Slow burn - Revcounter 458

By: Guy Allen

Presented by

holden holden

We all need a long drive

Dunno about you, but as a now reluctant resident of what claims to be one of the world’s most locked-down cities, Melbourne, I’m hanging out for a long drive. One that goes days beyond the horizon.

From time to time we all dream of heading out on that fantastic long trip. The one where there’s no great screaming hurry to get anywhere. Where if you spot something interesting, you can pull over and have a gander without fear of missing some over-blown deadline.

Too often in the past I’ve either rushed trips or cut them short to meet some obligation which has far greater prominence in my head than in reality. You might be familiar with the syndrome. We have to be back in time to...whatever. Of course after you’ve done that, all the exercise did was create needless stress. Most things just aren’t that important.

In years past I’ve been fortunate enough to do all sorts of long trips on motorcycles and in old cars, and the memory of them is usually a joy. For me, the pivotal moments have often been pulling up somewhere to take a breather or a photo, and scan a horizon that seems like it could be the definition of infinity. There could be mountains on the edges, or a dead flat sandy plain with nothing taller than a saltbush. They all work.

When it comes to cars, so far the ones I’ve had have generally been relatively modern (say mid-1970s-onwards) and easily capable of busting accepted highway speeds. There is, I reckon, an alternative that’s worth exploring. That is a generation of toys whose performance owes more to the forties, fifties and early sixties, so immediately post-World War Two.

My reasoning is this: It’s a period when reliability could be very good, though technically many of the local cars seemed to have about a dozen moving parts. They retained a level of mechanical simplicity which is completely foreign to anything you’ll now find in a new car showroom.

Look under the bonnet, and you’ll find one ancillary belt – one! There’s room around the straight six motor to hop in and go for a stroll in the engine bay. Cars like the FC Holden shown here are exactly what I’m talking about.

One of the experiences that got me thinking about it was driving another old Holden, which we were returning after a photo shoot. It was dark, and there was a bit of rain. But the machine, complete with three-on-the-tree manual trans, felt like it would take us to Perth without raising a sweat.

And that’s how I reckon a well-kept FC would feel. The appeal is in going for a long slow drive, just chasing that horizon. Who’s coming with us?


From Unique Cars #458, Oct 2021

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