Holden Sandman Panel Van

We recently had the pleasure of working on this original low km Sandman. If you would like us to take car of your pride and joy, give us a call.

Sandman RM1

Panel vans were first offered by Holden from December 1953 in the FJ model. Painters, electricians, and general labourers quickly found panel vans ideal for their trades, as the cargo bay offering extended capacity otherwise wasted in passenger space, and a highly customisable interior, without the bulk or extended dimensions of other longer-base vans. Australian police forces also purchased fleets of panel vans to use in a black maria, or paddywagon, role. These were known formally as Divisional Vans and in slang as Divvy Vans.

Sandman 5

By the early 1970s, usually when based on the Holden Kingswood and Ford Falcon model of the time, panel vans had become Australian cultural icons. The Holden Sandman is probably the best-remembered of these: for example, one of the vehicles driven by Mel Gibson in the 1979 movie Mad Max was thought to be either a Holden Sandman or a customised Holden panel van (apparently a 1975 HJ model in both cases). Ford panel vans (known briefly as Sundowners) were also popular, to a lesser degree. Chrysler also came to the party in 1976, offering a CL model Valiant panel van dubbed the Chrysler Drifter, but these could not compete with the popularity of Ford and particularly Holden, and were axed in 1978.

Sandman RM2

The final production of Holden’s Sandman in the HZ series, featured a choice of V8 engines only, along with a four-headlight grille and under bumper front spoiler. According to a GMH Price List dated 25 January 1979, a basic HZ Holden panel van was priced at A$6,076, with the Sandman option package an additional A$1,700. The further optional components also included 5.0 litre V8 engine and a limited slip differential. If a buyer selected every Sandman extra, they would get a bonus velvet mattress with Holden logo embroidered.

Sandman 4

The price would be more than 150% of the cost of the basic HZ model. By the end of 1979, the Sandman had largely lost its place in the contemporary Australian youth culture – order figures were down and many of the vehicles were now being sold with the stripes and tailgate logos deleted. The Sandman ute was phased out of production prior to the van, the last of which was manufactured in October 1979.

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