By on July 1, 2014



Even though it’s Canada Day today, my fair nation has never managed to build its own local auto industry with any sort of distinct brand.

Ok, that’s not entirely accurate. In the 1960’s, GM tried establishing some Canadian brands (like Acadian) that died quickly. We’ve never had anything like Holden.

The Commodore gets the lion’s share of attention when it comes time to discuss Australian cars, but Tamerlane’s Thoughts posted this interesting creature that will surely stoke the fires of the B&B’s heart.

The Holden Adventra was a Commodore wagon, raised up ala an Audi Allroad. Underneath the skin was the familiar GM small-block V8 and AWD, meant to compete with the delicious Ford Territory and its turbo I6 engines. The Adventra was a massive flop. And Cadillac gave us the CTS wagon instead.

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30 Comments on “Crapwagon Outtake: A V8 Wagon From Down Under...”

  • avatar

    You folks got Mercury branded trucks. That’s sort of interesting.

    I used to really like Australian vehicles but the, um, extreme enthusiasm of Australian automotive fans has started to sour me on them.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t blame them at all. It’s hard to accept the loss of something that is romanticized as much as the automotive industry. Their persistence is patriotic and noble as their local industrial identity is being dismantled by global economies of scale.

      The same global economy chewed me up and spit me out. If I could take it all back and be some financial analyst in some cozy isolated office, I would take the opportunity in a heart beat.

      • 0 avatar

        The Aussie diehards tend to be bogans. It’s those redneck sensibilities that are the issue here; they are lousy spokesmen for their cause.

        That being said, I have a soft spot for those cars myself, even though my (well worn) Falcon was a POS.

      • 0 avatar

        Hah, I had to google ‘bogan.’ I’m a damned ‘naco,’ myself.

        • 0 avatar

          I have an Aussie facebook friend or two, so I’d googled ‘bogan’ a long time ago.

          In Canada’s defense, there was such a thing as a McLaughlin Buick.

  • avatar

    I’d compare it more to the original Cross Country XC70. It’s a big boring, but not bad looking overall. I’m guessing the price was too high?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, it was priced way above what the market could bear:

      “…Holden’s lack of a more appropriate V6 version within its introductory Adventra range, which comprised two 5.7-litre V8-only variants initially priced above $50,000, kept sales to a trickle – despite a subsequent (and embarrassing) $4000 price reduction.”

    • 0 avatar

      @CoreyDL, have driven a relatives Adventura in New Zealand.pretty good car,Only major problem was not enough ground clearance as a SUV. They were not as good as the Ford Territory in this regard. Criticism of a lack of a V8 had Ford Australia drop in the turbo Barra engine, 365 hp 380 lbs ft of 1900 rpm. Went like a rabbit , but thirsty on fuel

  • avatar

    GM interpretation of a Subaru Outback. I like it very much, these could have been sold in North America but only if they had gotten Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan to star in the commercials but they would have had to grab him before Subaru did.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    Canadian vehicle brand from a Canadian company: Can-Am.

    Bombardier makes plenty of trains and planes, too.

    And they might not be very sexy, but New Flyer buses are a Canadian brand.

    And although there might not be any Canadian-brand-name cars (aside from the badge-engineering jobs), a whole lot of cars worldwide have parts in them with a Canadian brand name: Magna – and all its sub-brands.

    Happy Canada Day.

  • avatar

    Yep, they were pretty much a flop here, nobody took much notice and just kept buying Toyotas. Too low for any real off roading (not that many 4x4s sold here are ever used off road), too high and ugly for buyers looking at a normal wagon for suburban use (they just bought Commodores).

    Canada made at least one contribution to my 1968 Holden Premier, it has a factory Powerglide transmission, “Made in Canada”. Oh and the sound system will be playing plenty of Jeff Healey and Neil Young when I’ve finished restoring it!

    Happy Canada Day!

  • avatar

    How could you forget the short-lived Asüna brand of re-bradged Daewoos and other hodge-podge GM cast-offs? Uniquely Canadian.

    • 0 avatar

      It was awhile ago, but Chrysler sold trucks in Canada under the Fargo brand. They also sold Dodges with some Plymouth bits and Plymouths with some Dodge bits. I think GM did that too, just to make them seem like they were special to the Canadian market.

      • 0 avatar

        The whole history of Canada-specific models and brands has always been very interesting to me.

        Chrysler sold Fargo and DeSoto brand trucks in South America, Australia, and India for quite a long time, as well. A company called Askam makes Fargo and DeSoto trucks to this day in Turkey.

        • 0 avatar

 is a good place to get your fix of Canadian market oddities. In honor of Canada Day there is a post on the Ford/Mercury Canadian offerings.

  • avatar

    Just calling a car “Adventra” is enough to prevent anyone from buying it. (Was “Aventura” already taken?)
    If Canada needs a native brand, how about Holden? It certainly has history and could become something substantial.

  • avatar

    Well, we Canadians got the…uhm… Acura CSX! We also got the Acura TSX with cloth seats. For such a small market, it really wouldn’t make any sense to create unique locally produced vehicles.

  • avatar

    What about the Manic GT and the great sports racers of Bill Sadler?

  • avatar

    Ahem. Bricklin. My high school history teacher sold his Corvette to put a deposit on one.

    • 0 avatar

      Ahh the Bricklin. Such a cool and promising looking design saddled with such disappointment once one looked beneath the skin.

      I body shop I once worked at did a full body off restoration on an SV-1. Your teacher would have been far better off with his Corvette. The SV-1 was nothing more than a gull-winged fibreglass tub jammed over top a crude ladder frame that rode on a leaf sprung AMC truck axle powered by smog era Ford and AMC excrement.

      The one we restored turned out to be pretty cool once we changed out all the door hydraulics for pneumatics, added a panhard bar to the axle and put a big cam in the 351. All that glass work hardly seemed worth it.

  • avatar

    I just googled Canadian only cars – some interesting stuff and some crap.

  • avatar

    Theres a few problems here

    The car is 4,400lb

    It uses the crappy 4L60/65 4 SPD weak auto

    The v6 high feature quad cam is slow and weak blowing timing chains

    The v8 gets sub teen mpg

    Underneath is a hummer drive train?

    Cheap now for the right buyer

  • avatar

    Living in South Florida, we usually catch a glimpse of a number of Canadian only vehicles idling down our streets (especially if you live in Hollywood). Does Canada have a fascination with Daewoos and Suzukis?

  • avatar

    From the A pillar back that is still an Opel Omega B, a 20+ year old platform which got axed in Europe over a decade ago. That said, I’ve owned a few, they were pretty good for the money. With RWD and the V6 it did a passable job as a poor man’s 5 series. More space too.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    I live right smack in the middle of Queensland,Australia’s car capital and i saw one these commode 4×4’s whwen they first came out. Lately one has been up the end of my street… I had a closer look today…same car. As i mentioned,I live in OZ,right amongst car dealers and workshops and i have only ever seen one. Massive flop is a massive understatement .
    Holden actually built a 4 WD Monaro too,Pontiac GTO to the Americans.But i have only ever seen one in a TV ad.
    Holden shit in it’s own nest in OZ because of the constant demands for taxpayer handouts, shit quality cars with huge depreciation and no resale value …then they finally pulled out of oz without so much as a Kiss my arse after 60 years of those taxpayer funded gifts.
    Only bogans like holdens and thankfully they are dying breed.

    ha ha ha

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