In March 1967, Ford Australia released the ZA Fairlane, which was a stretched version of the XR Falcon. Offering a higher level of equipment and more room than any other Australian-built car, the Fairlane was an immediate success. By 1972, over 50% of luxury cars sold in Australia were Fairlanes.
Holden needed to respond to Ford’s success. In 1968 the all-new HK range replaced the HR, and used a V-8 engine for the first time. The model that was meant to compete directly against the Fairlane was called the Brougham:
The Brougham was released in July 1968, and was over 20 centimetres longer than the standard HK sedan, despite sharing the same wheelbase and forward panels. The additional length went mainly in the boot, as seen in the promotional picture. This gave the car a slightly awkward appearance, with the increased rear overhang being very noticeable. The four-headlight front and grille from the Premier sedan was also featured on the Brougham. Included in the basic price of $4,000 was a Powerglide automatic transmission, power steering, power-assisted front disc brakes and a distinctive vinyl covered roof in black or light saddle shades.
Costly cut pile carpet ran from wall to wall, it extending to the lower door panels and including the boot. Each door had its own courtesy light, as did the glove box and boot. Interior fitments included woodgrain trim, an electric clock, padded horn bar and centre pillars, and an infinitely variable heater/ demister with two speed fan.
Broughams featured in the two revisions of the HK range – the HT in 1969 and the HG in 1970, but sales never matched the Ford Fairlane. Unfortunately for Holden, the buying public saw the Brougham for what it was – a “tarted-up” Premier with a larger boot, rather than a newly designed car.
Holden had till wait until the HQ range was launched in July 1971 before they were able to produce a proper large luxury car – the Statesman, which was built on the longer station wagon wheelbase.