The Hartnett

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The Hartnett


is an automobile which was produced by the Hartnett Motor Company Ltd in Australia from 1951 to 1955.

Laurence Hartnett, former Managing Director of General Motors-Holden (GMH), was approached in 1948 by Prime Minister Ben Chifley regarding the establishment of a domestic motor manufacturing company to challenge the dominance of GMH in the Australian market.

The two met on 29 November and it was reported: "the Commonwealth Government favours the project and will give financial assistance to place the industry on a firm basis."

Hartnett announced the intention to establish Hartnett Motor Company on 7 February 1949 in Chifley's presence.

The original plan was to sell 5,000 cars in the first year of production and 10,000 in each subsequent year.

A prospectus was issued on 29 August and Hartnett Motor Company was formed on 31 August.

In March 1952 the first Hartnett car produced in Australia was dispatched from a production facility in Frankston.

68 per cent of the vehicle was Australian produced with the imported components comprising the engine, gearbox, instruments and some of the brake fittings.

Almost a year to the day after the initial launch of the first two cars, a further two cars were displayed in Melbourne.

They were described as being the first two cars from the Frankston assembly plant. Production was stated as 8 cars per week.

••Pricing Edit

The original price of the car had been promoted at "less than 300 pounds";

however, by the time the company was formed and before production had commenced it had already risen to an estimated 430 pounds.

In January 1950 it was revealed that the car would cost "less than 500 pounds" inclusive of sales tax.

By March 1951 no cars had been delivered and the company revealed that the expected pricing was now "549 pounds plus sales tax" meaning that the total purchase price would be "less than 600 pounds".

The first aluminium bodied Pacific Convertible vehicles sold in April 1952 cost 695 pounds including sales tax.

•••Company Failure

The first public indication that the company faced significant issues was when questions were raised in Federal Parliament.

On 28 August 1952, a member of the Labour opposition told the House of Representatives that he had failed to be given answers to two questions by the Government.

Firstly he asked why General Motors Holden had been granted a 1,000,000 pound overdraft from the government-owned Commonwealth bank where the same facility had been refused to the Hartnett Motor Company.

Secondly, he asked whether the government-owned Commonwealth Engineering Company had obstructed the manufacturing of the Hartnett car by failing to deliver steel body panels that had been on order for over 18 months.

Two weeks later the company called a creditors' meeting and stated that it was in debt of 63,779 pounds and that its business was at a standstill and production had ceased.

The company claimed that the Commonwealth Engineering Company had failed to deliver 2000 sets of steel body panels as agreed in May 1950 with delivery commencing by May 1951. By June 1952 the Hartnett Company had n

The Hartnett Motor Company was dissolved at a creditors' meeting in 1956.


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