Australian Storage Find: 1960 Holden FB

We’re going international here at Barn Finds! Last week it was this Marcos Mantis in Bradford on Avon Wiltshire, England and today it is a 1960 Holden located in Leeton, NSW Australia. Unlikely, of course, that a sale will originate from the U.S. but you never know… No, this is more of an exercise to display what’s going on car-wise in other parts of the globe. This Holden is available, here on eBay for $20,400 (AU) or about $15,000 US.

Pity poor Holden, it was, until three years ago, GM’s Australian manufacturing subsidiary dating back to about 1926, and earlier than that as an independent company.  In more recent years they built the modern Ute (El Camino), the Monaro (2004-2006 GTO), the Commodore (Pontiac G8 and Chevrolet SS), and the Caprice which surfaced in the U.S. as a Chevrolet Caprice patrol car. Due to high manufacturing costs and tough exchange rates, the last few years pushed Holden into a position as a brand badge and marketer of other’s cars. After 2021, Holden will be no more. But Holden’s history extends way before the few models listed above and one of their more recognizable models was the FB, introduced in 1960. Short-lived, it was only produced in 1960 and ’61, but there were about 147K copies assembled in body styles including a four-door sedan, a five-door wagon, a ute, and a two-door panel van.

This FB is a very sharp looking car, it had been in dry storage since 1993 and is a rust-free example. The seller believes that a respray occurred somewhere in its past, and while it’s not a show car, it presents itself very well. The metamorphosis from dusty dweller to sales presentation condition is remarkable! The two-tone combination of white and a variation of hot pink is just perfect, and representative of the era. According to Wikipedia, “The car’s style was inspired by 1950s Chevrolets, with tailfins and a wrap-around windscreen with “dog leg” A-pillars. By the time it was introduced, many considered the appearance dated. Much of the motoring industry at the time noted that the adopted style did not translate well to the more compact Holden.” I can detect a mish-mash of different GM period styling cues throughout his Holden but it all seems to blend well. The seller concludes by claiming that the underside is amazingly straight and still showing some factory markings. More images are available here on Google.

Power is provided by a 75 HP, 132 CI, in-line six-cylinder engine working in tandem with a three-speed manual transmission. The seller states, “Car drives like new, no rattles or squeaks, 3 on the tree Gear shifter is tight and like new“. He further adds that it has had all of the brake cylinders replaced; a new brake master cylinder kit fitted; the clutch slave cylinder along with a master cylinder replaced; the water pump, fuel, and vacuum pumps swapped; the carburetor serviced and all of the fluids changed. With only 65K miles on its clock, this Holden sounds like it’s good to go.

As for the interior, it shows quite well and there is no evidence of 65K miles of use. The seat upholstery, door cards, and what can be seen of the rubber floor mat are not illustrative of any problems. The instrument panel, in particular, is in spectacular 1960 era condition. Of note, though this Holden is a typical right-hand-drive model, the FB was Holden’s first model that was offered in left-hand-drive as well. Good to see that there are seatbelts in place.

This Holden is a fine tribute to what I have always considered being a standout automobile manufacturer. GM has experienced a multitude of changes since its 2009 bankruptcy, most have not impressed, and this one, in particular, is the most unfortunate. I get economics and making a profit, but I am very sorry to see Holden now in the company of other automotive fallen flags. Here’s to fond memories, right?

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Comments

  1. Will Fox

    My favorite Holdens! They always reminded me of a 7/8 scale `56 Chevy! This one is in amazing condition, and cleaned up great! $15K seems high, and then you have to figure in what it costs to get the car on US soil! That alone is probably another $1500.! But guaranteed, you’ll have the only one here for NUMEROUS states in any direction!

    • James

      We’re big buyers of classics in Australia – so the likely purchaser won’t be worried about international shipping. $20k Aus is about 3 months salary.

      Like 1
  2. Steve Clinton

    Perhaps the buyer will be ‘holden’ on to this in hopes that it commands big money someday.

    Like 1
  3. Garry

    Overpriced! The FB was a 1959 model (F=5, B=9); it was followed by the similar looking EK (E=6, K=2). They were probably introduced in 1958 and 1961 respectively, because the practice at the time was to introduce a new model before the commencement of its model year. The more popular Holden models were/are the FJ (1953) and EH (1964), which had the new, more powerful motor. Before manufacturing cars, Holden made bodies for several makes, including Buick, Austin, etc.; before that they made horse drawn vehicles!

    Like 2
  4. Bob C.

    At first glance it looks like a cross between a 1955 and 56 Chevy, with some Ford styling cues.

    Like 1
    • Bill Potts

      I would day a 1955-1956 Ford ,with overtones of Pontiac

  5. local_sheriff

    Really a nice car, obviously a design that was a few years behind its US idols. Looks very much like a ‘European’ attempt to copy 50s US cars, ie fairly modest and compact like Opels and British Fords looked like. Really enjoy widening my automotive horizon by reading of vehicles limited to specific markets.

    So how is the interest for vintage Holdens down under really? Do they get overshadowed by US and Canada-sourched ‘real’ iron? It’s a pity about Holden, but the same goes for SAAB, Opel, Olds and Pontiac. With that said none of their modern day products never possessed anything near the attraction of their 50s,60s or 70s offerings (well that goes for any brand today anyway…)

    Like 1
    • luke arnott Member

      Opels are still made!

      Like 1
      • local_sheriff

        Yeah, I was aware of that. However that once proud German brand known for building quality cars for regular wages is now under French(!) ownership. C’mon, a French Opel! To many Germans that’s almost as disgraceful as loosing Alsace-Lorraine…
        And the remnants of SAAB is now owned by the Chinese – expert copycats of most every Western product and with debatable agenda…

  6. Garry

    Holden “died” mainly because it (and GM) told its customers that they must buy what it wanted to sell. The market doesn’t work like that any more. Holden existed only to milk subsidies from the Australian government.
    I have owned three or four Holdens and they got worse, reliably, the newer they became.
    Yes there is a big following of Holdens in the Land Downunder. Some sell for big, unrealistic prices. Ford Falcons and their derivatives are also popular as are other Australian produced vehicles. US Chevs and Fords are popular also.
    I personally own, but no longer use, an Australian made and designed 1960 Ford Zephyr Wagon.

    Like 4
  7. Kenneth Carney

    Very nice for what you’ll get. I’ve been a
    fan of some UK cars for years now but
    reliability issues have kept me from actually buying one. Cars like Jaguar, MG, and Austin were so terrible that I
    wouldn’t have one if you gave it to me.
    Last time I did that, I got a rather crispy
    Jaguar sedan that needed everything.
    So I did what any self respecting American did–had it rewired to American
    specs and swapped in a 350 Chevy V-8
    with a Turbo 350 auto tranny. Thank God Rod & Custom Magazine had an
    article about swapping GM V-8s into a
    Jaguar. Just followed the text and looked at the photos, and boom! It was
    done. And that didn’t even count all the
    beer my buddies and I drank doing the
    swap! It’s a shame about Holden, they
    really turned out some really neat stuff.

    Like 3
    • Garry

      Kenneth, I once owned an MG Y sedan. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t kill it. Three years of trying, I gave up and bought a VW Beetle; good for what I used, but overrated.
      Australian produced and designed BMC cars were good, especially the Morris Majors and Austin Lancers.
      If overseas “managers” had left Australian engineers and designers do their thing, Oz would still have a car industry!

  8. RUSTYNUTZ

    Just as a note of interest, we folk in the LAND DOWNUNDER actually INVENTED THE UTE! In 1934 a farmer said to his FORD Dealer that he would like a vehicle that he could use around the Farm during the week, but take his Wife to town on weekends! those were the days when a Manufacturer ACTUALLY LISTENED TO THE CUSTOMERS! Ford then built the Coupe/Ute for just that purpose! this body style was not very popular at the time, and bad rust problems around the headlight brows, fenders and doors prevented the collectable status! but as time travels on there has become less and less available! We were able to hold our own in many ways on the world stage with many models! like the FASTEST 4DR SEDAN IN THE WORLD FOR THE TIME, THE XY FALCON GTHO, HOLDEN HDT COMMODORES, PONTIAC 2DR COUPES ETC but government tarrifs and overseas greed sure put a stop to that!

    Like 3
    • Wayne from oz

      Headlight brows on a 34 Ford???? I don’t think so, they are individual headlight buckets.

  9. Bill McDonough

    Garry, some of what you say is true, but deeper investigation into Holden’s demise will reveal the role that trade unions played in the decision to pull out of Australia. I have owned many Holden’s over the years, the last being a 2003 SS; a great car, but hard on tires (tyres) and fuel. My first was an FJ which I wish I still had. My all time fav was the VK and I owned two of Brock’s offerings; great handling cars and a pleasure to drive. It remains a crying shame that we don’t manufacture vehicles any longer and I don’t see any chance of that in future. My current ride is a 2016 5L Mustang GT, not without issues but a hoot to drive.

    Like 1
    • Garry

      Bill, some of the efforts put up by Holdens in trials (especially Redex) and Bathurst have been commendable. I neglected to state that I still own a Holden, a Colorado (rebadged Isuzu dMax). It is a great car, 300,000 km, lots of towing; but not really a Holden. If they had continued rebadging Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota, etc they may have survived. Foreign investment has a lot of downsides!

      Like 1
  10. wardww

    My dad had the wagon version of this when I was a wee sprog. It was a solid dependable and stylish car and we traveled a lot in it. This specific one is a beautiful time capsule, perhaps the very very best unmolested FB I have ever seen. So minty I can taste it in my mouth. With 2 days to go and the reserve not met at AU$24k, I predict this could hit AU$40k. I still know that interior like I know my own hands today. Kids take note of stuff. Think of your own childhood cars. You know what I mean. I feel like a kid again just looking at the interior.

  11. Keith Scott

    Could never wonder why all the interest in a GM rust bucket. I Owned 3 and all were rubbish. Still each to his own.

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