FJ Holden, the book
This is a story about an icon of the Australian motoring industry captured in print - the Holden 48/215, better known as the FX. It came off the assembly line to much fanfare in 1948. Back then local Adelaide author Don Loffler was just a kid, but Holden's new Australian-made car made a lasting impression.
“I was nine when the original Holden came out. And I thought that's the most beautiful looking car ever. I loved the old toaster grille and I still do. It’s so elegant, and I thought this was just brash and vulgar. And if you consider it, the grille is almost the FJ. That's the most recognisable part of the vehicle.
It features very strongly in my book ‘The FJ Holden - A Favourite Australian Car.’ Families loved the FJ. The car really became an icon. I mean we've got the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the opera House, Uluru and the FJ Holden.”
By the time the FJ came on line in 1953 the waiting list was enormous and some people had to wait an entire year before taking possession of their own pride and joy. And when they did they'd learn hand signals because these beauties didn't have indicators.
“You had to wind down your window - put your hand out to turn right - put your hand up to stop.”
“And what about turning left then?”
“Turning left you didn't do anything. Except I did see some put their hand out in the middle of the car!”
Long time Holden supporter and FJ owner Don Lines remembers it all too well. He purchased his first FJ in 1955 with its classic column gearshift known as the "Three on the Tree".
“The idea of ‘three on the tree’ was to allow three people to sit in the front. Three could sit in the front seat because there was no gear lever in the way.”
“There’s no air-conditioning obviously so on a hot day you’d rely on a little vent to let a breeze in. There’s also the quarter windows that open to create a nice breeze on your legs and your feet.”
Absolute luxury! In convoy, the FJs make a real statement about nineteen fifties Australian-style. Between 1953 and 1956 Holden sold almost 170,000 FJs and many of the bodies were made at the Woodville plant in Adelaide. Today, armed with Don’s book, FJ owners compare notes even down to identifying two tone colour schemes.
Frank McHugh's FJ came off the Birkenhead assembly line in 1954. It now has 55 thousand miles on the clock and still has its original paint job and all of its original white walled tyres. According to the book they were a major feature on many of the FJs exported to our cousins in New Zealand.
Don Loffler's book The FJ Holden - A Favourite Australian Car - is published by Wakefield Press and is available at all major bookstores. If you have any further questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org