First thing you will notice about this brochure, is that there are no Belletts in it at all.
However, there was NO WAY I could not include this brochure on our website.
With the advent of the Internet, many people are aware of the Mazda Roadpacer. The Roadpacer was a strange anomaly for both manufacturers, being based on a Holden Premier, but with a Mazda rotary engine.
Holden's garden-variety, upscale family machine, the Kingswood-based Holden HJ-model Premier, was never a good candidate for Mazda's Wankel Rotary Engine. The heavy-weight Holden was normally powered by six cylinder motors from 2850cc to 3300cc, while a 253ci (4.2 litre) and 308ci (5.0 litre) V8 were optional. The Mazda rotary was, in the Roadpacer, underpowered and lacking in torque. Australian road testers who managed to test the machine described it as, perhaps most kindly, as 'smooth'.
The HJ-model Premier was sent to Japan as a CKD kit and assembled by Mazda with quite a few Mazda parts including running gear and, perhaps even more famously, mental paisley interior trim.
As rare as it is, the Roadpacer is a known vehicle. More than one have come up for sale over the years and there are references to them on more than one Mazda reference website. The Roadpacer landed in Japan in about 1976 and was gone by the following year.
So where did THIS thing come from?
Pre-dating the Roadpacer by a couple of years, the Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH has so far failed to prove it exists outside the pages of Isuzu's brochures. It has been mentioned in this brochure along with another that features the entire Isuzu range from 1973-1974. This brochure was also mentioned in the letters section of Unique Cars back in about 2005, ironically following an article they did on a Mazda Roadpacer!
There appear to be no references to the car in any Isuzu books or websites. Further to this and unlike the Mazda Roadpacer, there appears to be very little input from anyone except Holden on this car.
The Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH pre-dated the Roadpacer by about 3 years and appears to be simply the HQ-model Statesman Deville by another name. The HQ was the first model of the second generation of the Holden Kingswood range, which began with the HQ, then moved through HJ, HX and HZ model updates until the sedan and wagon were killed off with the demise of the HZ in 1980. The long-wheelbase Statesman and the commercial range soldiered on, with significant upgrades, as the WB-model until early 1985.
Although coil sprung all 'round, they weren't particularly good at handling, as the head of Holden at the time was an American who insisted that all Holdens should ride like Cadillacs! Certainly the Pontiac and Cadillac-inspired Statesman would have to have ridden the same, so the ride, often described as 'wallowy' would have been at odds with Isuzu's sporty nature! All too late for the Isuzu Statesman, the handling was something that was not fixed until the final model of that generation, the HZ-model range, which included "Radial Tuned Suspension" fine tuned by ex-Opel engineer, Peter Hanenburger.
The HQ series went from 1971 to 1974 and saw many variations which included sedans and wagons (Belmont, Kingswood, Premier), coupes (Monaro), utilities and vans (Belmont, Kingswood), a cab-chassis (1-Tonner) and the long-wheelbase (shared with the wagon, van and ute) Statesman luxury car. It was sold in South Africa as the Chevrolet 350 and in the Middle East as the Chevrolet Caprice. It was one of Australia's best loved cars and cemented the Kingswood into Australian folklore as the quintessential Australian car, but I can bet you that out of the record 485,000-odd examples built by Holden, not many of them were Isuzu Statesman Devilles!
The classy brochure cover:
1973 Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH - Japanese - 12-pages - 01 - cover.jpg [ 198.09 KiB | Viewed 11715 times ]
Here is the hansom beast in all it's glory. Immediate differences include the indicator repeaters under the "Statesman Deville" badge on the front quarters, along with the Jap-spec rear-view mirrors mounted down along the quarters.
Early HQ Holdens had white front indicators which were changed to orange when the relevant Australian Design Rules (ADRs) came in back in 1973. I've guessed from the other Isuzu Statesman brochure, which show-cases the Isuzu range for "1973-74", that the year of this car is approximately 1973. The orange indicators would have no bearing on this if they were required for the Japanese market regardless of what colour ours were.
Another minor change is the fitment of standard black Kingswood hubcaps with the Holden lion in the centre. The HQ Statesman hubcaps were of similar design, but were a brushed metal with the up-market "Statesman" badge in the centre with "General Motors-Holden" written around the outside.
Can anybody establish if this is actually former champion golfer Jack Nicklaus or some kind of look alike?
1973 Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH - Japanese - 12-pages - 02-03.jpg [ 164.75 KiB | Viewed 11712 times ]
The long, sleek, low lines of the HQ were especially evident in the way they actually squished this photo somewhat. This is of a different example, with plastic rear-view mirrors mounted further down the quarter panels and the previous car, plus with very little evidence of the side repeater lamps. This would indicate that a final specification was yet to be decided on when the brochure was printed.
The tail of the car appears to be 100% Holden Statesman, featuring the HQ-model's clever use of tail lights that were fitted to all the wagons, utes and panelvans, as well as the top-of-the-range Statesman Custom and Statesman Deville!
1973 Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH - Japanese - 12-pages - 04-05.jpg [ 106.74 KiB | Viewed 11702 times ]
Things get weird inside; nobody I've spoken to remembers this trim in any HQ Holden they've seen. Holden's interiors were generally fairly austere unless fitted to a sporty model like the Monaro GTS, and this would have been especially true in a gentleman's carriage such as the Statesman.
1973 Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH - Japanese - 12-pages - 06-07.jpg [ 175.63 KiB | Viewed 11688 times ]
Still more of that crazy trim. This page features both the bench-seat and the bucket seat options, both of which are still column-shift - no t-bar autos here! Power windows feature; something that was optional on the Statesman range in Australia at that time. The speedo is in kilometres; something Holden changed on their Australian-market cars in 1973 with the introduction of revised ADR laws that came in at that time.
1973 Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH - Japanese - 12-pages - 08-09.jpg [ 179.74 KiB | Viewed 11684 times ]
The specification drawing here is 100% Holden, with the V8 motor, unitary construction-with-subframe and collapsible steering column all featured prominently. Exterior colour range and interior trims also shown.
1973 Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH - Japanese - 12-pages - 10-11.jpg [ 195.46 KiB | Viewed 11679 times ]
Finally, the specs table for the HQ Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH! Of course, the Japanese can't seem to have a simple, two-letter model code for any given machine, so the HQ became the HQ814AD for the bucket seat model and the HQ814BD for the 6-seater, bench-seat model.
All other specs seem to be pure Holden, especially the 5046cc Holden V8 engine, although this is normally quoted at 5044cc.
The car seems to have a fairly good spread of standard features with only very minor variations between the 5 and 6 seater versions.
1973 Isuzu Statesman Deville by GMH - Japanese - 12-pages - 12 - specs sheet.jpg [ 132.54 KiB | Viewed 11664 times ]
If anybody knows some Japanese and can interpret any of this, or better still knows something about it, the just let us know!
This brochure is a true rarity, but as with all Japanese-text stuff, it doesn't solve much!