My Car Quest

February 29, 2024

The Stylish Holden Sandman Was Made For Fun

by Mike Gulett –

If the Australian designed and made Holden Sandman panel van were sold in the USA it would be sold as a utility work truck suitable for transporting materials and supplies for various workers like plumbers and carpenters and maybe even delivering bread or other such products.

But in Australia this two door panel van, which could be powered by various engines including a powerful V8, was promoted as a fun way to go surfing with your friends. It was also used as a work van but the fun part is more interesting.

Move Me Sandman

“Move Me Sandman” is the title of this Sandman sales brochure, below. That sounds like a vehicle made for fun not for work. The images on the sales brochure are young people dressed for the beach with their surf boards having great fun. The Sandman colors are bright and psychedelic as expected for the times to make a personal statement.

Holden Sandman

The inside of the Sandman was plain when new so the first owner could customize it as they wanted: a rack for the surf boards, a cooler for the food and beer, or maybe a bed for those relaxing moments. Looking at the images on the sales brochures there apparently were many of those relaxing moments.

Holden Sandman

Holden Sandman

Introduced in 1974, some Sandmans came with stripes on the sides and large “Sandman” decals on the rear (and smaller ones on the sides) so everyone knew the driver was out for the sand and the fun. The sides of the Sandman were flat and uncluttered with windows, which left plenty of room for the owner’s artistic endeavors as can be seen in some of the photos here.

Holden Sandman

In 1973 Wheels magazine quoted one Holden sales manager in Sydney, “The most popular options are mag wheels, V8 engines, mattresses and sunroofs. Our biggest problem is that we can’t get the vans fast enough. We have unfulfilled back orders for 14 308s alone, and we’re selling about 15 vans a month.”

The sales approach was aimed at the young man who was looking for a fun carefree life.

Holden Sandman

Holden Sandman sales brochure quotes

Suddenly your car becomes your personal pleasure machine

Lean, lithe and ready to go

Everything standard except the paint job

Here’s your passport to a good time. Holden Sandman. The freedom machine with GTS poise, RTS pounce and 105 cubic feet of party room up back.

Let the good times roll

If you’ve got the call of the wild, we’ve got your answer

Holden Sandman

Specification Summary

1974-76 Holden Sandman

HQ/HJ van and ute
Engine: 2834cc/3310cc inline six, OHV; 4146cc/5047cc V8
Power: 101kW@4400rpm (3.3); 138kW@4400rpm (4.2); 179kW@4800rpm (5.0)
Torque: 263Nm@2000rpm (3.3); 355Nm@2400rpm (4.2); 427Nm@3000rpm (5.0)

1976 (July) HX; no 2.85-litre six
Engine: 3310cc inline six, OHV; 4146/5047cc V8
Power: 81kW@3900rpm (3.3); 120kW@4550rpm (4.2); 161kW@4800rpm (5.0)
Torque: 251Nm@1400rpm (3.3); 325Nm@2600rpm (4.2); 400Nm@3100rpm

1977 HZ; no six-cylinder engine
Weight: (HJ) 1358kg (3.3 ute), 1430kg (3.3 van); 1392kg (4.2 ute), 1464kg (4.2 van)
Gearbox: 4-speed manual, 3-speed Tri-Matic optional
Brakes: discs/drums

Holden Sandman

This certainly looks like a fun classic to me!

There are many Holden Sandmans on the used car market at any given time and your Holden Sandman (or other classic car) can be covered by many insurance companies; use this Compare The Market to help make your choice.

Under various names GM Holden, Ltd (Holden) in Australia has been a subsidiary of General Motors since 1931. Holden has designed and manufactured cars to suit the Australian market and Asia as well. Holden was an innovative company that produced the very cool Holden Hurricane concept car in 1969.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Holden Sandman

So many choices.

Holden Sandman



Holden Sandman

Holden Sandman

Holden Sandman

The Stylish Holden Sandman Was Made For Fun
Article Name
The Stylish Holden Sandman Was Made For Fun
In Australia this two door panel van, which could be powered by various engines including a powerful V8, was promoted as a fun way to go surfing with your friends, among other activities.


  1. And of course Holden is now dead as a manufacturer: Sadly just selling a rebadged Opel and various Korean offal
    Although many clients are in thrall of the new Corvette in RHD which will be sold via Holden Dealerships at a big premium plus our eye-watering taxes.
    Re:the Sandman …
    Don’t forget the unofficial anthem “if this van’s a rocking -don’t come a knocking!”
    Adrian, Sydney, Australia

  2. It`s the car Mad Max used for his vacations!

  3. Wayne Watkins says

    Sandman’s were called Sin Bins by their owners and many had decals on them saying ” Don’t smile lady , your daughter may be inside ” . I owned one with a 4 speed manual 308 cubic inch V8 aftermarket turbo in it , and a mattress in the back for ‘ sleeping ‘.

  4. Wow, great post.Thanks for sharing this post

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