1962 Year In Review

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Austin Freeway
The six-cylinder Austin Freeway/Wolseley 2480 was too-little, too-late to save BMC's market share in Australia.

Holden EJ
The EJ incorporated a lower profile, flatter bonnet, a squarer rear end and a more integrated overall appearance, but most importantly it looked far more American, and marked the one millionth Holden built.

Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk
A high point for Studebaker design came with the release of the 1962 Gran Turismo Hawk.

Volvo P1800
The first batch of Aussie bound P1800's would arrive in 1962.

The Austin Freeway

By 1962 the British car industry was suffering badly from lost market share to the new Australian staple diet of 6 cylinder US influenced Holden and Ford sedans. The Austin Freeway (and Wolseley 24/80) were designed to counter the inroads the "big two" were making, but it was all too little too late. Interestingly, BMC had already identified that the Australian market needed larger capacity engines than their UK based cousins, but it was to be the 2433cc six cylinder engine that would bring Australian motorists back to the marque.

What the designers had failed to realise was the influence of American culture on the Australian psyche, particularly with the advent of television. The Austin looked dowdy when compared to the much sleeker Holden and Ford offerings, and reliability problems did not help sales. The Austin remained on showroom floors for 4 years, but after the dealers got tired of dusting them BMC admitted defeat.

Local Luxury

Indeed no car maker could afford to rest on previous achievement. Holden had realised early on that the new Falcon was quickly winning the hearts of Australians with its more American styling. Given the daily staple of US television being fed to the population, it knew design changes were needed, and quickly. Just in time for the spring of 1962 both Ford and Holden announced new cars.

The XL Falcon was a facelift, but the EJ was all new in styling. The importance of both these cars was the availability for the first time of luxury versions. Ford offered the Futura with bucket seats and all-red interior decor. Holden went a step further with the Premier. Yes, the seats really were trimmed in leather and the carpet was thick pile - pretty amazing when you consider there had been no carpet of any type in any previous Holdens since the 48/215 and FJ.

The EJ Holden

The "EJ Holden" was a completely new model, affording new levels of ride comfort, interior space and refinement. In fact, the wagons cargo tray was over 2 metres long! The EJ incorporated a lower profile, flatter bonnet, a squarer rear end and a more integrated overall appearance. In spite of the new "low-fine" look, the traditional Holden virtues of ruggedness and high ground clearance remained.

By now, many Australians sought a higher level of comfort and luxury, and so the General increased its range to include the "Premier", a name that would adorn future models for the greater part of two decades. While most of the mechanicals were carried over from the EK Holden, there were however many important improvements made to the EJ. New Duo-Servo brakes were introduced, while the suspension was strengthened.

To distinguish the Premier from the lesser models, the Hydramatic transmission was included as standard fare, as was the inclusion of a full leather interior. Then there were the far more comfortable bucket seats, a heater, and most importantly safety belt anchorages. Finishing touches to the "Prem" included pile carpet, a centre console and white-wall tyres. The Premier could naturally be identified by the badges, extra bright work, and metallic paint (the first for Holden).

A high point for Studebaker design would occur in 1962 with the release of the Gran Turismo Hawk. Unfortunately the car was unable to arrest the outward flow of money from the company, and as Studebaker’s financial problems continued they would be forced to close their South Bend plant the following year. They were to continue operations from their Hamilton, Ontario, Canada plant until March 1966, a final blue and white 1966 Cruiser marking the end of 114 years of Studebaker vehicle production.

It was common practice for oil companies to publish informative promotional booklets outling the achievements of those that chose to use their particular brand of motor oil. Castrol was one such company, and here we present their wonderful booklet "Achievements 1962".

In other motoring news, the first batch of Volvo's new P1800 sports-cars arrived in Australia; The Mini Moke was added to BMC Australian range; Stirling Moss continued to recover after his near-fatal accident at Goodwood in April; Demand for the newly released Australian - assembled Chrysler Valiant continued to exceed supply.

Formula One Championship:

Graham Hill (Britain) / BRM

1962 Bathurst Winner:

Bob Jane and Harry Firth / Ford Falcon XL

NRL Grand Final:

VFL/AFL Grand Final:

Melbourne Cup:

Even Stevens (L. Coles)

Wimbledon Women:

Karen Susman d. V. Sukova (6-4 6-4)

Wimbledon Men:

Rod Laver d. M. Mulligan (6-2 6-2 6-1)

The Movies:

  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Manchurian Candidate
  • Divorce-Italian Style

Gold Logie:

Lorrae Desmond (The Lorrae Desmond Show, ABC)

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture - Lawrence of Arabia
  • Best Actor - Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird)
  • Best Actress - Anne Bancroft (The Miracle Worker)

The Charts:

  1. Working For The Man - Roy Orbison
  2. Ramblin' Rose - Nat "King" Cole
  3. Multiplication - Bobby Darin
  4. Alley Cat - Bent Fabric
  5. Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
  6. Wolverton Mountain - Claude King
  7. The Lonely Bull - The Tijuana Brass
  8. Telstar - The Tornadoes
  9. Stranger On The Shore - Acker Bilk
  10. The Boys - The Shadows


  • Niels Bohr (Danish Physicist)
  • William Faulkner (Nobel Prize-winning novelist)
  • Ernie Kovacs (Television comedy pioneer)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt (Former First Lady)
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