Holden Camira, Piazza and Rodeo Reviews and Road Tests

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Holden Camira, Piazza and Rodeo

Introduced in 1982 as a replacement for the Torana, the Camira would quickly earn high praise from the commentators of the day, the car even taking out Wheels magazines prestigious “Car of the Year” award the same year. But the Camira would soon be beset with reliability and durability problems; quality control issues included smoking engines, poor quality paintwork and the ever present overheating problems, all combining to sully the Camira’s reputation forever.

Apart from the fact that the 1.6 litre engine was woefully underpowered, it was also badly designed for Australian conditions. Being a “G-Car”, or global car, the engineers had designed it to reach normal operating temperature as quickly as possible, so that European iterations were not running flat out down the autobahn with a cold engine. Under the more temperate Aussie conditions this design feature quickly revealed it to be a flaw, and the woefully inadequate cooling fan did little to help, resulting in an engine prone to overheating whenever the mercury climbed much above 30C.

Just why the designers did not incorporate adequate drainage holes in the doors is anyone’s guess – Camira drivers would soon get used to the sound of water swishing around in the doors, the ensuing rust holes quickly providing a mode of egress. Later models improved markedly, the JE model actually being quite a good car, but the damage to the Camira’s reputation was irreversible, non-existent resale values a hang-over for years to come.
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Camira JB  

Holden Camira JB

1982 - 1984
Manufactured in Australia by Holden, the Camira was designed by Opel and used an international parts bin that included an Isuzu dash and transmission. Apart from these few items, the Camira was largely built from Australian components, and boasted more local content than the (VL) Commodore of the day. More>>
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Camira JD  

Holden Camira JD

1984 - 1987
The big news for lovers of Holdens Camira came in 1984 with the release of the "JD" model and the introduction of the all new fuel injected 1.8 litre Family II engine. The new motor became standard on all models except the SL. More>>
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Camira JE  

Holden Camira JE

1987 - 1989
The Camira was soon to suffer the same fate as the Gemini. During the mid to late 80's the then Federal Minister for Trade and Industry John Button was restructuring the local motor industry, and this involved local manufacturers sharing models. More>>
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Holden Piazza

Holden Rodeo KB

1981 - 1988
The original Holden Rodeo, the KB, went on sale in Australia in February 1981 – and in doing so scored two 'firsts' for General Motors-Holden's Ltd. It was the first vehicle to bear the Holden name to be built outside Australia, and it was the first four wheel drive vehicle to be marketed as a Holden. More>>
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Holden Piazza

Holden Piazza YB

1986 - 1987
Despite the bravado of the Italian design, under the skin lurked a thoroughly conventional small Japanese sedan with double-wishbone front suspension, five link live-axle rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. More>>
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