Was the first Holden that good

Ben chifley and first holdenThe first Holden was said to be Australian made for Australian conditions.  David Brown ponders on how good was it for the times and was it different from the opposition.


When PM Ben Chifley launched the First holden the 48-215 on 29 November 1948 he said “it’s a beauty”.

The best selling cars at the time were the Austin A40 Devon – a four cylinder 1.2 litre engine under 30 kW of power and the Morris Oxford with a slightly larger 4 cylinder.

The Holden had a 6 cylinder engine with 50% more power.  It was bigger, smoother, more comfortable and better performing.

It weighed one tonne, it was shorter than a current Corolla, a top speed of 130km.hr and average about 9.4 l/100km.

It took nearly two years of the average wage to buy.

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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