Ford vs Holden: A doco that’s dropped too late?

Cinema-bound documentary about Australia’s greatest automotive rivalry is oddly timed and will likely rake over well-turned coals

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Does anyone really care enough any more to engage with Ford V Holden?

A new movie-length doco on the epic automotive rivalry that was the battle between Ford and Holden is set to hit cinemas later this month.

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The pic itself was produced by the same people who created the excellent 2020 Peter Brock biopic Brock: Over The Top, but the timing of this release feels somewhat odd.

If it had dropped in the near-wake of the closure of Holden, the film – narrated by noted petrolhead and former Top Gear Australia host Shane Jacobson, with commentary from a brace of industry insiders from over the decades – would have certainly held its own in what was dramatic and emotional times.

It will likely stand as a compelling documentary for students of cultural and industrial history of those turbulent times, when viewed through an older lens.

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Shane Jacobson

Now, though, the Holden brand already feels like nothing more than a cautionary tale of a company failing to keep up with a rapidly changing market

Ford’s continued push into the ute space, meanwhile, drives it further and further away from the consciousness of new-car buyers. Certainly, it's very unlikely that there will be any memorable family Christmas bust-ups over either brand this year.

The list of voices you'll hear runs heavy with motorsport luminaries, too, which provides an idea of the likely content mix. Indeed, the trailer focuses strongly on the annual Bathurst rivalry between the two brands.

The appearance of current Ford Australia CEO Andrew Birkic is a welcome inclusion, while the insights of former Holden head of design Richard Ferlazzo and the brand’s former PR master John Crennan will also likely add spice to the subject.

However, it remains to be seen if the subject matter – as important as it was at the time – can resonate with a wider audience who has likely moved through all stages of grief at the rivalry’s demise all the way to acceptance.

Ford V Holden will screen in cinemas nationwide from October 19.


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