THERE aren’t too many cars that could rival the EH Holden, Ken Fowler and Dave Robertson reckon.
The EH Holden celebrates the 50th anniversary of its launch this year, and in a stroke of coincidence both men first bought their EHs in 1964 and happened to live in the same street!
They reminisced on their association with these iconic vehicles last Tuesday when they got the chance to have a look at two EH Holdens on display at Robertson United car yard in Auburn Street.
Mr Robertson purchased his EH on December 4, 1964, and Mr Fowler purchased his in March 1964.
“Ken and I both worked on the railway and also both lived in Churchill St, and we both happened to purchase our EH Holdens in 1964,” Mr Robertson said.
“Ken asked me one day to drive his car home after he had a service, and I was that impressed with it I thought I would save up and buy one, too. I thought mine was so good in fact that I kept it for 17 years.
I bought it for the princely sum of 1154 pounds, and then sold it in 1981 for $2,500!” Mr Fowler kept his for eight years until 1972, and traded it in for another vehicle.
“We used both of our cars for Ken’s wedding in 1964, and also used them for other weddings as time went on,” Mr Robertson said.
According to local classic car expert Max Keys, over 250,000 EH Holdens were made from 1964-1983 and came in many forms including panel vans, sedans, station wagons and utes.
“The two cars that are stabled here in Phil Robertson’s showrooms at the car yard are identical to the ones Dave and Ken bought,” Mr Keys said.
“These cars are actually owned by Phil and his brother, and the particularly unusual thing about them is that they are almost exactly the same colour as the ones Dave and Ken bought, too.
“And to have these two cars in such an immaculate condition after 50 years is not something you see every day. I would especially like to thank Phil for giving us the chance to relive great memories again.” Mr Keys said that the cars came in many different colours and that in the Special model they all had a white roof.
“The Special was a bit dearer, but always had the white roof and slightly bigger engines,” he said.
“The EH has a great affinity for most Australians, because either their grandfathers or fathers usually owned one, people bought them secondhand and they were also often used for weddings, snuggling at the drive-in or whatever.” Mr Keys also said that most were kept shiny and new as they were dear to buy at that time.
“The square shape of them was also unique, therefore making them a valuable collector’s item,” he said.
“They’ve become a real iconic part of Australia’s history.
The motor in them, known as a 179 (so named because the motor was 179 cubic inches or 115 brake horsepower (bhp) was known as the ‘red motor’, which superseded the ‘grey’ motor and had a bigger increase in horsepower to the point where the manual model was recalled to put the motor in and was re-introduced until six months later.” Mr Keys has a particularly fond memory of these cars himself.
“I was only young when Ken and Dave arrived with these cars in our street where there were hardly any cars, and especially two brand new cars,” he said.
“That’s where I often go back 50 years and remember them as a young boy, and seeing them in a photo recently brought back some good memories for me.” Holden also made a special racing version known as the S4 which first raced at Bathurst in 1963.