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The HJ Sandman started production in September 1974 and continued through to June 1976. Sometime during August 1975 there was an update to the HJ series, GM Holden introduced the XU3  variant, they started to display a reduced Gross Vehicle weight (GVW) on the body identification plate (Body ID Plate)  for both the XX7 and XU3 Sandman.

This means the GVW would display as 2200 kg or below for XU3, or 1950 kg or below for XX7. (See XU3 & XX7 Explained)

It was also during the HJ series that the Sandman ute  changed from a Kingswood based vehicle to Holden Based, so no more Kingswood Sandman's from this time onward.

  • Built between 9/74 and 6/76.

  • Bucket seats - Seat capacity of "2" on the safety compliance plate Plate

  • Headlining trim - Full length, 

  • Full centre console.

  • Door armrests were now standard prior to this they were optional.

  • GTS Components - Sports Dash, this was now Black instead of Portland Grey as used in the GTS Version, steering wheel (5mm thick spokes) with Sandman insert, rally rims and fluted guards.

  • Floor shift (not column shift).

  • GTS Headlamp bezels.

  • Decal package - "Sandman" Black Or White for the dealer to apply inc, Body side and lower tailgate stripes ans "Sandman" on the B pillar.


  Paint Blackouts

  • Rocker panel (lower Sills)

  • Front guards.

  • Front End Panel.

  • Rear Valance (Beaver panel)

  • Radiator Grille and headlights surrounds.



Before detailing the HJ plates I'd like to point out an interesting or trivial fact regarding the HJ plates and the Adelaide assembly plant

At some stage during HJ production the Adelaide plant seemed to be the last assembly plant to have updated their Body Identification Plate stamping tool, the early plates were stamped and the later models were embossed.

As an example, two Body Identification plates are included as a guide to the difference between an early and later HJ Adelaide built vans.

The first plate is a plate from a 2/75 plate - you will notice the reverse stamp unique to the Adelaide plant at the time, while other plants used embossed stamping, this is nothing more than trivial information rather than practical data

The second Adelaide plate from 5/76 shows the common and standardized layout for the HJ series plates and is negative stamped giving a clearer picture of the details and not subject to weathering and fading as much as the earlier version. Once again there is no technical difference for the stamping style, it has been suggested that Holden at Elizabeth were the last to update their stamp tools compared to other plants.






                HJ PLATE BREAKDOWN

The Body Identification Plate has five significant lines relevant to the Holden Sandman which we will explain from the above plate as an example line by line.


  • HJ - is the series of the vehicle.

  • 8W - signifies Holden Australia.

  • M - defines this as a Holden not Belmont or N for Kingswood.

       HJ utes were available as a Kingswood until the end of the HJ Production.

  • 70 - is the Body style in this case a panel van or 80 for ute.

   Body No

  • This is the unique number of the body assigned from the body assembly plant.


  • 1898 - Is the paint combination code and varies on the exterior paint.

  • 19V - Indicates the trim code, in this case it is Black.


  • 15944 - See the paint colour chart for a detailed reference.

    Last Line


    Eng - Engine type​

  • L20 - 6cyl 202

  • L32 - V8 253

  • L31 - V8 308

    Trans - Transmission type​​​

  • M20 - 4 speed wide ratio (6cyl & V8 253)

  • M21 - 4 speed close ratio (V8 308 only)

  • M40 - Trimatic (not V8 308)

  • M41 - TH400 (V8 308 only)


The Compliance Plate (ADR Plate) has four sections and two important descriptors relevant to the Holden Sandman.


  • Gross Vehicle Weight - This is significant in determining a genuine Sandman and for the HJ will be below

   Seat Cap

  • To even be in contention as a possible genuine Sandman it must have 2 seat capacity - not 3. We have come across one plate that had a 2 stamped over a 3 but the Body ID Plate was marked with XX7 so doubt was removed.  This plate was known as the Monday shift Sandman and is obviously a mistake and a rare one at that!



  • Indicates the build completion date, simple.

   Chassis Number

  • These numbers will identify that the body matches the chassis number. The chassis number is located on the top of the front chassis rail next to the steering box if the chassis has a 'P' preceding the numbers. This would be a Police stamp to indicate the chassis has been damaged, stolen or mismatched at some stage. Each State in Australia has a different method in police stamping so check with your local authorities.


  • The VIN is the unique identification number for the car and is recorded Nationally as the Identification of the car. There is nothing on this plate that will identify it as a genuine Sandman or not, however the details are here on how to decode the letters and numbers.

  • Example 8M70RFL345401J

  • 8 - GM Holden Australia

  • M - Commercial vehicle or N for Kingswood

  • 70 - Panelvan (80 for Ute)

  • R - Engine Type

  • L - 3.3lt (202 6cyl)

  • R - 4.2lt (V8 253)

  • T - 5.0lt (V8 308)

  • F - Model Year

  • D - 1974

  • E - 1975

  • F - 1976

  • G - 1977

  • H - 1978

  • L3 - Assembly Plant

  • H1-H4 - Acacia Ridge (Brisbane)

  • H5-H9 - Pagewood (Sydney)

  • J1-J9 - Dandenong (Melbourne)

  • L1-L5 - Elizabeth (Adelaide)

  • 45401 - PSN which is the unique serial number.

  • J - Series Code

  • Q - HQ

  • J - HJ

  • X - HX

  • Z - HZ



The HJ Sandman is distinctive in appearance with some of these stand out visual features. However not all HJ vans or utes with these visual queues will be a genuine Sandman.

  • Bucket seats.

  • Floor Shift.

  • GTS components - Dash, steering wheel, rally rims and fluted guards.

  • Silver Rear view side mirrors.

  • Black or White 'Arched' decals.

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