A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland


Dad’s Cars in the 60’s

Australia’s first successfully mass produced car. For a low cost, four door, six-passenger family car, with excellent performance and comfortably accommodated 2 adults and 3 or 4 children on two bench seats.

FJ sedan 1956

Dad traded the Singer SM for a Holden FJ sedan. This was a family car on weekends and his work vehicle during the week, with a trailer attached.  The FJ served him well.

The most memorable ride I can remember, was Dad driving the family home one night.  We were traveling south on Main North Road.  Just as we were about to pass Hoffmann Dry Cleaners, a large American came racing out of a side street, on Dad’s right-hand side. It was possibly a 40’s Chevy and it was moving fast, without any headlights. A big dark car leaped out of the dark coming right at us.

Dad swerved the FJ and came to a tire-screeching halt.  “Boy!  That was close!” we all exclaimed.

It took Dad a moment to collect himself, but soon enough we puttered off again. No harm done but Dad took it more cautiously, the rest of the drive home.

Australia’s first successfully mass-produced car. For a low-cost, four-door, six-passenger family car, with excellent performance and comfortably accommodated 2 adults and 3 or 4 children on two bench seats.

The Holden’s rugged construction and powerful 6-cylinder engine made it ideal for the country’s rough gravel roads, then commonplace outside the cities and towns. It was much more suited to Australian conditions than the underpowered 4-cylinder British-made cars then commonly available here.

A Holden was a ‘must have’ possession. It boosted national pride and was an outward symbol of personal prosperity.

Holden FB Station Sedan  (1960)

Holden FB Statio Wagon

The FJ was traded for the FB Holden Station Sedan ‘3 on the tree’, column shift gear lever, and bench seats. The wagon proved body shape was more suitable for Dad, as an electrical contractor.  The wagon would allow him to carry his tools and materials inside the car, without the need to tow a trailer.  It has a full-length roof rack fitted for carrying ladders, long conduits and other electric materials.  On weekends, the wagon could be converted for family outings if needed.  At the time, station wagons were beginning to replace sedans as the preferred family car. They were much more flexible for the needs of a growing family.

The FB wagon was painted “Arctic Beige” in a pinkie red, with a Royal Glow flash on the side and chrome, chrome, chrome. Chrome everywhere.

At this time, I had just obtained my learner’s permit and the FB was the first car I was legally able to drive.

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