1960 Ford Falcon XK

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So, just when you thought you’d never hear this from a Holden guy, here it is, the Mighty Ford Falcon.

It’s out there now, no taking that back.

Better still, it’s parked out front of the best pub in town, Parrotdog Bar in Lyall Bay Wellington. Even better than that though, we down tools on Fridays and head-off to Parrotdog for a couple of ‘quiets’ before picking up the fish ‘n chips … no wait … and today’s Friday!

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Holden HG Premier

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In 1910, yeah I know that was a long time ago but bare with me, a bunch of locals at Lyall Bay started a surf lifesaving club – they called it Lyall Bay Surf Lifesaving Club. No, stick with me, it gets better. Being rather pleased with themselves, they thought it a good idea to have a demonstration day and show Wellington just how clever they were. Demo-day arrived and the surf was pumping (normally a good thing for a surf lifesaving demonstration day). The teams and routines had all been agreed with a nod and a wink. Five minutes before hitting the surf, the club captain (we’ll call him Ted because his name was Ted) lost his bottle and pushed another clubby (Neil) forward. Clubbie Neil didn’t like being pushed so pushed back. The two went hard at it in front of an enthralled crowd until Neil had had enough and stomped off. He only stomped 50 metres and stopped, stamped his foot and declare ’Sod it, I’ll start my own club and I’ll be boss’. And so it was, Maranui Surf Lifesaving Club was born (one assumes ‘Neil’s Surf lifesaving Club’ was rejected) and Captain Neil never went out in pumping surf again. The two clubs sat side by side quite well on the whole, but when a dispute broke out, they would go up the beach to the ‘Bend’, and with gloves on, sort it out. The Bend became known as ‘Gloves’ and when the dispute was unable to be sorted at Gloves, they moved further up the beach to a spot known as “Gloves off’. No dispute went unresolved.

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All the Holdens

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All the best vintage Holden cars from 1948 to 1974. The original Holden FX came out in 1948 and was the first fully Australian assembled car built for the Australian domestic market. It was followed by the facelift Holden FJ in 1953. Although this styling was a little dated by 1953 it was a huge hit and quickly became ‘the’ iconic Australian car. 1956 saw a complete makeover for Holden with the new FE (in style at least, not so much mechanically) taking it’s cues from the 1955 Chevrolet, although slightly more humble than it’s American big brother. The General Motors influence continued, moving the 1958 Holden FC along with the 56 Chevy, adding a little more chrome on the side. For me, the 1960 FB Holden was a coming of age, having dipped it’s toe in the Chevrolet waters, this was the flying forward one-and-a-half somersaults, pike. Chevrolet had done this four years earlier with the outstanding Bel-Air but for Australians, and us New Zealanders over the ditch, this was Hollywood glam. The Holden EK followed in 61 with a minor styling update. With the Holden EJ in 1962, Holden left the 50’s behind with a truly modern car. This was a real grown-up car with higher trim levels and many more accessories – regarded today as one of Holden’s finest models. 1963 saw the tweaked Holden EH hit the market and the big news in 63 was the all new ‘red’ motor to replace the ‘old grey’. One of my favourite models is the HD, launched in 1965, however, it wasn’t well received by all – it may have been a step to far with it’s pointed fin front for the conservative Antipodean market of the mid-sixties. Tellingly, a new model appeared the following year. A softened-off front end and other refinements were aimed at addressing some of the criticism. Then in 1968 came the Mighty Holden HK, big in styling and big in power, this was the start of a great era for Holden with the HT and HG that followed, essentially the same car with upgrades along the way. I have a Holden HG Premier and for me, this is as good as Holdens get. In 1971 Holden launch the HQ, a beautiful car that sold well and evolved through the 1970s … and then came the Commodore – but that’s another story.   

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