From The Classifieds: 1949 Holden 48-215 standard

words - Tim Britten
How much would you be prepared to pay for a fully-restored 1949 Holden 48-215?

From The Classifieds
1949 Holden 48-215 standard

Holden started full-scale local car production with the 48-215 in 1948.

Sixty-five years later there are still plenty of examples to be found, including this faithfully restored 1949 model

How much would you be prepared to pay for a fully-restored 1949 Holden 48-215 (commonly but inaccurately referred to as FX)?

Bearing in mind that the original 1948 model was tagged at $1,466 how would $52,000 sound?

It might seem expensive – and undoubtedly would be for some – but according to our calculations $52,000, in wage-adjusted figures, is a lot less than the new price of the iconic Australian car in its year of introduction.

In 1948 the average Australian wage was about 70 times lower than today. A worker could expect to be paid the equivalent of about $15 per week where today the average is around $1,060 a week.

So, if that worker in 1948 pocketed every penny, it would take just a bit less than two years to raise the money for a new 48-215. An ordinary Holden Commodore today is tagged at about $38,000 which equates to about 36 weeks of wage packets.

But this isn’t a lesson in Australian wage relativity. What we are talking about, in these days of survival struggle for local car manufacturers, is the car that started the whole thing.

The Holden 48-215 – or, simply, the Holden – was remarkable in its time not just for the fact it started a whole industry rolling, but that it was a pretty efficient, effective design that made many of the other popular cars of its time look convincingly outdated.

Funnily – and this is hardly a new point to make – the original family Holden, although it was seen as a full-size family car, was neither particularly big nor particularly heavy.

Fact checks show the 48-215 weighed a whisker more than one tonne – much less than any current small car – while its dimensions (apart from height) were similar to (but generally less) than Holden’s current small car, the Cruze.

Despite this, the 45kW 2.2-litre overhead valve six-cylinder Holden could easily carry six (!) adults and their luggage, cruise comfortably at 100km/h or so and return average consumption figures around 9.4L/100km. The light weight and smooth six-cylinder engine made for a relatively quick-accelerating car too.

We don’t need to talk about dynamic and passive safety, passenger comfort, electronics or exhaust emissions, but cars really don’t seem to have advanced awfully in the last 65 years. So much for the flying cars, alternative power sources or matter-transference we were thinking about in the late 1940s . . .

Today, any surviving 48-215 Holden is a treasure, almost regardless of condition – the same applies to its successor, the facelifted and updated FJ that appeared in 1953.

And so we come to this beautiful 1949 48-215 listed on and tagged with an asking price of $52,000.

Offered for sale with a roadworthy certificate, the Convoy Grey Holden has been fully restored and, according to its owner, has national show wins for best stock 48-215 Holden among its credits.

Apart from removing “every nut and bolt” the restoration job included the interior, where the red leather seats and carpeted floor replicate the original equipment that came in 1949.

It says something that, of the 120,000-plus 48-215s built between 1948 and 1953, many are still operating today. It is possible to find a number of interesting cars on , including even one-owner unrestored examples that would be manna from heaven for keen enthusiasts.

If restoration isn’t your bag, it’s unlikely you would do a lot better than this 1949 Holden .

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Published : Thursday, 21 February 2013
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