Holinger Engineering's founder, Peter Holinger, was keenly interested in engineering from a young age.
He served an apprenticeship in the engine department of Australian aircraft manufacturer, CAC, before moving on to Repco. Here he worked on the Repco-Brabham Formula 1 engine project, which netted two F1 world championships for the Brabham team in 1966 and 67'.
Work at several other engineering companies followed after the Brabham project finished, but then Peter rekindled his motor racing involvement by going out on his own. In the early 70's he set up a workshop in the shed of his rural Warrandyte home and began making components for Repco Formula 5000 engines, as well as other parts for local motor racing competitors.
The early years
The business had grown considerably by 1977, when Peter moved from his 'shed' into a nearby factory. It was at this stage that Peter started to specialise in gear cutting, rapidly making Holinger Engineering the focal point for anyone with gearbox problems. This was along with supplying the increasing demand for five-speed conversion kits for VW Beetle gearboxes, then used in Formula Ford Racing.
Peter also found time to go racing himself and proved to be no slouch, winning the Australian Hillclimb Championship four times in 1976, 78', 79' and 88'. This was in cars he designed and constructed himself, further demonstrating his engineering prowess. Two of his cars even used a 5-litre version of the Repco Brabham Formula 1 engine he had originally been involved with, making them extremely potent race cars!
In the latter parts of the 80's Holinger Getrag gearbox ratios were homologated and used with great success in the Group A Australian Touring Car Championship. This was when the breakthrough into pure gearbox manufacture really came. With the ever increasing power and torque of the V8 GM Commodores and Turbo Nissan Skylines, both companies offered to jointly fund a bespoke Holinger five-speed gearbox. The GRA-5 was born, a gearbox that formed the basis for the local touring car transmission that has been exclusively a Holinger ever since.
Many other projects soon came Peter's way, including a six-speed for the all-conquering R32 'Godzilla' GTR Skyline, a version of which is still manufactured today. BMW also became a Holinger customer at about this time, using Peter's transmissions to win the 1991, and 92' British Touring Car Championships.
Now a truly international motorsport supplier, the little business that Peter started in the shed of his rural home was tendering for big international contracts. A proposal was put to BMW Motorsport in 1992 to design a new purpose built transmission for their touring car program, a proposal that was accepted and led to the 'z-drive' being born. This light-weight six-speed gearbox helped BMW win the 93' BTCC, and led to Holinger being their sole race transmission supplier throughout the 90's.
Other projects during that time were a six-speed sequential rally gearbox, as well as a Dakar Rally H-pattern for Mitsubishi Ralliart, front-wheel-drive gearboxes for Nissan in the British Touring Car Championship, along with many others which cemented Holinger Engineering in the global motorsport industry.
In recent years
More recently Holinger have supplied Porsche with a kit to convert its road car transmission into a sequential-shift race box for use in its 911 GT3 'Porsche Cup' cars raced throughout the world.
Undisputed longevity in the Australian V8 Supercar (formally Australian Touring Car) category has also been maintained since the early beginnings of the GRA-5, with the second generation H6S gearbox being used from the early 90's right up until 2008, when Hollinger's new RD6 gearbox was homologated as the 'control' transmission for the series.
In Peters final years he oversaw the companies move to its current 2500m2 premises, along with the installation of many new top-of-the-range machines, to truly bring Holinger Engineering's capabilities right into the 21st century.
Despite his passing his legacy lives on with many of his designs still being actively used and manufactured today. Holinger Engineering continues unabated in the same way Peter began the company, with a huge emphasis placed on designing and manufacturing transmissions and components of unsurpassed quality.