Other Secret “Holdens” It was not unusual for GM to use the Holden name as a disguise for super secret design projects. Back in the day Holden attracted very little attention within GM in Detroit, so work could be done and remain confidential. GM’s design department gave “XP” (eXPerimental) number codes to all of the projects it was working on, which allowed correspondence to hide the true nature of the projects. For example, Pontiac’s version of the Corvair was coded XP 707. It was also disguised as a Holden. Seen on the left, it was given the name “Polaris”. Another secret project, coded XP 709, was labelled as a “Holden Convertible Program”. This was really a special- build Corvair convertible for Sue Earl’s (wife of GM’s design boss Harley Earl) personal use after he retired in December 1958. It was painted pink and was air-conditioned. And another secret “Holden” project, coded XP 813, was a proposal to replace the Corvair and Chevrolet Nova with one car, as seen on pages 34-35. Above: For a while, Pontiac and Oldsmobile considered releasing their versions of the Corvair. This is Pontiac’s “Polaris.” An interior mock- up is shown on the left. Polaris name is on the glove box lid. Both divisions passed on the Corvair and went with rear drive layouts for their new compacts in 1961, as did Buick. The bosses of Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick did not want to sell “tarted up” Corvairs and decided to offer bigger compacts in their showrooms that better matched their more up-market and higher priced cars. They were also concerned that the Corvair would be too difficult to restyle each year, particularly because it had no grille. 33