believed that a total of 80 were made, consisting of 20 utes, six One-Tonners, 24 wagons and 30 panel vans, with a mixture of HJ/HX/HZ versions.
This Overlander being auctioned by Shannons is build number five of the 30 Overlander Panel Vans and was bought new as a demonstrator from Keith Leach Holden Motors of Stone Corner, Brisbane by the current owners in early 1977.
Always kept registered and on the road, this Overlander has circumnavigated Australia a couple of times, including re-visiting its ‘birthplace’ in Tasmania, and otherwise been a loyal workhorse on the family property near Inverell.
Mechanically unaltered from its original specification, the HJ still runs the correct 308-cid V8 and Turbo 400 transmission and has a few useful modifications, including dual batteries, an oil cooler and twin 75-litre long-range fuel tanks.
Complete with its original books and other documents, Shannons believe this 1976 Overlander represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire an Aussie icon, one that could either be kept in unrestored condition or make a straightforward restoration project.