Holden 6 Cylinder Grey Motor

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Holden Grey Engine
image from original Holden 48/215 sales brochure
Holden gained engine building experience during WW2, when it manufactured both aeroplane, boat and torpedo engines for the war effort. The Grey six (so named because the entire long motor was finished in a "grey" paint) was born with its success to be seen as a measure of GM-H's new car.

Holden wisely choose reliability over innovation, durability over performance. The 6-cylinder design was chosen as a compromise between the British cars, with their sometimes unreliable 4-cylinder engines, and the larger US cars that featured more expensive to manufacture, maintain and run V8 engines.

It was a square engine, featuring a four-bearing crankshaft, gear-driven camshaft and full pressure lubrication system with provision for accessory oil filter. It had a capacity of 132.5 ci (2.15 liters), a compression ratio of 6.8 and developed 60bhp (rated at 21.6hp).

The fuel system used a cam driven mechanical fuel pump feeding a single-barrel, manual choke downdraft Stromberg carburetor. An oil bath air cleaner was an optional accessory.

Delco Remy electrics (starter, generator, distributor etc.) were used on early engines until Bosch units were phased in early 1953.

The torquey, low stress unit was extremely flexible, economical and offered at the time lively acceleration. An added benefit was that it was easy to work on. With its success through the '50s and early 1960's the grey engine was carried over into each new model series with only minor modifications - new camshaft, higher compression ratio, incorporation of larger valves and throat surgery in the form of improved carburetors.

By the time the FB was released the capacity was up to 138ci (2.26 liters) with a compression ratio of 7.25 and an output of 75bhp (56 kW).

If you are trying to identify if the grey engine fitted to your Holden is original, the following engine number sequences may help:
  • 48-215 numbers started at 1001
  • FJ numbers at 121694
  • FE numbers at L283373
  • FC numbers at L439507
  • FB numbers at B1001
  • EK numbers at B175814
  • EJ numbers at J1001

The Grey engine went into its 15th year of service under the bonnet of the EJ model, which ceased production in the middle of 1963, and were the last Holden engines to use solid valve lifters, and an internal oil pump and oil filter.

Technical Specifications:
Holden 6 Cylinder Timeline
Holden 48/215 (FX) Technical Specifications
Holden FJ Technical Specifications
Holden FE Technical Specifications
Holden FC Technical Specifications
Holden FB Technical Specifications
Holden EK Technical Specifications
Holden EJ Technical Specifications

Also see:
Holden History
All Holden Day
Holden Car Commercials
Nasco Holden Accessories Commercials

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