Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
The FE was the first Holden designed in Port Melbourne, and even though it was inspired by American cars, it still looked Australian.
After eight years on the market, Holden changed the 48-215 and FJ models, which were based on pre-war chassis and engines. A few carmakers considered the Australian market as important, but GM made its step before anyone else and tried to keep its leading position in that segment. Moreover, Holden FE was built in New Zeeland as well to decrease the sale price on that market.
While Holden carried over some elements from the FJ series, the FE sported a completely new bodywork. American Chevrolets inspired its eyebrows above the round headlights. The metallic vertical and horizontal slats formed a grid-like grille above the chrome-plated bumper. From its sides, the pontoon-style body color with flush fenders and doors were modern-looking and soon attracted more customers.
The carmaker installed a split bench-seat at the front and a regular, three-seat bench in the rear. A simple, metallic dash panel stood flat in front of the passengers. There was a very simple instrument panel that shown only the speed, the fuel level, and the coolant temperature. Everything else was considered useless. A three-speed manual gear-lever was attached to the steering column.
Under the hood, Holden took the previously used engine. Its engineers worked on it and increased the power so the car could reach up to 130 kph (75 mph). The FE upgrades over the FJ model included a switch to 12 volts technology, increased compression ratio, and larger valves.