10 March 2023

Holden on to their roots - third generation keeps wheels turning at Wagga Motors

| Katrina Condie
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Old shopfront

Wagga Motors was home to some shiny new Holdens in 1972. Photo: Supplied.

Scott Braid has always been a Holden man. His grandfather was a Holden man. His dad was a Holden man. And, Holden motor racing legend Peter Brock even slept in his bed once!

The co-owner of Wagga Motors, Scott was born into a motoring family and grew up around cars of all shapes and sizes.

His grandfather Jim Braid bought Wagga Motors in 1950 with his business partner Harold Stivens and, in the 1960s, Scott’s dad John and uncle Gordon bought Harold out, making it a fully family-owned and operated business.

Scott recalls spending his early years sitting on his grandfather’s knee and being enthralled by all the shiny new cars in the dealership. When he was a bit older, he spent time after school and weekends helping to wash and polish the cars.

“Growing up I spent most weekends in the dealership putting pinstripes on VL Commodores and cruising around in the tow truck watching the technicians fix cars that were broken down on the side of the road. There was always something exciting happening and plenty of adventures,” he said.

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Scott’s grandfather and his father were “true car men”, not collectors of cars, but rather traders of cars.

His grandfather usually drove around in a 380SL Mercedes Benz, while his nan drove a Holden Gemini. His dad, however, had a different car almost every week.

“The biggest challenge growing up as a kid was getting picked up from school by Dad and never knowing what car he would turn up in. I’m somewhat the same,” Scott added.

“One of my fondest memories is going on holiday to the South Coast in the Holden Caprice.”

Scott likened the car industry in the flamboyant 80s and 90s to the fashion industry, where he remembers all the business people in town coming out to huge unveiling events to get the first glimpse of the latest must-have model.

“The biggest wow factor for me as a kid was seeing the fanfare around new cars coming into the dealership,” he said.

“We’d have a reveal, invite customers in and serve canapes and cheap champagne. The cars were covered up and when we pulled back the covers they saw them for the very first time.

Man and truck

Wagga Motors Dealer Principal Scott Braid is carrying on the legacy of his father and grandfather. Photo: Chris Roe.

“I remember in 1984, when we hosted the national release of the VK Commodore at Wagga, and had 30 parked in the workshop ready to release to the media. I was about 10 and to see all these brand new cars lined up before anyone else in the country got to see them was very exciting.

“Nowadays, with the internet, the shine has sort of been taken off the launches, because people can jump online and see the vehicles the day they’re released. Of course, many still can’t wait to come in and sit in the new cars when they come in.”

At age 12, Scott was captured by the Holden VL Walkinshaw Group A, often referred to as the Bat Mobile with the massive body kit hanging off it.

“I fell in love as soon as I saw it,” he said.

One of the first vehicles he ever owned was an iconic Holden VL Commodore and, when Holden reintroduced the Monaro in 2003, he was “captured” again.

Scott says, when Holden announced on 17 September 2020 that it was pulling out of Australia, it was “like losing a family member”.

“We were celebrating 70 years as a Holden dealer and with that announcement went a lot of history,” he said.

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The Braid family is synonymous with the Holden logo in Wagga, with the third generation, Scott and his cousin Richard, taking over the dealership from their fathers following their deaths – Gordon in 2009 and John in 2011.

Over the years the business has played host to many community events, and every few years the Holden Racing Team would visit ahead of the Bathurst 1000.

One year, Peter Brock came to Scott’s school (where the red sports house was named Brock) to make a presentation and later spent the night at his house. Scott even gave up his bed to the racing legend.

During his time at the helm, John was heavily involved with the development of AFL in Wagga, especially in local schools and arranged lots of events with Sydney Swans players, who enjoyed checking out the new cars.

Gordon was heavily involved in local tennis and Holden logos adorned the umpires’ chairs for many years.

Old shopfront

Three generations of the Braid family have operated Wagga Motors after it was purchased by Jim Braid in 1950. Photo: Supplied.

But life in a motor dealership wasn’t always fast cars and celebrity parties.

Scott said one of the scariest times of his life was when the spare parts and workshop facility burnt down in 1983.

In 2015, the team was rocked by the death of a local farmer when a truck tailgate fell on him after the vehicle had been serviced by their technicians. Their safety standards were lifted and Scott said it “really put things into perspective” for him.

Since taking over the reins, Scott and Richard have remained committed to the community, sponsoring sporting teams such as Wagga junior soccer as well as significant events such as the Golden Gown and the Wagga Gold Cup, and the Gumi Festival from years gone past.

They have also thrown their support behind Crusty Demon and daredevil motorcross rider Jackson Strong who regularly holds displays at the dealership.

While the Holden brand is no more, Wagga Motors is looking forward to celebrating 75 years with their new brands including Hyundai, Jeep, Mercedes, Renault and Honda as well as Isuzu utes and trucks and GM Speciality Vehicles.


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