Holden 48-215 (1948-1953): Reader Ride

By: Dr John Wright

Presented by

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Holden 48-215 - the car that started the legend

A hybrid American-Australian design effort, the 48-215 (in 1953 tagged as the ‘FX’ when it was given updated FJ suspension) was famously welcomed off the production line by then Prime Minister Ben Chifley. While Australia already had a long automotive industry history, this was seen as a significant raising of the stakes: complete manufacture of a vehicle and its components in serious volume.

The untold story of the Holden car

"We bought it in 1984," explains owner Dominic Lentini. "My wife Grace and I were in Rosebud and we saw this tired looking old car in a front yard with a for sale sign. I just fell in love with it. My father’s first car was an FJ, which I remember, so maybe that has something to do with it. I took out a personal loan from Westpac. The car cost me $1170 and I paid it off in 12 instalments."

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A 1952 model, the car was first registered to a Mr Ludwig Holzer, who owned Inkerman Panels in St Kilda. The family still runs the business.

After spending some time in storage while a house and new garage were built, it underwent a complete restoration. "We were beginning with a complete stock vehicle, including the numberplates.," says Lentini.

And the result? "You need to adapt your driving to suit a car of that age. It’s quite economical and has plenty of room in it. The difference between this and a modern car is enormous."

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