1958 Holden FC Station Sedan - Reader Resto

By: Dominic Lentini with Guy Allen - Words & Photos

Presented by

holden fc front angle holden fc front angle
holden fc rear angle 2 holden fc rear angle 2
holden fc rear angle holden fc rear angle
holden fc 3 holden fc 3
holden fc 4 holden fc 4
holden fc front holden fc front
holden fc bonnet holden fc bonnet
holden fc detail holden fc detail
holden fc detail 2 holden fc detail 2
holden fc detail 3 holden fc detail 3
holden fc detail 4 holden fc detail 4
holden fc rear badge holden fc rear badge
holden fc tail light holden fc tail light
holden fc visor holden fc visor
holden fc wheel holden fc wheel
holden fc engine bay holden fc engine bay
holden fc engine bay 2 holden fc engine bay 2
holden fc interior front holden fc interior front
holden fc steering wheel holden fc steering wheel
holden fc dash holden fc dash
holden fc brochure holden fc brochure
holden fc brochure 2 holden fc brochure 2
holden fc resto holden fc resto
holden fc resto 2 holden fc resto 2
dominic lentini dominic lentini

Not many of these stunning old wagons survive so it's great to see one ready to tackle a cross-country trip

This was Holden’s second station sedan – it superseded the FE and the changes, such as the grille, were minimal. There were some mechanical updates and more noticeable were the inevitable cosmetic changes.

The jump to FE from FJ was actually pretty big. There were more significant mechanical changes but the most important in my view was the switch from six to 12 volt electrics. I own a 48-215 as well (which Unique Cars mag has featured) and the difference between these and the previous generation is dramatic. They feel more like a modern car.

holden-fc-rear-angle-2.jpg

A big strong car that could take you across the country tomorrow

An issue with the six volt systems is they don’t like starting when the car is hot, sometimes you need to let them cool down for half an hour. I don’t know how people used to put up with it, particularly in Summer.

The FC is still basic when it comes to creature comforts, however this one has a heater, which was an accessory. It’s a little noisy, but you put up with it on a cold day.

| Watch next: Dominic's FC Station Sedan at the Holden Muster, 2017

Oddly enough I came across the car in my street. I noticed it hadn’t moved for about six weeks so, after talking to wife Grace about it, I wandered over. He was a young guy and said, "I wondered when you would show." It turns out he had seen me in the 48-215 and figured I would come knocking on the door.

holden-fc-4.jpg

There was a lot of hard work to get to this stage, including getting that glass right

He had decided to sell and it cost the grand sum of $1200 – this was back in 2005. It was in fair condition, but was running a 186 with a Yella Terra head instead of the grey motor and had been converted to an alternator charging system. The good news it was still running the original type radiator, so the  subframe had been left alone. The petrol tank was gone and the cabin reeked of petrol. Fortunately it was downhill to my place, so we rolled it home.

The number plates on it were the originals and I’ve kept that number, even though it’s now on club plates.

| Reader Resto: 1964 Holden EH panel van

holden-fc-boot.jpg

Body-wise it was pretty good. If it had needed the sort of work I put into the 48-215 some years earlier, I would have sold it straight away. The floor pans were gone, there was a bit of rust in the guards, but the sills were good, as were the doors and tailgate.

One problem was finding a petrol tank, as they’re different from the ones used in a sedan. The latter has the filler at the rear, while the wagon’s is on the side and there aren’t many out there.

I sourced a grey motor for it and put the engine bay back to standard. It’s based on an old overhead valve Buick six, displacing 132.5ci (2170cc). It got bored out to 138ci (2260cc) for the FB series. That’s matched to a three-on-the-tree manual with synchro on second and third.

| Reader Resto: 1963 Holden EH ute

holden-fc-wheel.jpg

They’re a simple car to work on. Though when you start taking one apart you soon realise how many components are involved, even if it’s a 67-year-old car! I wouldn’t attempt something like this on a modern car – it would be beyond me.

Some work such as paint got farmed out, but I did all the assembly work. Stripping it down and putting it back together you soon find yourself dealing with a lot of parts, from door handles and chrome pieces like the grille, through to the glass. As simple as they are, there is a lot of work involved.

holden-fc-detail-4.jpg

Parts availability is generally very good. As I mentioned, the fuel tank was the real headache. It had to come from another station sedan, or a van or a ute, and was really hard to find. Sedan tanks were easy to find. In the end it didn’t need many new parts. Much of what I needed could be restored, re-chromed or re-zinced.

Once they’re together and set up, they’re a reasonably easy thing to live with. Like most of these old cars, the biggest problem is they tend to sit around for long periods and that’s what gets to them.

holden-fc-tail-light.jpg

As something to drive, it’s a significant improvement on the 48-215. The handling is much better and I find it’s got a bit more power. I really enjoy driving it.

And I have to say the 12 volts versus six means I’d rather take the FC out because I know it’s going to be no problem to start it.

It will sit on 60mph (100km/h) but is probably more comfortable at 55 (90km/h).

holden-fc-engine-bay-2.jpg

The grey motor had some minor updates for this series

You see a lot more sedans getting around than wagons. They had that dual role of family car and load-carrier, so the majority of them probably just got worn out. All up some 191,724 FCs were sold at a time when Holden had a 50.1 per cent market share.

There’s a funny story getting around about the name of this model – as in Station Sedan. I can’t vouch for truth of the story. It says that back in the day there were two brothers named Cordell, who had a car body shop in Hampton and one of their specialties was converting FJ sedans to wagons. They had registered the name Station Wagon, which initially prevented GMH from using it, hence the term Station Sedan.

holden-fc-interior-front.jpg

People have different reactions to seeing it. (It’s called Bella, by the way.) Some think it’s great while others reckon it should be in a museum. The latter tend to be people who are briefly stuck behind it on the road and think I’m not driving fast enough for their tastes.

My advice for someone who’s in the market? Without doubt join a car club, so you can feed off the people who have done it before. Plus, you’re likely to find what you want within that group. You’re crazy not to learn from their experience. I’m with the Southern Early 48-215 FJ Holden Club in Victoria.

holden-fc-steering-wheel.jpg

THE RESTO:

Original car: 1958 Holden FC Station Sedan
Length of restoration: 5 years

1. Wrong six

holden-fc-resto-engine.jpg

The 186 with a Yella Terra head was swapped out for grey motor.


2. Nice body

holden-fc-resto-rear.jpg

Generally the body was in decent shape, though the floors were gone.


3. Critical bits

holden-fc-resto-boot.jpg

Incredibly, the tailgate and doors were whole.


4. New suit

holden-fc-resto.jpg

Dominic decided to stick with original distinctive coliur scheme.


5. Shiny bits

holden-fc-resto-2.jpg

The trim was generally there and able to be restored.


6. Details details

holden-fc-rear-badge.jpg

The Preston Motors dealer sticker is a nice touch

dominic-lentini.jpg

1958 Holden FC Station Sedan

Body: Station sedan
Engine: 132.5ci (2170cc)inline six Grey motor
Power: 54kw @ 4000rpm
Torque: 149Nm @ 1200rpm
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Suspension: Front: independant with coil springs, hydraulic dampers
Rear: live axle with leaf springs, hydraulic dampers

 

From Unique Cars #450, March 2021

Unique Cars magazine Value Guides

Sell your car for free right here

 

 

 

Subscribe to Unique Cars Magazine and save up to 39%
Australia’s classic and muscle car bible. With stunning features, advice, market intelligence and hundreds of cars for sale.

Subscribe