The 1952 FJ Holden with (left) Noel St.John Wood, Noosa Beach Classic Car Club, and Wayne Hoens, Bendigo Bank Tewantin.
The 1952 FJ Holden with (left) Noel St.John Wood, Noosa Beach Classic Car Club, and Wayne Hoens, Bendigo Bank Tewantin. Iain Curry

Madill's 1952 Holden FJ to star at Noosa Classic Car Show

NOOSA Beach Classic Car Show always presents a superb range of cars from across the decades.

But this year's show, held on October 1 at Lions Park in Noosa Heads, will feature what has to be one of Australia's most original classic Holdens.

This 1952 Holden FJ is one hell of a survivor. After some 65 years of continuous registration it is still in its original form, never having been restored. It means this FJ shows the scars of time across its body and interior.

The paint has some crazing, the red leather inside is worn and faded and the metalwork in the engine bay is rusted, but it's all authentic. Unlike an ageing Hollywood film star there's no fake plastic involved here: this Holden wears its life experiences with pride.

The car has been owned by Garth Madill, chairman of Madill Motor Group for 47 years.

"I traded this car back in 1970 on an HG Premier in Gympie," Mr Madill said.

"Its first owner, a Gympie engineer called Harold Dunstan, bought it new back in 1952.

"So despite its age, I'm only the second owner."

Holden's FJ was only the second true Australian built Holden model, following the FX (or 48-215) sedan produced from 1948. Garth's FJ is one of the very first, and keen Holden enthusiasts will note this car's rarity as it still came with the FX grille.

"This car is from the start of the FJs, and there were very few built like this," Mr Madill said.

The engine is a 2.2-litre Holden Grey six-cylinder good for 48kW, while there are "three on the tree" with a column shift manual gear change.

"The car's completely original right through, even the paint," Mr Madill said. "Except I think we had to paint the bonnet once after we had it on display up in Gympie and someone threw paint thinners on it."

Some lovely touches include the original 1952 number plate on the FJ's rounded rump; an ancient and peeling "Supplied by Madill Gympie" rear screen sticker, and even a faint chalk mark under the bonnet where it says "black". "There were no computers back then of course, so the cars were painted whatever colour was written in chalk," Mr Madill explained.

The FJ's odometer shows 65,000 miles, which isn't many for a car of this age.

The 2017 Noosa Car Show has Holden as its Marque of the Year, timed to celebrate the brand as it winds up Australian production to become a full importer of vehicles.

"It's great to have cars there like the FJ to show the legendary models that Australia has produced over the decades," Mr Madill said.

The show will feature Garth's incredibly original FJ as well as an abundance of other Holdens and, as ever, an eclectic mix of other classic cars from a host of marques. Some 300 different show cars are expected to be on display this year, with the dollar value of the cars running into the tens of millions.


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