Margaret Stewart's 1979 Holden HZ Kingswood - Reader Ride

By: Guy Allen - Words & Photos

kingswood 2 kingswood 2
kingswood rear angle kingswood rear angle
kingswood 10 kingswood 10
kingswood bathurst kingswood bathurst
kingswood engine kingswood engine
kingswood grille kingswood grille
kingswood interior kingswood interior

This car is a classic example of the lifecycle some old vehicles have been through. It’s owned by Margaret Stewart, who is Editor Guido’s partner

Back in 1983 we were in need of transport. Margaret’s Renault 12 was having last rites read and there was a strong desire to buy something more robust that didn’t require a specialist to fix.

A mate in the used car game steered us toward the Kingswood, a then three-year-old SL 4.2lt V8 auto with 60,000km on the odo. Fine – that will do.


As a young couple with bugger-all cash to spare, we signed a hire-purchase agreement, a copy of which is still in the glove box.

Like a lot of its contemporaries, it was there to work. So it did the commuting, the trips from Canberra (where it was bought) then Melbourne to Brisbane to see family, school runs when kids came along and tow vehicle as they grew up and started riding motorcycles.
While it had been looked after well by its first owners, we were less considerate. It sat outside for the first 15 years we owned it with the inevitable toll on its bodywork.


Something subtly changed in our relationship with the car. While sending it to a wrecker and buying a replacement was a possibility, it never got that far. The first sign something was going on was when Margaret switched jobs and used a payout to get the bodywork repaired and resprayed. That was in 1995 and the job, with a few running repairs since, has lasted well as the Kingswood was now being kept under cover.

Then of course the interior looked shabby. That’s now been done twice.


Margaret and motor trimmer Chris contemplate the latest upgrade

The Trimatic (popularly known as the Traumatic) transmission was rebuilt and, eventually, the 253 V8 replaced with an exchange engine. Okay, so we no longer have matching numbers, but back when we did it, that wasn’t a consideration. Having something that got the kids to school was the main concern.

Then of course there was the hopelessly overdue upgrade to power steering, just two years ago.


The kids have been central to our change of relationship with the car. When we first purchased, it was transport – that’s all. Then as the kids went through primary school, it was getting shabby and a bit of an embarrassment from their point of view.

When we did it up and the kids were old enough to drive, they suddenly realised it was a cool old car they were allowed to take out on special occasions. More recently, the dinner table conversation has turned to who will look after it once Ms M and I (sadly) shuffle off our mortal coil. (That’s not a comfortable conversation to be involved in!)


I remember clearly walking into the car yard and first spotting the thing back in 1983, little knowing it would still be part of our lives in 2023.

These days it gets out for the odd Sunday drive, and occasional long trip. It remains a surprisingly good thing to travel in, even today.

From Unique Cars #478, May 2023


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