2022 Shannons Winter Timed Online Auction

1955 Holden FJ Special Sedan (Modified)



Passed In


Engine 2.1-litre six
Gearbox Manual
Body Work Sedan
Colour Midnight Blue
Trim Grey
Wheels Steel
Brakes Disc/drum


This lot is no longer available

The original 48-215 (‘FX’)  Holden, promoted as ‘Australia’s Own Car’ was launched on November 1948 by Prime Minister Ben Chifley to great fanfare. Even when it was new the original ‘Humpy’ Holden 48-215 (‘FX’) disguised its breakthrough engineering behind an essentially pre-World War Two appearance. The Holden was designed, engineered and tested in Detroit before being tested again in Australia. You couldn’t even call it a Baby Boomer because work on 195Y25, as the program was unevocatively called, had begun before hostilities ended. The 48-215 was always better than it looked. Behind its creation lies a veritable jigsaw of pieces, and foremost among these is its chief engineer American Russell S. (‘Russ’) Begg. While the chief engineer of the Holden was not exactly a performance car freak, he certainly decided that his car should have a better power to weight ratio than just about any other sedan of its era. Russ Begg already had white hair when he was appointed to the Australian car project in 1944. He had graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Michigan 35 years earlier but had always been a progressive, even radical thinker. Begg had to push his ideas for what kind of car 195Y25 should be through the General Motors engineering hierarchy. No way, when GM president and chairman, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., approved the Australian subsidiary’s submission to get its own car, was he or anyone else conceiving a vehicle that would match a Chevrolet on performance. In fact, what GMH boss Lawrence (‘Larry’) Hartnett envisaged was a basic four-cylinder economy car. They – we – got much more than that! The Holden’s combination of moncoque construction, powerful six-cylinder engine and high ground clearance suited it uniquely for rugged Australian conditions. and featured styling influenced both by prevailing American and European design trends. With relatively advanced monocoque construction and a sturdy, sufficiently powerful OHV six-cylinder engine, the new Holden 48-215 proved ideally suited to the rugged local driving conditions and gave excellent fuel economy. In September 1953 the Holden underwent a facelift to become the FJ, the new model boasting a toothy vaguely Buick-esque chrome grille, hubcaps and jet-age taillights. The Special Sedan was a new addition to the range and comprised a number of luxury items such as a cigarette lighter, armrests in the front doors and additional chrome trim around the window frames, door handles and on the rear wings, along with the option of two-tone paintwork. By the time production of the FJ ceased in 1956, more than 250,000 first generation Holdens had been built and the 'Humpy' had written itself into the history books. Celebrated in films, music and popular culture generally, the FJ has become a local icon and with good examples becoming hard to find, original cars are quickly being snapped up by collectors. In the 1960s when used FJs were cheap and ubiquitous, the hot rodders took great delight in transforming them with big increases in power, aftermarket floorshift gearboxes (and sometimes a four-speed gearbox), lowered suspension, smaller and wider wheels, etc. Good examples of these hot-rodded FJs are themselves now highly collectible.