9 June 2017

More than a old car #16: Holden FB Special

It is apparent that what you are seeing is an old car, but how old is it? Were you able to identify the car brand immediately? Like you, I was unable to identify what this could be as there were no badges or visible identification such as the grille shape. It was only after some research that I managed to identify this as a 1961 Holden FB Special.

Holden is an Australian car manufacturer which was founded by James Alexander Holden in 1856. It started out business making horse saddles before moving on to cars in 1919. It was bought over by US-based General Motors in 1931 and recently, it was announced that Holden will stop producing vehicles in Australia this year. Holden was present here since 1956 but with the shift towards small economical cars, it left the Singapore market in the late 90s. It was only recently that Holden made a return here, albeit as Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).

The Holden FB was a replacement of the Holden FC and it was produced only for 1 year, between 1960-1961. It was available in different forms: a 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe, a 5-door station wagon and a panel van. The 'Special' version had a white roof and different-coloured body along with a stainless steel trim as seen in the picture. It was popular with farmers due to its ruggedness. It was powered by a 2262 cc 6-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 130 km/h. However, its acceleration was very slow at 20.4 seconds [0-97 km/h]. The FB Special was 4610 mm long and weighed 1131 kg.

During its limited production run, 174,747 were made and this specimen was imported over from Indonesia in 2013. It is well-loved by Indonesians and this came with country-specific specifications, such as a white roof and metric instrumentation. I do not know whether it is back on the road after its repairs, but this is so uniquely 60s such that you could spot it a mile away. It still has not lost its old-school charm and I hope the owner continues to maintain this gem.

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