Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
Released in January 1960
, just two weeks before the arrival of Ford's XK Falcon
, the FB Holden directly reflected the changing taste and style of the 60's. Immediately evident was the incorporation of real "fins" to the design rather than simple chrome additions to the rear guards as seen on the FJ
By the time the FB Holden hit the showrooms, some 630,000 Holden's had been produced. The design for the all new model was 140mm longer, and suffered a resultant power to weight ratio disadvantage with the outgoing FC
. To cope with the extra weight, Holden used heavier rated coils in the front suspension
, widened the rear leaf springs and upgraded the brakes.
The FB represented a huge investment by GMH
and its staff. Some 563 staff had devoted one and a quarter million man hours to the project. The engineering staff had racked up a total spend of A£7,850,000 - a huge amount of money back in 1960
. The development spanned 3 years in designing, styling, production and testing of prototypes including road and durability tests.
Standard and Special Sedans
The FB model lineup included the Special Sedan, Standard Sedan, Special Station Sedan, Standard Station Sedan, Coupe Utility and Panel Van. At the time Holden were producing 502 new cars per day, but they knew the popularity of the new model would require an increase to production. At the time safety was at the forefront of the marketing departments sales push, so it was important the FB
demonstrate that the engineers had developed the car with this as their priority.
To that end, the front shock absorbers were attached in a new manner which protected them from damage.
There was a redesigned and lighter clutch, more powerful starter motor, larger battery
capacity, improved engine cooling, a centralised fuse block, a redesigned gear change linkage, increased diameter king pins and modified brake system.
Other features included a new simplified grille, modified bumpers front and rear, a 20% increase in the windscreen area, a new dash panel with hooded dials, wider seats with a new style of upholstery, an increased brake lining area, new "no-draught" ventilators in the front windows, improved tail lights, a dry element air cleaner, increased luggage capacity, a dished steering wheel and a more robust gearbox.
The ever reliable 'grey' engine was bored out by 1/16th of an inch to take the capacity to 136cu in. Despite these changes to the engine capacity (increased from the original 132ci to 138ci), the resultant extra 3kw of power was not enough to compensate for the extra weight of the larger car and the FC remained the faster of the two.
The 'Americana' style dashboard was far more elegant, the centrepiece being the speedo
which featured an orange-coloured curved indicator band instead of traditional needle pointer. The windscreen was now a "wrap-around" design, and the overall glass area was increased by almost 30%, with the resultant better visibility for the driver. The bonnet was longer, lower and flatter and the interiorwas better designed to increase the feeling of spaciousness.
Ventillation was further improved over the old model by the introduction of a full-width intake vent situated between the front windscreen and rear edge of the bonnet. The options list included such additions as the 'Warmaride' heater/demister, and now a wireless (radio) could be added should you wish to listen to music while you drove.
The upmarket "Special" was adorned with morechrome and stainless, particularly on the side panelsand C-pillars. The electrical system was upgraded,and featured a new larger capacity battery
and four-brushstarter motor. Improvements in paint technology saw the introduction of a new "Dulon" acrylic lacquer paint, dubbed the "Magic Mirror Finish", further enhancingthe prestige of the vehicle.
There were 6 FB models from which to choose, althoughthe "Business Sedan" was deleted from themodel lineup. The FB was also significant in that itwas the first model for which left-hand drive exportversions were produced. Holden was still holding its 50% share of the domestic market - much to the displeasure of its rivals, particularly Ford, who were about to launch their attack on the Holden domination.