1969 Holden Hurricane concept had reversing cam, early nav, climate control

When it was unveiled in 1969 the Holden Hurricane was Australia’s first locally designed concept car and the first in a long line of impressive Holden concept cars.

The Hurricane was restored in 2011 by a team at Holden and the photo gallery above shows a mix of photos from the car’s 44-year history: from its early days as a design sketch and clay model, through its initial public unveiling and later restoration, to its present state in glorious high resolution.

Powered by then-new 4.2-litre V8 engine with around 193kW of power (260hp) mounted longitudinally behind the driver and passenger, the Hurricane sent its power to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. Stopping power is provided by a four-wheel disc brake setup; the front brakes were oil cooled.

Codenamed RD 001 and standing at just 991mm tall, the Hurricane did without conventional doors. Instead it featured a one-piece glass and metal canopy that electronically lifted up and in front of the passenger cell. To help the driver and passenger enter and exit the car, the Hurricane’s seats tilted forward and up. The car wouldn’t start until the canopy was latched, and the seats reclined into a driving position.

Access to the engine, transmission and rear axle was achieved via a mechanism which tilted the car’s rear bodywork skywards.

Inside, the Hurricane feature a whole heap of technology that was cutting edge and experimental for its time. This included station-seeking radio built into the door sill, which doubled as the driver’s right arm rest. There was also a reversing camera system that fed images from a wide-angle camera in the car’s tail through to a black-and-white cathode ray TV set mounted high on the car’s dashboard. An early climate control air conditioning system, named Climatron, was fitted to the Hurricane.

To cap it all off, the Hurricane also featured a pre-GPS navigation system, dubbed Pathfinder, that used in magnetic signals built into the road to warn the driver about upcoming turns.


Length: 4,110mm
Width: 1,803mm
Height: 991mm
Wheelbase: 2,438mm

Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]