Expression Session: HR Holden coupe

A killer HR Holden coupe concept by Ryan Carter


Browsing American car mags can be quite depressing — all those two-door cars to choose among. Except for a smattering of Monaros, Falcons and Chargers, Australia has been starved of stylish two-door streeters.

Don’t get me wrong, we have some bitchin’ sedans. But at the end of the day, four-doors streeters are just tarted-up taxis so if the factory never built your favourite model with two doors, you’ll have to build it yourself.

Which is exactly what we decided to do — on paper, anyway. You might call our HR hardtop a phantom — a body-style never offered by the factory — although we do know that Holden’s stylists did toy with the idea back in the day.

Ryan Carter came up with three concepts for us back in 2008. The design is based on a stock HR wheelbase, which makes it a reasonable proposition to build. To go from four to two doors, Ryan moved the B-pillar back eight inches and added the same length to the top of each front door — the rears were welded shut.

The front screen has been lain back and two inches has been lopped out of the roofline. Front screens may be able to be used but due to the heavily raked C-pillar the side and rear glass would have to be all custom.


The first of Ryan’s three cosmetic treatments of our phantom HR coupe has a very original character about it. The period-looking model is painted an appropriate apricot colour and looks like something you could’ve driven off the showroom floor in 1967 — had Holden built such a cruiser. It sports stock hubcaps on 14-inch steelies, white roof, X2 badging and a high-performance twin-carb 179ci six-cylinder — naturally.


Fast forward 40 years and Ryan’s olive-green meanie is something a budding young street machiner could screw together. While the colour is more modern, it retains the white roof for the traditional two-tone look. New-style Holden badge on the C-pillar, HQ-style door handles, deleted quarter-vents and pillar-mount peep mirrors clean up the styling, as do Billet Specialties Roulette wheels and red-wall tyres. Power from a supercharged Holden V6.


The all-silver version takes everything one step further. Its airbagged suspension is slammed over fat, low-profile rubber that’s wrapped around big-diameter Greg Weld 93-Lite wheels. The door handles, quarter-vents and all exterior badges got the flick. Grunt is decidedly more purposeful, something like an LS motor or a warmed-over injected 304 Holden V8. This is a thoroughly modern coupe and would be the highlight of anybody’s garage.