When GM announced that they were dropping the Holden name by 2021, it sent a shockwave through the Australian landscape. More so than most nationally-relevant news stories, the Holden name is synonymous with Australian culture. And for many, it remains an important part of their family history and memories growing up.
Ross Granata Motors Mudgee has been the go-to dealership for sales and repairs of Holden vehicles for more than 30 years. But the owners say the business isn't going anywhere and will continue to service and support Holden owners, long after the famous lion badge has been put to rest.
The people that worked for Holden, the people that tested the cars...their passion for the brand is just unbelievable.
Michelle Meyers, a sales specialist and social media manager at Ross Granata said the unexpected announcement was a sad day for her, having grown up in a 'Holden family' and the rest of the staff who are loyal to the brand.
"We are all devastated, it is a very sad day - and I say that genuinely - that isn't a preempted response. Ross has been a Holden dealer for more than 30 years. Ross' business partner James started his motor industry [career] in a Holden dealership, so we've all got - all of us in the dealership have got a story about what Holden means to us," Michelle said.
"It was the first franchise that Ross [Granata] had when he first came to Mudgee so it has great sentimental value and it is deeply saddening when something like this happens."
Michelle said she still remembers the day that Holden announced it was pulling out of vehicle production in Australia.
"That was a significant day, and I'll always now remember getting the email...saying that the brand will be no more. The people that worked for Holden, the people that tested the cars...their passion for the brand is just unbelievable."
I may have been one of the last ones to be able to go down there. So it's awesome to be able to go down there and see it all.
One day Ross Granata Motors will sell its last Holden vehicle, but when that is no one really knows. However the dealership will remain in business thanks to its diverse lineup of brands and will continue to service and repair Holdens well into the future.
Young mechanic Shaun Mooney has been with Ross Granata for a few years now and recently came back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Holden headquarters in Victoria, though at the time he didn't know realise he might have been one of the last.
Shaun was in Melbourne for a competitive technical skills contest where he placed among the top technicians in the state. Shaun was also lucky enough to tour the Holden headquarters and the Lang Lang Proving Ground.
"It was a bit of a shock, I don't think anyone saw this coming too much, especially with all of these plans they had - like they had all these plans to go ahead. I understand why they didn't it but yeah it's a bit of a surprise for everyone from every level up dealer to head office," Shaun said.
"I may have been one of the last ones to be able to go down there. So it's awesome to be able to go down there and see it all. Obviously no one knew that Holden was going to shut down at the time so it's pretty awesome - a great opportunity to get down there."
We were the lowest subsidised car industry in the world. The government just didn't support it."
Nathan White is coming up on ten years as a Holden mechanic at Ross Granata and he described his love for the brand going back to his early childhood.
Nathan says he's owned about 14 different Holden vehicles in his lifetime and still has a handful now including a 1953 Holden 48-215 also known as an FX he bought from the mother of a customer
He even travelled to Adelaide when the last car rolled off the production line.
Nathan says growing up, Holden always felt like it was something truly Australian and the announcement from GM was disappointing.
"It was ours, it was - it might not have been Australian owned - but it was unique to us. I grew up in a Kingswood, dad had a commodore. I started [as a Holden tech] when I was 16," Nathan said.
"I was probably more sad when they stopped local manufacture. When that happened it was, you know it wasn't going to be good. The job losses from that. It would have been good if GM could have brought some other product to the country going forward, but...
"We were the lowest subsidised car industry in the world. The government just didn't support it."