If someone removed the front of the camera and didn't know what they were doing they could of messed up the linkage between the shutter/aperature controls and the meter. If you are saying that the circle-ended match needle is not moving or it's range is limited I'd bet that's what happened.
I've heard that if it is just a basic problem with the meter it can be fixed just by opening up the meter on the side and fiddling a bit with the gold contacts. What you seem to be suggesting is that this is a mechanical or wiring problem, but could I fix it by myself or would I need to send it off for a serious CLA? Is it even fixable considering the age of the camera and the fact that few people seem to be repairing selenium meters?
A Holga is an ugly woman, a Brownie is a delicious treat.