Some have romantic memories of old Holdens: Terry Thompson is ever the realist but loves them all the same

Terry Thompson is a director of the ARDC, and has a long history in many things to do with cars and motoring, including the New South Wales Road Safety Advisory Council and a whole pile of motoring clubs, including the 48 and FJ. Holden Owners Club.

We chatted with him about the history.  You can listen to the interview here

Terry has been the owner of a number of old Holdens including a couple of sedans and a panel van.  When he used to take them down the street, he said a common response was “Hey mate I had one of these It was the best bloody car I’ve ever had” to which he would screw up my nose and think “Oh, my God. What have you been driving since you got there?”.

I asked him as delicately as possible what he use to use the panel van for, was it similar to the types of things we did in later, larger, versions of this sort of car.  I was thinking of going camping or the like.

He noted that there use to be a sticker on the back of panel vans and utes that said “Yes. This is my ute and no, I’m not helping you move”.

While the first Holden came off the production line nearly seventy-two years ago there are still a considerable number of car clubs dedicated to the early models.

Terry noted that some are for the keeping the purity of the original cars including things like vacuum run windscreen wipers while others were not adverse to some modern electrics and other features on the old cars.

The encouraging point he made that these car clubs are not just a bunch of old men.  He said: “A whole new tribe of younger people coming in to take over the cars and look after them”.

One of the great features of the early Holdens was “three on the tree”.  These were the manual models with a column change and three forward gears.

Terry took one of his to the Bathurst races one year and let radio and television personality Clive Robinson drive it around the track.  Actually Clive only drove it the very last section down Conrod Straight because he didn’t know how to drive a manual.  Mike Raymond, the track commentator at the time said that he thought Terry was a very brave man.

About David Brown 440 Articles
David’s boyhood passion for motor cars did not immediately lead to a professional role in the motor industry. A qualified Civil Engineer he specialised in traffic engineering and transport planning. What followed were various positions including being seconded to a government think-tank for the planning of transport firstly in Sydney and then for the whole of NSW. After working with the NRMA and as a consultant he moved to being an independent writer and commentator on the broader areas of transport and the more specific areas of the cars we drive. His half hour motoring program “Overdrive” has been described as an “informed, humorous and irreverent look at motoring and transport from Australia and overseas”. It is heard on 22 stations across Australia. He does weekly interviews with several ABC radio stations and is also heard on commercial radio in Sydney. David has written for metropolitan and regional newspapers and has presented regular segments on metropolitan and regional television stations. David is also a contributor for AnyAuto