Holden FX to HR Reviews and Road Tests

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Early Model Holdens

Founded by British immigrant James Alexander Holden in 1852 as a leather works and saddler, by 1910 the company would be trimming motor vehicles and, in 1914, they manufactured their first one-off car body fitted to an imported Lancia chassis. The company would go from strength to strength when, in 1917, the Australian government placed an embargo on fully assembled vehicles. Became the exclusive GM body builder in 1924, and was subsequently acquired by GM in 1931 during the depression.

Sir Laurence Hartnett was sent to Australia from the US with a view to making it profitable, or closing it down. Holding the Australian work ethos in high regard, he was able to increase production and efficiency, and court the Australian government with the idea of building an entirely Australian car. Assisted by the Commonwealth Bank, Hartnett and Jack Horn made a pitch to the Detroit headquarters for the …”Manufacture of Complete Motor-Cars in Australia”. The resultant 48/215 would go on sale in 1948, and the name Holden would be indelibly etched into the Australian motoring landscape for all time.

Also see: Holden History & Heritage
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Holden FX  

Holden 48/215 (FX)

1948 - 1953
Prime Minister Ben Chifley launched the car 'made in Australia, for Australia' in 1948, and nobody guessed what a runaway success this plain and practical sedan would immediately prove to be. Australians took the Holden straight to their hearts, commencing a love affair that continues to this day. More >>
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Holden FJ  

Holden FJ

1953 - 1956
The FJ came along after five years of producing the 48-215 (FX) and was basically the same car with a few minor alterations to the body. Nevertheless the FJ proved to be such a marketing success that there were waiting lists at every dealer! More >>
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Holden FE  

Holden FE

1956 - 1958
GMH recognised that buyers wanted their cars to be an individual statement about themselves, and so introduced new colour schemes and models - in fact seven distinct models were now available including, in 1957, the introduction of a station wagon (at the time referred to as a "Station Sedan"). More>>
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Holden FC  

Holden FC

1958 - 1960
As with the introduction of the FJ, Holden had learnt that to revise or "facelift" a model half way through its life would maintain interest and therefore sales. And so the FC was simply an improved version of the FE, and following the FX to FJ formula it sported more chrome and a more elegant grille. More>>
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Holden FB  

Holden FB

1960 - 1961
The FB had its engine size increeased from the original 132ci to 138ci which gave it 3kw more but because of the heavier body it was actually slower than the older model. More>>
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Holden EK  

Holden EK

1961 - 1962
The EK was the first Holden to offer an automatic ("hydramatic") transmission as an option on all models. This transmission was imported from America, and was regarded as one of the best available in the world. More>>
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Holden EJ  

Holden EJ

1962 - 1963
The EJ was the last model offered with the popular 'grey motor', which had been in use since the first Holden produced in 1948, albeit with a few refinements. More>>
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Holden EH  

Holden EH

1963 - 1965
Holden Motor Company's greatest seller at the time, this model introduced the new "Red" motors using an oversquare design with a seven bearing crankshaft. They were the first Holden to use hydraulic valve lifters, and external oil pump and oil filter for easier servicing. More>>
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Holden EH Premier  

Holden EH Premier Sedan and Wagon

1963 - 1965
The Premier sedan had a top speed of 96 miles per hour, and the wagon was a little slower at 91.8 m.p.h. Zero to 50 m.p.h. would come up in 9.9 sec. and 10.2 sec. respectively. Those figures were mighty impressive in 1963, and put it into the same league as the Valiants. More>>
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Holden EF  

Holden EF

1965
The original design of the EJ Holden was deemed so dated by Detroit HQ that a major re-work was made, and more attention paid to what the "locals" were desiging. Had that original EJ design made it through untouched, the EF Holden may have become a reality. More>>
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Holden HD  

Holden HD

1965 - 1966
Dubbed 'Holden's Disaster', this model was considered the ugly duckling after the public's acceptance of the EH's shape. More>>
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Holden HR

Holden HR

1966 - 1968
Basically a face-lift of the previous HD model, GM's US stylists redesigned the somewhat unpopular HD shape and came up with one much more appealing to the Australian public. This was reflected in sales, with many more HR's being sold than HD's. More>>
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Holden HR

Holden HR 186S

1966 - 1968
The 186S in “Special” trim had none of the glamor gear of the Falcon GT. There was no tacho, although there were some additional instruments - not beautifully jazzed-up by Stewart Warner and styled into a luxury console as on the Falcon. There were no special seats, accessories or dress-up items. Closer to basics there was no V8 engine, and the gear ratios were not sorted by an engineer with a relief map of Mount Panorama as a starting point. More>>
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