Wednesday, October 04, 2017

GM Holden or Ford Falcon Part 1

For the record my father began his driving life in a Willys motor car. I can't remember what it looked like but one night when he was probably drunk, he smashed it into a bridge, and the next morning I looked out of the window at the Willeys and I said, all broke. Mother has told me what I said. Google is not being helpful in identifying what it may have looked like.

It was replaced by an FJ Holden Special. The car seemed very special to us, with its in dash cigarette lighter, non fan forced heating, carpeted floors and the rear venetian blind. It had belonged to a travelling salesman. One fault with it was it had vacuum operated windscreen wipers, that would slow down or even stop on steep hills or if being driven hard. It was driven until it could be barely driven at all and went to scrap. It was this two tone green. All photos from Shannons Car Sales who insured my Humber Super Snipe for its appropriate value, which the RACV would not.



Next came a bomb of a car, sold to Father by a so called mate. It was an FB Holden, with no extras whatsoever. The heating system had been removed as had the turn indicators. Seat belts had been added, with the bolts going right through the door pillars to the outside. I don't think we had it for very long. The colours were nice, pale blue and white as in the second photo.



By the mid 60s the family had grown and it was thought a station wagon or by its own name, a station sedan was required, so along came the EJ Special station wagon. Although only two models after the FB, it was a much nicer car. Still didn't have a fan for the heating and the same motor as the one before, but it was spotlessly clean, not that it stayed that way for long, with mud on the outside, muddy boots on the inside and bags of briquettes being carried in the rear often enough. It was this colour but of course as a station wagon as pictured lower. It lasted very well. It ended up abandoned not too far from the farm house, with its passenger side footwell full of water that had leaked in.



Different families often became either Holden or Ford fans, Holden being owned by General Motors. As you will have noticed, we were Holen family and we had no time at all for the car we called Found On Rubbish Dump. Our last Holden was an HR station wagon, again blue and white. Instead of a tailgate where the bottom half lowered and the top half raised, it had a wind up rear window. If you went for the top model, it even had a electric rear window. It was a good car, with a more powerful motor and much better to drive. We were now a two car family, with the old EJ still going. Our family was by now, Mother, Father, his brother and three boys and one girl. My uncle usually drove the older car, unless he was going out on a date when he would take the newer car. It was our last Holden. At one point Mother, who had always cleaned the cars, refused to anymore. Father would only give the car a rinse with the hose if he had to go to a wedding or funeral.

Father was rarely a harsh disciplinarian but he did have areas he felt strongly about. However, when my 15 year old brother took the HR for a spin when he was home alone, and flipped it over, Father was not so concerned. It was put upright, with a few dents, but still quite ok. Perhaps he remembered his own childhood and what he got up to. I think the paint work was the same style as the second car in a blue, but not the blue of the first car. I suppose it was traded in for the next car. I drove the older car and this one quite often, underage and illegally.


Ah, the Premier had the electric rear window, with just a keyhole to raise or lower the window. There was also a switch inside.


In part 2 I will tell you about 'the slut' and why Mother refused to clean the car, how I tried to sabotage Father's outing, along with Guy Fawkes night, and the final three cars my father owned before his early death a couple of years older than I am now. I look like my father. What genes of his do I have? River, you do wonder at times why I feel very mortal and may not live to an old age?

This post about remembering old family cars inspired by Diane, as her life story goes on.  

30 comments:

  1. Andrew, When I see pictures or commercials for today's 'Car of the Year' or just current automobiles it leaves me completely baffled and puzzled. Quite often it's something called a Skoda.
    I love those old vintage cars and will sometimes visit a vintage car show when I can.
    I particularly like the top two cars you posted up here. And when you look inside them it's as though part of your old home is in there, what with the mahogany dashboards and the leather seats. A sort of coziness that today's designs have moved away from.

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    1. DJ, cars now generally lack individuality. Skoda is not a bad car, I believe, but there used car value is poor, here at least. I'm afraid the top cars, while looking stylish, only had metal dashboards and were quite basic. Now my Humber Super Snipe, was quite another matter, being quite luxurious.

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  2. My father didn't have a preference for either Fords or Holdens. We had both. The first car I can remember my mother having was a VW Beetle.
    Loving your trip down memory lane and looking forward to more.

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    1. EC, that would be unusual. Most families had a car brand preference. R had a VW Beetle for a few years. It was a great fun car.

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  3. Great stories. I don't really remember any of our family's cars, sadly.

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    1. Jackie, odd, because my memories are so vivid. I was quite interesting in cars, so perhaps that is why I remember them so well.

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  4. Anonymous9:45 am

    Please tell me you had a Kingswood at one stage. And that you glad wrapped the aerial, Mr Bullpitt. - Ian

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    1. Ian, no, sadly no Kingswood, with a towbar to chamois.

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  5. The FX was as ugly as all get-out, but our parents loved it for being a strong and economical family car, and typically Australian in 1948. Then a few years later the FJ Holden with all that chrome-y decoration.

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    1. Hels, for their time, they were surprisingly economical. Yes, I was not fond of the looks of the FX, well the back was much the same. There was a lot of American influence in the FJ styling.

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  6. I do wonder and not just about you. I know many people who feel their mortality and often speak of old age and death. They see the age a parent lived to and think they are going to be the same. You, Andrew, have one parent still living, perhaps you have more of her genes and will live on as she has.
    My father preferred Fords over Holdens, I remember the one Holden we did have, it was a lovely cream colour with the stripe being a deep red/crimson. Way back before the hills freeway was built, we were on our way to visit Mum in Murray Bridge and Dad accelerated to get up the hill and the accelerator stuck so we were going faster and faster on that winding old road while my brother crawled down and tried to pull it back up. He did it of course, but Dad traded that Holden for a Ford as soon as we were home again in Port Pirie.

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    1. River, that's a funny, if scary, story about your father's Holden.

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  7. Picture that FB Holden in cream with the red flash.

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    1. Yes, I remember the colour scheme well, and it was nice. The cream was a very creamy cream.

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  8. A car never featured during my childhood. Our mother didn't driven nor did our Nana. We walked everywhere...caught a bus if and when necessary...and for lengthy journeys went by train.

    Years later...I did have an EH Wagon for a time - we had a Passat and then a Ford Cortina curing such time. If I have to be honest, I prefer Ford over Holden.

    It saddens me that there is no longer a car manufacturing industry in this country.

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    1. Lee, EH was much the same as the EJ style wise, but it had a bigger motor. I had no experience with Passats, but I think I know the model. I was never impressed with Cortinas. Sister had one and my general experience with them was not good. So what is your car now? I've probably forgotten. Yes, as I wrote the post, it did not occur to me that it was on the day the Toyota car factory closed down, making cars in Australia since about 1964. Luckily, despite a dodgy start, they got much better at it.

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    2. The Cortina we had was a Cortina Ghia...we bought it straight from the factory floor...and were very happy with it. It was a solid, reliable vehicle.

      After getting rid of my little Ford Festiva four years ago this month...I'd had the Festiva for 20 years...from new. I bught it from a dealer in Bowen when I was managing the mess and singlemen's accommodation at Collinsville on behalf of Morris Catering Co. and Collinsville Coal (then a subsidiary of MIM). It never gave me an ounce of trouble; and I travelled far and wide in it, but sadly, it's day finally came. And it was a sad day for me.

      Before the Festiva, I had a Hyundai...which I purchased when I sold the Cortina.

      Not being flush with money when parting with my Festiva, and in no need of a large car of any description, as the only passenger I ever have is me...I bought a second-hand Toyota Echo. And, touch wood...it's a great little car. I'm very happy with it.

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    3. Ah yes, that was the top of line model Cortina. ABI Brother had a Festiva for a number of years and he quite liked it. While we have an older Hyundai now, the really early ones weren't much chop. We hired one in Cairns and it was ok, until four of us, all quite lightweight back then, took a little drive around the steep new suburbs surrounding Cairns. It would not get up one steep street and I had roll backwards and make a three point turn and go downhill. A friend has 2000s Echo and apart from when she decided to be a butch dyke and check the oil, and the massively overfilled it with oil, it has been trouble free. She is still driving it in Launceston, though she is working for a different car dealership.

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    4. Ouch! I just re-read what I wrote above...please excuse the couple of typos I made therein. I'll blame them on Shama, my female cat, who was fighting for a place on my lap at the time! :)

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    5. Lee, I have limited time in life. I did not notice your typos. If I really cared, I would have to re-read what you wrote to check. Our lovely boy cat Thomas got in the way, frequently and often, but always with love.

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    6. I remember Cortinas, my mother in law learned to drive in one at the age of 45.

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  9. My father drove his Mk2 3.8 litre Jag into a ditch one night, and was told by the police that he would have to pass a driving test if he ever wanted to drive again (he'd been GIVEN a licence during the war). He didn't bother, and my mother for ever drove us around.

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    1. Lovely car, Cro. Similarly, a driving licence was easy to obtain here. Un-similarly, in Australia the person would have just kept on driving.

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  10. Anonymous3:04 pm

    We also didn`t get a car until I was 14. It was a pale green VW Fastback. We thought it was very stylish!! And of course, I was happy to share the same initials.

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    1. Anon, well I know who it is by the initials. The Fastbacks were way cool, not quite a Karmann Ghia, but still, very stylish.

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  11. My father hated Fords too, and stuck to Chevy's I think until later in life he got an Aerostar van, that was rubbish. Some of those cars sound very ancient, Andrew. My brothers both totaled family cars. I never did. I'm owed one I guess. Both fell asleep at the wheel when they did it, I suspect back then, with no cell phone distractions, it may have been a common teenage wreck cause, along with drinking and having carloads of friends inside.

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    1. Strayer, Chevs were made be GM, I think, so perhaps equivalent although our cars of then were small and modest in comparison. A cursory look at Aerostar does not leave me wanting to see more. Yes, as here, running off the road was a prime killer.

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  12. Anonymous8:51 am

    I hope that in part 2, we'll get a rousing rendition of football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars. - Ian

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    1. Thanks for reminding me Ian. It may even be a post on its own.

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    2. Now I remember I meant to put on "Up there Cazaly" on footy final day. Being Australian, I would hope it would have played.

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