1986 Holden Piazza Turbo - Reader Ride

By: Robert Hopcroft

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More than double the price of an average family car

 

Robert Hopcroft's Holden Piazza

Mine is the turbo manual and this generation was rear-wheel-drive. You could also get them in an auto, and they were sold in Australian for a very short time – 1986-87.

It’s a two-litre four with multi-point injection powering it, north-south configuration, from the same sort of family as Rodeos and Geminis. The transmission is a five-speed, with LSD rear end.

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What attracted me to it was my Mum had one when I was a kid, probably in the early 90s. I used to get dropped off at school in it. Come time to get my licence, I ended up buying one as a first car, which would have been around 2002. It was in the driveway for a couple of years and I ended up moving it on.

All these years later, I wanted another one but there weren’t many around. I have a bit of attachment with them and was casually browsing for years. In particular, I wanted a Formula Piazza. That was a Holden pack, which gave it a front lip, rear spoiler and mudflaps. Red would have been good, but it just didn’t come up.

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This one appeared in the classifieds and was a Formula. It was in pretty poor nick when I bought it. I don’t know how many Formulas are out there, it wouldn’t be many as I’ve heard anything from just 200 to maybe 500 Piazzas were sold here. They were expensive, priced at $35,000 when launched, more than double the price of an average family car. Holden reduced the price to $30,000 and reimbursed the people who had paid full whack. My family bought their block of land at the time for $15,000!

The story is my family wandered into a dealership years later, saw a Piazza on the used lot, test drove it and loved it.

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They sold it after a few years, but ended up buying another because Mum missed it. And that’s the one I ended up buying as a first car.

When I bought my current one, which I’ve had for four years, they went and bought another!

Mine had been sitting for over 10 years, so I did a mechanical restoration on it – rebuilt the motor, the brakes and suspension. Then I got into the paint, and generally cleaning it up. It was a pain in the arse and I wouldn’t do it again.

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I get a lot of service parts from the USA, but getting cosmetic stuff is near impossible. I had to have donor cars for that.

It’s a very eighties car with the interior trim and the digital dash. And that’s how it drives. I have a Porsche 944 as well and they’re completely different. You don’t drive the Piazza hard – it’s quite solid on the road and has a bit of pick-up.

Just a nice car.

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From Unique Cars #444, Sep 2020

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