Australian Ground-Breaker: 1950 Holden FX

The Holden 48-215  was Australia’s first locally developed production car. A groundbreaking car in Australia developed and manufactured with support from the Australian Government, the 48-215 (affectionately referred to as the FX) changed the face of motoring in Australia. You will find this particular example which is suitable for restoration here on eBay. With a BIN of $15,000 and the option to make an offer, this is a chance to own a piece of Australian motoring history.

The release of the FX pre-dated the release of the Ford Falcon in Australia by some 12 years. This Holden and subsequent models released up until 1960 allowed Holden to garner in excess of 50% of the Australian new car market. The remaining 50% was shared between imported Fords and and various other makes from the USA, France, Germany, and the UK to name just a few. Product design and development for the Holden began in 1944 and was based on a design from Chevrolet in the USA. In fact, American readers may note more than a passing similarity between Australia’s own and the Chevrolet Fleetline and DeLuxe of the same era. The seller of this example states that it starts, goes and stops. The body appears to be in pretty fair condition with little serious rust to speak of.

By and large everything appears to be present in the way of trim and bright-work. Some of the chrome will require re-plating. The grille on these is definitely not my favorite design. I feel that they just lack strength. The grille on the FJ which followed the FX definitely had a stronger presence.

The interior on this car looks largely complete and in fair condition. While there is a more modern radio/cassette player hanging under the dashboard, I would most definitely consign that to the bin. What is pleasing to see is that this FX appears to be fitted with a genuine Holden (Nasco) AM radio. The seller states that the car is still fitted with operating vacuum-operated windscreen wipers and the original push-button engine start.

Here lies the 132.5ci Holden straight 6 engine which produced 60hp. This is backed by a 3 speed manual transmission with column mounted gearshift. This may not seem much for a car weighing 2,230lbs, but with a fairly flat torque curve, it allowed the Holden to accelerate from 0-60mph in around 19 seconds. The other advantages of the Holden were that it had good ground clearance and was rugged. It is not surprising to see them about today, and the beauty of this engine is that it can be rebuilt easily by anyone with a reasonable amount of mechanical skill.

So there it is. The FX Holden has been gradually increasing in value over recent years. With the closure of new car manufacturing in Australia by Holden last year, they are only going to increase further. Is this your last chance to secure a vintage Holden at an affordable price?


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  1. Chinga-Trailer

    It’s a shame Holden is no more. I once drove a Holden Suburban across Oz, apart from the emblems and RHD it was identical to a Chev Suburban. I believe it was built in Mexico!

    • Adam Clarke Adam Clarke Staff

      Yeah Chianga-Trailer, things don’t look good for Holden at present. I’m a Ford man but I hate seeing what is happening to Holden. I just looked at their July new car sales for July and they’re down 39% compared to the same time last year. In fact it is their worst monthly result since 1948. If things don’t change I can see General Motors cutting the brand loose, much as they have done with some of their brands in Europe. I won’t blame them if they’re forced to though because they need to protect the parent company. Sadly Ford is heading the same way. The Mustang was supposed to be their halo model in Australia, but sales on that have dropped 30%.

  2. Bob C.

    No wonder you have so may accidents around here, the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car!

  3. David Frank David Frank Member

    I’m not usually a fan of the “P” word, but this would make a great driver after mechanical restoration looking just the way it does. Perhaps one could paint a few kangaroos on the door to account for some of its “character”.

  4. ken TILLY

    looks a lot like a slightly stretched version of the 1949/50 British Vauxhall Velox.

  5. Gay Car Nut

    I call it a damn shame that Holdens weren’t sold in the USA. It would’ve shown we Americans how cars were supposed to be built. Given the unforgiving Australian road conditions, cars sold in Australia were supposed to be rugged in order to withstand that kind of road. If only they were sold here in the USA.

    • Chinga-Trailer

      What you say about the rugged Australian cars could also be applied to the Soviet Volga and other assorted GAZ automobiles built for markets with atrocious roads, but with the influence of Sen. Joe McCarthy there was no chance for a “Commie Car” to succeed here!

  6. Chinga-Trailer

    Holden’s were sold in USA – they called them -Pontiac GTO- though. Am I wrong though, I had thought that ALL auto production ended in Australia not too long ago.

  7. Kenneth Carney

    Boy Adam, you guys in Australia have
    some really nice cars down there!
    The last time I saw one of these was
    in the film On The Beach with Gregory
    Peck and Ava Gardner. The car I saw
    was the ambulance version that they
    used in the road race sequence where
    Fred Astaire was racing his 1955 Ferrari
    one last time before the world ended.
    But uf memory serves me, that ambulance had a grille similar to my ’49
    Chevy sedan. This car looks to be a cross between a ’49 De Soto and a
    scaled down Chevy. Still neat though,
    like it a lot!

  8. Coventrycat

    I believe the Pontiac G8 was a Holden product as well.

  9. Gay Car Nut

    I regret that I’ve never owned, nor driven a Pontiac G8. But that’s what I heard about the G8, that it was a Holden Commodore with a Pontiac logo and name.

  10. Wayne

    This is actually the updated FX from 1953. It has different front crossmember, tube schocks, wider rear leaf springs, different overriders, different placement for rear door locking buttons and wheel rims 1/2 wider, there was no such thing as wide police rims. They are just aftermarket wide rims. IMO it’s overpriced.

    • Wayne

      Also not an original nasco radio. It’s an aftermarket 12 volt, the car has been converted to 12 volts as witnessed by the 12v battery on the firewall, which were very prone to cracking by the added weight of the heavier battery.

      • ken TILLY

        @Wayne. Are you sure that they weren’t originally fitted with a 12 volt battery?

  11. P Wentzell

    The Chevrolet SS was also a Holden. Mainly for Police work, but if you were lucky and your timing was good, you could get something a little different with performance.

  12. Beatnik Bedouin

    On one of my early visits to Australia in the mid-1970s, I remember telling my hot rodding buddies that I wanted to find a 48-215 through FJ Holden to take back to SoCal. I don’t think they understood why I would want a ‘rustbucket’ (their words) when I could buy a Camaro or Mustang. Ditto on my friend’s E-49 Charger that he planned to sell back in 1975 for AUD $2500.

    Wayne’s comments are spot-on, imho.

    Adam, I think you’re right that GM will eventually drop the Holden brand. As for the Mustang, perhaps all the greying Aussie Baby Boomers who wanted one have bought one?

  13. Chris In Australia

    Good to see some Aussie stuff here. And from my home state too. As a long time Holden buff, I’m saddened by their poor sales, and concerned for their future.

  14. Gay Car Nut

    I agree. The only Holden cars that I’m aware of are the Pontiac G8 and the Chevy SS. If there are earlier Holdens, Aussie built Fords, or even Chrysler Valiants that were rebadged and sold here in the USA, I’m not aware of them.

  15. Chinga-Trailer

    15 years ago I brought in a 1964 Valiant Ute. Sold by Barrett Jackson.

  16. chad

    “…ALL auto production ended in Australia…”
    Yes, sez da boyz w/on-line car forums (2 yrs now 1st to last, seems like each 1 went slowly, 1@aX).

    I thought they just kicked out all foreign co.s manufacturing plants & were goin ele. by their own co.s. Could B way off on that.


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