Holden 48/215 FX

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General Motors Holden

Holden 48/215 FX

1948 - 1953
6 cyl.
2160 cc
60 bhp
3 spd. man
Top Speed:
Number Built:
4 star
Prime Minister Ben Chifley launched the car 'made in Australia, for Australia' in 1948, and nobody guessed what a runaway success this plain and practical sedan would immediately prove to be.

Australians took the Holden straight to their hearts, commencing a love affair that continues to this day. Demand outstripped supply and the waiting list stretched through 1949 and beyond. Although its official model code is 48-215, the first Holden is widely known as the FX.

Plans for its development moved into gear in 1944, when the Federal Government asked manufacturers to submit proposals for the production of an Australian car; a move aimed at accelerating post-war industrial growth.

General Motors-Holden's (GMH) - its technical and manufacturing expertise advanced through wartime mobilisation - accepted and completed the challenge of building the nation's first successfully mass-produced car.

Adapted from a US design, the first Holden was nevertheless a uniquely Australian car, however it was far from luxurious.

There were no chrome mouldings, no heater, a single driver only sunvisor, the windows were of a "flipper" design, and to obtain ventilation you needed to use the adjustable air scoop that was situated between the bonnet and windscreen. (In fact it would be many years for today's basic features to be introduced - as can be seen by viewing the EH Holden Nasco Accessory brochure in the PDF Gallery section of this web site).

At a time when safety was not an issue, no doubt due to the lack of cars on the road, the 48/215 had a single tail-light and lacked turn indicators. The interior was trimmed in either leather or wollen body cloth, while a PVC material was introduced in mid 1951.

Options of the day included an 'Air Chief 5' radio, a rear venetian blind, lefthand side sun-visor, a locking petrol cap and a heavy duty oil bath air-cleaner. The exterior body color range was limited to four: Convoy Grey, Seine Blue, Gawler Cream and Black.

The lack of refinement in the first all Australian car had absolutely no effect on sales. In fact, Holden were forced to publish a booklet of testimonials entitled "Holden Owners Give Reasons Why Holden is Worth Waiting For", while in the background they worked furiously to lift production rates (which rose from an initial 10 units a day to 100 per day in 1951, when the first Coupe Utility was launched).

During the model life of the FX, many small improvements were made such as a change from lever-type shock absorbers to a modern telescopic variety with wider rear springs (dubbed 'Air-ride'). The very first Holden ute was released in 1951and in 1953 the fleet and taxi orientated "Business" sedan was introduced - all at a time when production had been increased to an incredible 200 per day!

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Also see:

Holden 48/215 (FX) Specifications
Holden Grey Motor
Holden History
Holden Car Commercials
Early Holden Advertising
Nasco Holden Accessories Commercials
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