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Father of the Commodore says ‘Holden name could disappear’

The man who designed the very first Holden Commodore says that time is running out for Roary the lion.

EX-HOLDEN DIRECTOR of design Leo Pruneau, responsible for designing the very first Commodore, says that Holden will likely be gone within ten years.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Mail (read the full interview here), the 88-year old said he was at a loss as to the state of the iconic lion brand, and mourned the Commodore which Holden confirmed last week had finally fallen under the axe.

Holden VB Commodore Kangaroos
Leo Pruneau design Holden Commodore VB

“For General Motors to treat Australia like that I think is just a goddamned shame,” he told Daily Mail Australia.

“I would say 10 years we won’t see a Holden badge.

“It’s a really sad thing to say. There’s a good chance the Holden name could disappear altogether.”

Pruneau was born in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri and earned his stripes working at GM’s design studios around the world. However, it is his move to Australia in 1969 to head Holden design that spawned an era of cult classic cars, from the Monaro to the Commodore. Having headed design at Holden’s Fisherman Bend studio from 1975-83, he was instrumental in the design of the very first VB Commodore.

Now, 41 years on since the first Holden Commodore rolled down the line, the badge will be retired from showrooms. Pruneau added that although average punters didn’t know the difference between locally-made Commodore V8s and the new, imported front-drive four-cylinder version, it hurt many enthusiasts.

“The Australians, they didn’t want to be a whimp, they liked those big V8s – the halo cars don’t outsell the base Commodores but they’re there for the hero car.”

Holden has since shaved its lineup to only SUVs and utes, with some models sourced from GM’s Chevrolet brand. Cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Silverado are also available via HSV, but wear Chevrolet branding, suggesting that if GM stays in Australia it could change to the bow tie badge altogether.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae