HOLDEN has engaged reverse gear, gone back to the future, and has restored its first concept car – the 1969 Hurricane.
The futuristic research vehicle, described as an experiment “to study design trend, propulsion systems and other long-range developments” has been restored to its former glory as a labour of love by a dedicated group of Holden designers and engineers.
Code named RD 001, the Hurricane is a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seater sports car which incorporates many innovative features and technology, such as electronic digital instrument displays, station-seeking radio, automatic airconditioning, rear vision camera and an automated route finder.
The Hurricane made national headlines when it debuted at the 1969 Melbourne Motor Show.
The RD 001 was the first product of the GMH Research and Development organisation, staffed by a small squad of engineers working in conjunction with the Advance Styling Group at the Fishermans Bend Technical Centre in the 1960s.
The car was powered by an experimental 4.2litre V8 with a four-barrel carburettor, which gave it 193kW, a towering power output in 1969.
RD 001 stands just 990mm high and has no doors in the conventional sense.
A hydraulically-powered canopy opens upwards and forward over the front wheels, combined with twin “astronaut type” power-elevating seats which rise up and pivot forward, along with the steering column.
Occupants are then lowered to a semi-reclining position before the roof closes over them.