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.
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.
Remy electrics (starter, generator, distributor
etc.) were used on early engines until Bosch
units were phased in early 1953.
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
- 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.
Holden 6 Cylinder Timeline
48/215 (FX) Technical Specifications
FJ Technical Specifications
FE Technical Specifications
FC Technical Specifications
FB Technical Specifications
EK Technical Specifications
EJ Technical Specifications