The "Classic Motor Sport Tour" includes visits to Goodwood Revival, Donington Grand Prix Collection, Grand Prix Historique de la Vienne, Manoir de L'Automobile and Museum de L'Automobile at Le Mans and, for a farewell dinner, Atelier Renault on Champs Elysees. Also included are city tours of London and Paris, Classic Team Lotus Works tour and Brands Hatch race master (with an opportunity of a drive in a high performance Renault). This great tour includes return economy air fares, departure tax, transfers, 13 breakfasts, 3 dinners and 13 nights accommodation.

See the brochure for more details ..... here.

Bookings close 25th June, 2008.

Sheryl Poulter
at Preston Travel on
(03) 9470.4737 for enquiries and bookings.

..... more

Elvis Festival
2008 Elvis Festival

Road Test

Holden Statesman

by Stephen Walker

27th April, 2008

Holden Statesman 
Click on the image for a larger view

The current WM series Holden Statesman is a success story for General Motors. Not because of sales within Australia, but because of worldwide sales. In fact, more Statesmans are sold internationally than locally.

To sample the big Holden, I managed to 'clock-up' some 1,224 kms around Sydney and Newcastle.

Our test car was coloured "Sandstone", a light silvery gold metallic, which certainly suits the style presented by the big Statesman. On this occasion, the test car was equipped with Holden's 3.6 litre high output V6 engine and 5 speed automatic transmission. This combination is quite suitable for this big car.

Style is something which is essential in a car which does battle in the lower end of the prestige car market. The attractively designed body is stylish and, therefore, must be considered a plus. The abundance of interior space is magnificent for those who have rear seat passengers who enjoy their own space and the equipment level is suitable. Driving this 5.16 metre long car is pleasant, although not so great in city car parks, even worse in hotel car parks where the hotel operator seems to believe that their guests want a parking space which guarantees their car will be damaged. It is so easy to recognise that this is a large car each time you're in a city environment, you recognise it each time you drive past a parking space which is admirably suitable for a shorter car.

Stephen Walker with the WM series Holden Statesman 
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The interior is suitably presented with many attractive features, including a fake wood grain trim that is more attractive than most would-be wood trims. Standard equipment includes (but is not limited to): ESP (electronic stability programme), 4 wheel disc brakes, 4 wheel independent suspension, 5 alloy road wheels, height and reach adjustable steering wheel, 6 airbags, cruise control, trip computer, leather trim, dual zone climate control, 6 disc CD player/audio system with 11 speakers, electrically adjustable front seats and lumbar support on front seats, amongst numerous other features.

Driving the Statesman affords a unique experience. The suspension is soft and, in what I'll call 'the float', provides a flashback to large American cars (especially those of the 1960s and 1970s) because as you traverse undulating road surfaces the WM Statesman suspension allows the car to 'float' back to normal after a brief elevation as you drive over various road heights (such as a mound over a pipeline). The float is certainly unique. At first I thought it was in my mind, but it repeated itself, shall I say, repeatedly. Other than 'the float' the Statesman gets onto the job of being a decent drive providing comfort with peace and quiet being the defining quality.

Power is rated at 195 kW (at 6,500 rpm), whilst the torque is rated at 340 NM (at 2,600 rpm). The engine has become well known as the power source for Holden's Commodore SV6 and Calais.

Towing capacity of the Statesman is 2,100 kilogrammes for a braked trailer.

Pricing for the WM Statesman commences at $60,990 (RRP). The more upmarket Holden Caprice is priced from $67,990 (RRP) for the V6 equipped version. The V8 version of each model is an additional $4,000 (approximately).

The Holden Statesman, whilst overall a very pleasant experience, is not without criticism.

Holden Statesman 
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In a car which is priced at the level of the Statesman, cheap interior plastic and cheap mountings should be banned. No-one, for example, has every asked me to recommend a prestige car with cheap plastic fittings. On that basis, the excessively cheap manner of mounting the out of sight plastic cover at the rear of the steering wheel should be banned and the person responsible for authorising the procurement of this component should be transferred to the design team responsible for sub-$15,000 cars. But that's not all. The flip-open front door pockets are next to useless. Perhaps some thought could be provided to this aspect for the next Statesman model. And my favourite disappointment comes next. And each time I raise this issue, the feedback line gets a solid flow of e-mails supporting or denouncing my view. Here goes anyway. The gear selector for manual operation of the sequential gear change is the wrong way around. The Statesman requires a pull-down on the gear selector to go up a gear and a push-up to come down a gear. Many interesting theories have been provided by readers who believe I am wrong, but the weight of numbers in the market place suggests that car makers who require a push-up to go up a gear and a pull-down to go down a gear have got it absolutely right.

But that said, the Holden Statesman is a large car that provides a very nice ambience (accentuated by light coloured leather interior trim on the test car) which accounts for itself on the road in a satisfying manner. With a stylish presence and the existence of strong demand for a car of the Holden Statesman's stature, General Motors has encouraged demand by making the car appeal to a broad range of big car fanciers.

Click on an image for a larger view

Other Holden content: here.

Other General Motors content: here.

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