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HOLDEN FE ICONIC AUSSIES

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HOLDEN FE ICONIC AUSSIES

WHAT ARE the most significant Holdens of all time? It's up for debate, but we've had a go at picking them. In a recent episode we had a look at the FE wagon.

John Wright wrote: the original Holden 48-215 may be viewed as almost an automotive miracle, being an all-new car developed specifically for Australia and uniquely suited to the task, then the 1957 FE Station Sedan was Holden’s second nearmiracle.

How many Baby Boomers will remember (as I do) the enormous excitement provoked by the arrival of the long-awaited three-box FE Holden in July 1956? By then, the familiar shape of the Humpy Holdens 48-215 (‘FX’) and FJ was breeding contempt as we sought a sleeker streamline: cars designed just a few years after the first Holden in the immediate postwar era had faired-in mudguards, boots which had lost their droop; height dropped, wheelbase and overall length grew. And the US cars that set the international styling trends, sat closer to the road. By 1957 when the FE Station Sedan arrived, Australia’s Baby Boomers were demanding more space...see the full story online.

OUT-THERE ALFAS ZAGATO'S FINEST

STUNNING AND RARE pretty much covers it for this Alfa story penned by Andy Enright: To drive an Alfa Romeo SZ is a wholly frustrating exercise in preparing your excuses early, writing flaws off as character, dusting down a few Latin stereotypes and then realising that you’d completely wasted your time. In fact, it’s hard to think of too many sporting rivals that have shucked off more than a quarter of a century quite as well as the SZ.

By comparison a contemporary Porsche 911 feels a bit of a relic, a Lotus Esprit closer to its kitcar roots than we cared to admit at the time, while here in Oz the Commodore VN SS represented our brave new world. Now there’s some perspective.

By contrast, the SZ coupe looked as if it had beamed in from a parallel dimension; a dimension of creatively demolished shoeboxes.

One of the first production cars to be designed with the help of a computer, the SZ project came about through a bit of naked opportunism at Alfa Romeo...see the full story online.

FIN FEST CUSTOM ROYAL

FANTASTIC FINS don't come a whole lot more fantastic than this: When you talk to collectors, 1957-59 were the key years for the Custom Royal. In what proved to be a much more difficult market than Chrysler may have anticipated, the pressure was on for a facelift every year and an ever-lengthening option list to tease more out of the buyer’s wallet.

However the underpinnings were familiar for Chrysler fans. The perimeter frame (X-section on the convertibles) ran a 122-inch (3100mm) wheelbase with torsion bar front suspension and leaf rear.

You could order the company’s self-levelling rear suspension (also available on the Plymouth Sport Fury), but it doesn’t seem a popular option.

Engines were where the action really started: while Chrysler offered a six, by 1959 the Lancer started with the Super Ramfire 361ci (5.9lt) V8, claiming a respectable 260 horses. From there you could upgrade to a variety of powerplants, starting with the 383 in various states of tune, all the way through to a Super D-500, a very rare unit claiming 345 horses...see the full story online.

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