Sunday History Photo / Au

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 05:04
ThreadID: 103903 Views:3260 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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First 48-215 Holden
The early model Holden car is one of the most recognisable cultural artefacts of 1950s Australia.
This particular car is the only survivor of three test sedans which became the definitive model for millions of Holden cars.
The Holden was a vivid manifestation of Australian dreams of prosperity, made more intense by years of wartime austerity.
More than just a car, the early Holdens were complex symbols of freedom and independence, as well as suburban conformity.
Prototype No. 1 was built by hand in 1946 by American and Australian engineers at the General Motors workshop in Detroit.
After months of durability and performance tests in America, three prototypes were shipped to Australia.




Legend has it that the cars were driven under cover of darkness to the Fishermen's Bend factory in Melbourne.
Registered as JP-480, Prototype No.1 was tested on a circuit east of Melbourne specifically designed to replicate Australian driving conditions.
Technicians continued to make minor technical modifications to the car, while General Motors-Holden's executives searched for a name for the new car.
After much deliberation, they decided on the 'Holden', in honour of Sir Edward Holden, the company's first chairman.
Other names considered were GeM, Austral, Melba, Woomerah, Boomerang, and Emu. The car narrowly avoided the name 'Canbra', a phonetic spelling of Canberra.
The first Holden rolled off the assembly line at Fishermen's Bend on 29 November 1948.
Many saw the event as evidence of national maturity, proof that Australia had escaped its pastoral beginnings and embraced the modern industrial age.
The Holden 48-215 was a robust and economical family sedan, designed for the Australian environment.
Combining local production with American styling and technical simplicity, the car captivated many Australians.
Public reaction to the prospect of an Australian-built car had been extraordinary, with around 18,000 people signing up for a Holden without knowing a single detail about the car.





Holdens soon dominated the roads. By 1958 sales accounted for over 40 per cent of total car sales in Australia.
A million had been sold by 1962 and, despite market competition from the Ford Falcon, another million were sold over the next six years.
Following the public release of the sedans, General Motors-Holden's fitted Prototype No. 1 with a new engine and sold it to Holden foreman Arthur Ling.
The car was later traded to a Holden dealership in Morwell, Victoria, where it remained for 40 years, falling steadily into disrepair.
In 1999, Melbourne-based Holden enthusiasts Gavin and Graham Strongman purchased the car. They spent 12 months meticulously restoring the vehicle to its final pre-production form, which incorporated many of the progressive changes implemented by General Motors-Holden during the testing phase.
Once restored, the prototype was purchased by Ian Metherall, who sold the car to the National Museum in 2004.
The purchase was made with the assistance of the National Cultural Heritage Account.




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Reply By: Fiona & Paul - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:33

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:33
Doug T

Thanks for a great bit of work with this piece, very interesting and it all has very special meaning to me. Keep up the good work and maybe we may meet around the traps sometime for a beer.

Regards
Paul H
Paul H
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:39

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:39
Doug,

thanks for that.

I heard that some bogan broke into the museum and put a Chevrolet badge on the boot ;-)

I grew up being the back seat passenger in an FJ, before dad upgraded to a Valiant.

What a pity Australia didn't pioneer the 4WD market. Imagine if they had developed an Australian 4WD for the Snowy scheme, instead of Thiess importing Japanese cars. The world might all be driving Holdens instead of Toyotas.

Bob
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:43

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:43
G'day Bob, that's a nice thought about an Aussie 4x4 , yes it would have been good eh.
I see the ad on here for an auction for ex army vehicles , it's about time they got rid of that old out dated machinery.

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Reply By: allein m - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:40

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 16:40
thanks that brings back memories my dad bought one when we migrated to australia in 1965 and today while surfing the net I found this add $30,000 and it looks in good nick

1949fx holden

http://www.autosellusedcars.com.au/south-australia-used-cars/1949-holden-fx/3161
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Reply By: wombat100 - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 18:30

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 18:30
Hey Doug
Off topic- but what happened to Fenton Field?? All seems gated off now with Keep Out Signs??? Any ideas on how to get access.
We'll be at Mt Bundy in anout 4 days time
Cheers
Wombat
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 18:32

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 18:32
Yeh a bit off topic , I would like to discuss this with you, I think you might have been wrong gate. email me dtilley5@bigpond.com

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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 18:49

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 18:49
I can't get your contact from EO so I'll have to explain here, there are 2 gates to Fenton first runs off at 45 deg to a gate, another 200m further along is the main gate and usually unlocked,


I think you might have been at this gate below, this gate is entry to Douglas Daly Station property and the WW2 Airstrip is Long Airstrip.



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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 21:09

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013 at 21:09
Another very interesting SHP Doug, my Dad was at the launch of the Holden in SA all those years ago...... he often mentioned it.....

Cheers

D


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