Photos via Mitch Vickers.
Typically, you buy the car first, then the license plate. In Australia, where number plates can be bought and sold separate from a car, one collector of Holden’s luxury model, the Premier, did it the other way around, amassing cars to fit the full run of plates already in his hands. Now that he’s met his goal, he’s put the whole collection up for sale for AUS $1 million.
When Holden’s EJ series debuted in July 1962, it ditched the sharp fins of its predecessors with modernized styling and a number of mechanical improvements. It also introduced a new luxury nameplate, Premier, thus relegating the former top nameplate, the Special, to mid-level status (similar to how the Chevrolet Bel Air gave way to the Impala and later, the Impala to the Caprice). A standard automatic transmission and metallic paint set the new Premier apart along with the available leather interior, bucket seats, console, and whitewalls.
The nameplate proved so popular, it alone remained when the rest of the Holden line went through a shakeup with the introduction of the HK series in 1968, dropping the Special and adding the Kingswood. However, the Premier nameplate, like the Special, took a back seat that year to the extended-wheelbase luxury Brougham nameplate, itself succeeded by the Statesman. Along with the Kingswood sedan, the Premier lasted through the HZ series, phased out in 1979.
Collector Mitch Vickers, told Australia’s Unique Cars magazine that he grew up in a Holden family, though one that never owned a Premier. He said he decided to start collecting the Premier simply due to the fact that it was a low-volume car, though he soon discovered that – due to the Australian tradition of buying one last new car upon retiring – many estate sales offered low-mileage one-owner Premiers.
So, for nearly 30 years he looked throughout his home state of Western Australia and the rest of the country to find a low-mileage one-owner Premier from each of the 11 series in which the nameplate was offered. Some required a repaint, but for the most part they came to him needing no or little restoration.
The complete collection, which includes an EH station wagon, an HQ 25th Anniversary edition, and an HX special-ordered with a 5.0-liter V-8, has as of late been housed at the Motor Museum of Western Australia in Whiteman Park. Vickers, on his website touting the collection, said that he will entertain offers in excess of AUS $1 million for the entire collection.