Photo: eBay
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

Holden Caulfield is a literary character that you probably wouldn’t want to hang out with, as honestly, he’s kind of a dick. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Commodore, on the other hand, is a Holden you might not mind getting to know, That is, if this Maloo is worth the Moolah.

Squeak-ah, squeak-ah, squeak-ah… Oops, sorry everybody. I was just over here polishing this turd. I think that someday it’ll be worth some serious bank. Squeak-ah, squeak-ah, squeak-ah…


Okay, so maybe yesterday’s 1989 Chrysler Conquest TSi is far more desirable than someone’s shiny dookie, I’ll grant you that. Its automatic transmission and $10,777 price tag however? Well, those sure seemed just about as enticing. Those factors—and the dumb bra—dunned the car to an overwhelming 86-percent Crack Pipe loss. That was a stark contrast to Tuesday’s RX7 which, while similarly priced and appointed, did rock a stick and went braless, as one should.

Let’s talk a bit about Australia. It’s a big island; it’s full of animals that will kill you just like that (snaps fingers); and they used to make some pretty wild cars there too. These days they don’t. And, seeing as Americans didn’t kitten to any of the Aussie cars we got here—models like the Pontiac GTO and G8, Mercury Laser (yeah, you forgot about that one) and FWD Capri—it’s no wonder that real deal Aussie iron like this 1990 Holden Commodore HSV Maloo sticks out like a crocodile’s dundee here in the States.


So, just what the hell is a Holden Commodore HSV Maloo? Well, let’s break it down. Holden was General Motors’ subsidiary in the Land Down Under, and for more than 80 years the cars did flow and men thunder. Holden was shuttered last year, just like Ford’s Australian operations, leaving the nation bereft of local major manufacturing operations.

The Commodore was Lionel Richie’s personal ride… Wait, that’s not right.

Let’s try that again. The Commodore was Holden’s big car, sort of like an Australian Caprice. In fact, the model was sold as the Caprice in certain markets. Offered in sedan, wagon and utility forms, the Commodore debuted in the late 1970s with bodywork derived from the Opel Rekord. It would evolve over several generations away from its German roots.


By the time of this spicy Ute, the model had taken on far more local flavor and in fact that Maloo name means ‘thunder’ in the Australian Aboriginal language. Built by the company’s HSV division—short for Holden Special Vehicles, the Maloo offered a 241 horsepower 5-litre V8 engine, pumped up bodywork, a tweaked suspension, and special HSV and Maloo badging. It’s about as badass an El Camino as you could find.

This arrest-me red over grey cloth ’90 found its way up to North Carolina, of all places. How? I don’t know. Maybe it took a boat. However it got here, it now wears First in Flight plates and is claimed to have done daily driver duty for its present owner for the past year.


The ad says this is #61 of the mere 132 Maloos produced by HSVs in 1990, and it comes, as you might expect, with some mods. The most notable of those is a narrowed Ford 9-inch rear end sporting a nodular iron pumpkin with a 3.70 LSD. The brakes have also been updated to later VS units and a shift kit has been applied to the 700R4 automatic. The OHV 304 has been imbued with what’s described as a ‘custom cam’ and gets reasonably big pipes through which to dump its exhaust.

On the down side, the car exhibits a number of imperfections and inoperative kibbles and bits. The bodywork is reasonably clean, however the ad notes some minor dings and a rust bubble on the door the size of a penny—with an actual penny for size comparison. Apparently a banana was unavailable.


Other issues include non-working A/C, cruise control, mirror adjusters, and stereo. Most strangely, there’s a sizable hole cut in the floor or the bed which the seller attributes to a now absent LPG conversion. He notes that the bed liner covers the hole and that it doesn’t affect body rigidity at all.

The interior exhibits some wear and tear, but presents decently in the photos. The crazy upholstery with SV logos stitched in looks to be in fine shape. Mileage is an apparent 66,000, and the car comes with a clear title. Its age means you shouldn’t have much trouble at the DMV unless you live in California or one of those other vexing states.


America loves the car-truck combo, as made evident by our almost universal affection for El Caminos, Rancheros, and even Rampages and VW Caddys. We apparently don’t love them enough however, for any brand to market such a style here in the U.S. at present. And it’s been years since any car maker did.

This Holden Ute could be the ultimate expression of the style, and its $19,900 price could make it an expressive deal. What do you think, is this hot rod Holden worth clicking that $19,900 Buy It Now button? Or, does that price make this Maloo a Ute not for you?


You decide!

eBay out of Wilmington, NC, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to ObservationIsKey for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send a me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.