How the Holden 48-215 ('FX') set new standards for average Australian motorists

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On 29 November 1948 when the first Holden was released at a glamorous Fishermans Bend function, Australian motoring expectations were low. Much of the Hume Highway was little better than a goat track - unpaved and single-laned. In preparing my story and the SCTV episode on the Austin A30 (little sibling to the A40 Devon, the best-selling car here in the years before Holden supply met demand), I remembered the funny little near new grey A30 my Dad bought in 1956. Its top speed was 62 miles per hour and the cruise 45 at a stretch. This was in 1956. Imagine driving that car from Melbourne to Sydney. How would you ever overtake a slow-moving truck? The A30 wasn't even the worst. How about the side-valve English sit-up-and-beg Ford and the side-valve Minor? I reckon a steady 40 would have been their limit. Yes, I have written about the brilliance of the Peugeot 203 which could cruise as well as a Holden. But doing 50 mph and wanting to overtake, its acceleration was far slower. So, in summary, in many ways the first Holden redefined our long-distance motoring thoughts, and affordably. (The big Ford V8s and Chevs had long had this capacity.) Are there any club members who remember interstate journeys in the 1950s? My first drive from Melbourne to Sydney was in 1969 in a Wolseley 1500 and it was a slow trip, even though the little Wolseley happily cruised at 65.
2 months ago