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July 1998

Golden Holden's : The EH (1963-1965)

Oldie - EH.gif (99831 bytes)HERALDED as the most dramatic new Holden model since the 48-215, the EH stakes a big claim on the title of Australia's all-time most popular car.

During just 18 months of manufacture, the EH sold a record 256,959 units to become the fastest selling Australian car ever.

Based on the EJ - the first completely new 60s Holden model - the EH boasted a completely new, much more powerful engine and clever styling changes. Despite these new features, the basic EH was priced at the same level as its predecessor.

A wave of public interest prior to the release of this value-for-money model created unprecedented demand and marked a resurgence of the locally-built product amid the rising popularity of cheaper Japanese imports.

The more fuel-efficient new powerplant, dubbed the 'red engine' (after the colour of its painted block) was available in two versions - a first for GMH.

It offered 33 per cent more power than the previous 'grey engine' in standard 149 configuration and 53 per cent more power in bigger 179 form. This increased horsepower restored the Holden's performance relativity to the superior level benchmarked by the Holden 48-215 model in 1948. The bigger 179 engine came standard in the top-end Premier and limited edition S4 sports models while a third engine, an economy low compression version of the 149, was also available.

The engines were designed to be smoother, longer lasting and more economical. They also proved ideal for towing, an increasingly popular pastime in the 60s. Renowned for reliability and long lifespan, a 'red engine' would often cover over 130,000km before any major service overhaul was required. Competitors' engines at the time commonly needed this attention at 80,000km.

64_EH_wagon.jpg (33707 bytes)The EH range offered 24 variants across five models; the Standard, Special, Premier, Coupe Utility and Panel Van.

For the first time, buyers could also experience the luxury appointments of the Premier range in a station wagon. The S4 sports model, produced in small numbers (120) for use in motor sport, was the only version to combine the powerful 179 engine with three-speed manual transmission.

The EH owed much of its success to its universal appeal. It was cheap, practical, economical, relatively quick and ideal for modification. Thirty-five years down the track, its familiar good-looks and high status have ensured its enduring popularity - to the extent that there are now thirteen dedicated EH car clubs with over 800 enthusiast members.

Base price at introduction: $2102/1051

Total number built: 256,959

Standard sedan, Special sedan, Premier sedan, S4 Special sedan,
Standard station wagon, Special station wagon, Premier station wagon,
panel van and utility

Engines: 2.45 litre OHV six-cylinder '149' (a low-compression version of
this engine was also available) and 2.95 litre OHV six-cylinder ' 179'

Transmission: Three-speed manual, syncromesh on 2nd and 3rd.
Optional three-speed Hydramatic automatic.
Both with column mounted shift lever.

Power Output:
'149' - 100bhp @ 4400rpm
'179' - 115bhp @ 4000rpm
'149' low compression - 95bhp @ 4400rpm

Dimensions (sedan):

Length - 451 lmm, Width - 1727mm      Wheelbase - 2667mm

Fuel Tank: 9 gallons/43 litres

ALSO IN 1963-65

Popular songs and films of 1963
Surf City (Jan and Dean),
Danke Schoen (Wayne Newton),
Bombora (The Atlantics),
Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (Allan Sherman),
Surfin' Hootenanny (Al Casey).

The L-Shaped Room (Leslie Caron),
The Birds (Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren),
Hud (Paul Newman, Patricia Neal, Melvyn Douglas),
Exodus (Paul Newman).