Priceless Holdens will be auctioned off when the National Holden Motor Museum closes its doors for the final time in April.
Directors Tony Galea and Mark Galea (no relation) announced last Thursday the museum would permanently close on April 14, 2024, having found no serious buyers. The business had been for sale since August last year.
The museum, which has called Echuca in country Victoria home since 1993, is home to priceless Holdens such as the world’s only convertible modern-era Monaro (the Marilyn concept car), the first modern-era Monaro off the production line and a VE Commodore-based HSV 427.
As well as original-condition early Holdens such as the FX, there’s a rare FC Holden hearse and the very Holden VF SS Commodore Ute that set the Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record for a ute in 2017.
There are “just over 50 vehicles” currently on display, most loaned to the museum, director Tony Galea told TorqueCafe, and the owners have been notified of the imminent closure.
When asked why the museum was closing, Galea explained that the time had simply come to move on to other things.
“We’re getting very tired,” he said. “I want to retire, and [director] Mark [Galea] said if you want to retire, I’ll retire as well. We’re just tired.
“We’re here seven days a week, all year around, 360 days a year. You get a couple of days off here and there but it’s not like you can say you’re going away for three or four weeks, going overseas… it impacts our family life and friends, events and all that, I’m a grandad now. Our kids come up a lot but I’m here at work.”
The National Holden Motor Museum’s last trading day will be April 14, the owners now focused on organising vehicles to be auctioned on May 18 at its Echuca, Victoria, premises.
While the vehicles to be sold are still to be determined, Galea said its HK 327 Bathurst Monaro may be included. “It looks like the owner of that vehicle wants to put it in the auction,” he said.
Galea added that while no buyer had been found and the museum was now engaged in dissolving its operations, including organising the May auction, a buyer could still save the business if the price was right.
Galea said he’d had numerous new enquiries since announcing the museum’s closure last Thursday (January 18).
“When we announced it, I don’t know what happened but it went viral,” he said. “All these people are coming out and asking, how much to buy it now? And our response has been, well, where were you before? Like our broker said, they always come out after the horse has bolted. I’m just directing them to the auctioneer. If they’re fair dinkum and want to buy it, it won’t be what we were originally asking.
“It’s not for sale, it’s going to auction – unless they can come up with a figure that’s too good to knock back.”
Galea said the National Holden Motor Museum has three years left on its lease, after which the building’s owner wishes to sell the premises. He said any prospective buyers would have had to find a new home for the museum after three years, or purchase the building.