|Engine||In-line six-cylinder, 138cid|
Launched by Prime Minister Ben Chifley, Australia's first series production car became a reality on November 29th, 1948 following four years of extensive design and development by General Motors Holden. Featuring the latest in unitary construction techniques, the new Holden 48-215 was a mixture of American and European styling influences, albeit with a uniquely Australian character. The 'Aerobilt' body featured a prominent Buick-inspired grille with vertical bars but eschewed unnecessary chrome decoration. Under the curved bonnet was Holden's rugged six-cylinder OHV engine, nicknamed the 'Grey Motor' after the colour used for painting the block. Developing 60 horsepower at 3800 rpm from its relatively modest 2.15-litre displacement, drive was taken to the rear wheels via a three-speed gearbox operated by a column-change, with synchromesh on both second and top. Although basic, the 48-215's interior was certainly comfortable, with front and rear bench seats providing ample space for six passengers. There was a choice of leather or cloth upholstery (later cars were also available with a PVC material), with the options limited to a radio, passenger's sun visor and rear venetian blinds. There were four exterior colours offered, including Convoy Grey, Seine Blue, Gawler Cream and Black. The Holden was remarkably pleasant to drive by the standards of the day, coping well with the tough driving conditions on our roads and 'Australia's Own' car proved remarkably popular, taking the top spot in passenger car sales by 1950. The original 48-215 Sedan was joined by a utility in January 1951, followed by the Business Sedan in July 1953, the latter aimed primarily at the taxi and fleet markets. By the time production ended in September 1953 to make way for the new FJ, more than 120,000 48-215 Holdens had been produced. Today, the FX series holds a special place in the motoring history of this country and its popularity with collectors into the future is assured.