In 1960, Holden invited the press to drive its latest models in Lang Lang, Victoria – only the second time it had allowed us entry into its test facility since its 1957 opening.
Located 56 miles south-east of the city of Melbourne, Lang Lang featured a 50ft-wide, 2.9-mile speed loop and nine miles of other testing roads, including a “rough track” of crushed rock, pavé, ‘hop-and-tramp’ and scruffy concrete.
Australia’s first automotive testing and development complex, the Lang Lang facility was also for a time the only permanent proving ground in the Southern Hemisphere.
After our visit, we said: “On the general circuit, the roads and tracks give a fair simulation of normal city and country Australian roads.
“Main hazard occurs at night, when kangaroos and wallabies cross the track in front of cars.”
Some 55 people worked there, most developing Holden, Pontiac, Chevrolet and Vauxhall vehicles. Every single Holden from 1957’s FC onwards was developed at the proving grounds, with an on-site design centre also being built.
Now with 27 miles of roads, Lang Lang was sold to Vinfast last year after GM killed Holden, which invested heavily in the facility’s testing infrastructure – but is now for sale again, for about £19.6m.