1963 Year In Review

Send This Page To A Friend
Fade To White

Holden EH
Perhaps the best known, and most loved Holden of all, the EH.

Holden "Red" Engine
The Holden Red engine was an instant success.

Honda S500 Roadster
The Honda S500 Roadster, a strange brew of English sports car and Japanese motorbike.

Lightburn Zeta
If you are wondering why the fellow in the background is loading the car via the front door instead of the tailgate, it is because the Zeta's fibreglass body did not have an operational rear door!

Hillman Imp
Rear Drive, Alloy Engine...a first for mainstream British car manufacture

The EH Holden

1963 was a watershed for Holden, releasing what many people today still consider to be their greatest achievement, the eighth model "EH Holden". The new model offered an impressive combination of style, power, refinement, ruggedness and value for money.

Launched in August, it was far more able to challenge the recently released XK Ford Falcon than the FB and EK. An immediate success, more than 250,000 were sold in the first 18 months of its release, making it the fastest selling Australian car - ever.

The biggest news with the new model was in the introduction of the new "Red Motor" that used an oversquare design with a seven bearing crankshaft. These were the first Holden motors to use hydraulic valve lifters, and they featured the use of an external oil pump and oil filter that made servicing a dream. So popular was the "Red" motor that it remained in service until 1985, during which time it had been continually improved and was now a 3.3 litre with fuel injection, 12 port head and counterbalanced crank.

Soichiro Honda

A plaque in the Honda Collection Hall recalls the days when Soichiro Honda went from being a motorcycle manufacturer to a maverick carmaker, and the year was 1963. "I didn't want to build a car like everyone else's" Honda said; so his first car, the S500, was a two-seater roadster that borrowed its styling and its front-engine/rear-drive architecture, but not much else, from British roadsters.

And while other Japanese carmakers used cast-iron engines, Honda developed a water-cooled, double-overhead-cam, four-cylinder aluminium power plant, fed by four carburettors and capable of revving to an impressive 8000 rpm.

Would you like the convenience of a second car, but find the cost prohibitive. Harold Lightburn thought so in 1963, and put his talented whitegoods manufacturing company to work in the construction of the “Zeta”, based on the British “Anzani” mini car; but fitted with a new fibreglass 'Station Sedan' body shell. But don’t let the picture fool you, there was no rear tailgate and access to the rear storage area was available only via the front seats.

The Hillman Imp

In a year of strange automobile creations, Hillman delivered the “Imp”, the first mass-produced British car to have the engine in the back, and the first to use a light aluminium alloy die-cast engine. Certainly not a drivers car, but far more practical than the Zeta! In other motoring news, inertia reel seat belts would be offered on BMC cars in England; Jack Brabhain's first effort as a sports car constructor were immediately successful with class wins in the UK. Rover announced that it would proceed with its turbine project after the success of the Rover - BRM at Le Mans.

Captain Archie Frazer-Nash

T^HE last time I saw Captain Archie Frazer-A Nash was when he came down to Bristol in 1961 to appear in a television program called "The Jubilee of the Sports Car", organised and presented by Television West and Wales. He drove a 1935 Frazer-Nash, which he designed, and I interviewed him during the program. He was not in the best of health then but joined in the event with great enthusiasm. He has now died at the age of 76 at his home in Kingston and another link with the pioneering era of motoring has been broken.

He was born in Hyderabad, India, in 1889 and was first interested in cyclecars. Then in 1910, two young engineers, H. R. Godfrey and A. Frazer-Nash, became partners and produced a really simple and inexpensive car with an air-cooled twin-cylinder engine and belt transmission. This was the GN, and it was quite successful. During the 1914-18 war the design was revised to include four-chain final drive and it went into production in 1919. Maximum speed was 50 mph and some owners claimed 70 mpg; all for the price in 1921 of £250. Special versions such as the Mowgli and Akele were made for competitions and in 1921 Frazer-Nash won the 1100 cc class of the 200 miles race at Brooklands.

With increased mass production of small cheap cars by the bigger firms, the policy of the firm changed and in 1923 the two founders of the firm left and soon after the GNs ceased production altogether. Godfrey left car production until he introduced the succesful HRG in 1937 and Frazer-Nash set up on his own to make a sports car_ based on The GN. Production started in 192o with an ohv engine known as Powerplus. A : tilling version with an Anzani 12 hp engine -vas tested by the motoring press the isame year and It gave 70 mph and 40 mpg. Frazer-Nash became the foundation for many specials and i-etnaine?. in limited production until 1939.

The first stage of the Ord River irrigatation scheme in Western Australia is opened. Cotton was the main crop in the region up until then, however with the loss of the cotton bounty and subsequent insect problems most if not all the farmers had abandoned the crop.

The US would witness its first "Freedom March" on Washington, involving large numbers of black Americans. £2.5 million would be stolen from the Glasgow to London mail train, the heist soon to be dubbed the "Great Train Robbery". The most notorious of the robbers was Ronnie Biggs, who would flee to Australia. A "Hotline" was established between the Kremlin and the Whitehouse; The Beatles released their latest single, "She Loves You", in England.

The Bogle Chandler Mystery

1963 would close on a mysterious note - with arguably the most famous and intriguing New Years Eve bash being held at the home of Kenneth and Ruth Nash in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood. The party was attended predominantly by intellectuals from Sydney's scientific community where, during the course of the evening, Dr. Gilbert Bogle (Rhodes Scholar and CSIRO scientest) and the wife of one of his closest friends, Mrs. Margaret Chandler, would end up dead, partially dressed and covered with cardboard and carpet in a nearby lovers lane area known as "Fullers Bridge".

Exactly what happened to Bogle and Chandler remains a mystery to this day, although much speculation has prevailed since the incident. While poisoning is the suspected cause death, much debate has centered around the actions as being suicide, murder or accidental death

Formula One Championship:

Jim Clark (Britain) / Lotus-Climax

1963 Bathurst Winner:

Harry Firth & Bob Jane / Ford Cortina GT

NRL Grand Final:

VFL/AFL Grand Final:

Melbourne Cup:

Gatum Gatum (J. Johnson)

Wimbledon Women:

Margaret Smith d. B.J. Moffitt (6-3 6-4)

Wimbledon Men:

Chuck McKinley d. F. Stolle (9-7 6-1 6-4)

The Movies:

  • Tom Jones
  • Lilies of the Field.
  • America, America
  • The Birds
  • Exodus

Gold Logie:

Michael Carlton (Four Corners, ABC)

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture - Tom Jones
  • Best Actor - Sidney Poitier (Lilies of the Field)
  • Best Actress - Patricia Neal (Hud)

The Charts:

  1. She Loves You - The Beatles
  2. I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
  3. Pipeline - The Chantays
  4. From A Jack To A King - Ned Miller
  5. Bombora - The Atlantics
  6. Wipe Out - The Surfaris
  7. Royal Telephone - Jimmy Little
  8. I Will Follow Him - Little Peggy March
  9. Hey Paula - Paula & Paula
  10. Surf City - Jan & Dean


  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy (US President)
  • W.E.B. Du Bois (American civil-rights leader)
  • Robert Frost (Poet)
  • Rogers Hornsby (Baseballer)
  • Aldous Huxley (American Novelist)
Fade To White
Latest Classic Car Classifieds