Friday, March 7, 2014

The golden Holden


One of my colleagues has a saying: “to whine like an EH diff.” As in “She whined like an EH diff when I told her she couldn’t play Justin Bieber in my house” or “He whines like an EH diff every time I ask him to do the dishes”. To be honest, I know bugger-all about differentials in general, much less whether EH diffs are especially noisy, but the expression is kinda cute — and leads me neatly into this post’s subject.

You got it in one: the EH Holden.

Image: www.holden.org.au
I may be a proud Morris owner, but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to the charms of a sexy old Holden. And with the impending closure of its Australian manufacturing operations, we need to take every opportunity we can to celebrate the Holden legacy. Ever since the first 48-125 (or FX) rolled off the production line at Fisherman’s Bend in 1948, it’s been part of the Australian motoring landscape.
Image: Aussie Automobilia

First released in August 1963, the EH went on to become Australia’s fastest-selling car ever, with more than 250,000 sold in just 18 months of production. Part of its appeal was its powerful ‘red engine’, a step up from the grey engine used in its predecessors. The red engine was super-reliable and high performing, which probably explains why there are still plenty of EHs on the roads today, 50-plus years later.
Image: www.holden.org.au

The EH was spacious, powerful enough to tow a caravan (a pursuit that was becoming more popular in the 1960s), and amazing value for money, providing more bang for its buck than any other comparable model on the market. ₤1051 a pop! Who's going to argue with that?

But let’s face it, a huge part of the EH’s appeal was — and remains — its sleek, stylin’ looks.

Image: NAA
From the Standard, Special, Premier and S4 Special (a very limited edition racing variation) sedans, to the Standard, Special and Premier station wagons, plus the panel van and ute versions, the EH is a bonafide eye-popper with its neat lines, long rear and squared rear guards.
An EH ute. Image: signag
 
GM Holden's Dandenong manufacturing plant, 1963. Image: Wolfgang Sievers

These days, driving through the streets of Melbourne, it's all-too easy to imagine there's some kind of sick SUV breeding program being carried out in secret, with the hideous offspring being covertly released onto our roads when we're not looking. 

Hard to believe that, 50 years ago, a scene such as the one below wasn't entirely inconceivable...
Image: www.holden.org.au
Related post: 
Then and now: Tram Town!

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