The release of a new Ford or Holden is not what it used to be. Back in 1956 when Holden released the all-new FE model it was THE event of the year.
Some capital city newspapers devoted their entire front page to the car and people crowded outside dealers to get a first glimpse.
The FE sparkled next to its FJ predecessor.
The svelte contemporary styling gave it a longer and lower look.
The wide, heavily chromed grille, chromed side spears, two-tone exterior paint schemes and two-tone upholstery meant the FE looked more expensive than it was.
Buyers lined up and waiting lists developed.
Cars sold at full price.
Holden dealers smiled.
So too their bank managers.
Wayne Skuse is just the second owner of this immaculate FE Holden Special, and ironically, it is not two-tone.
The car was built at Holden’s Pagewood factory and purchased by its first owner in January 1957 from the showrooms of Fair Deal Holden in Parramatta, Sydney.
Wayne acquired the FE in July 2001
He explains, “When I brought the car it was owned by an elderly lady who lived in Parramatta. Due to her health she had to stop driving. She stipulated that the car must be sold someone who would keep the car original.”
The FE was registered and in driveable condition when Wayne bought it.
Since then he has had some body panels repaired and had the motor rebuilt.
The seats have been completely reupholstered to factory specifications.
The bumpers and other trim bits were re-chromed.
More recently he has had the car repainted to ensure a consistent finish all over.
Wayne’s FE is driven often and for considerable distances.
”I’ve driven it to Tasmania for the FE Nationals meeting and it ran perfectly. It easily kept up with freeway traffic and took us just a day to drive back from Melbourne to Sydney,” he said.
You might have seen Wayne’s car on TV.
It was used in the ABC series Paper Giants and in the 2006 series Agony Aunts with Clive Robertson.
For the detail minded, Wayne’s FE was the 10,376th car built at the Pagewood factory during the FE model run.
The exterior colour is Ascot Grey and the interior is Fall Red combined with Parchment Ivory inserts.
Wayne’s Holden is wonderful reminder of what motoring was all about, back in a time when taking a Sunday afternoon drive was a pleasure.
David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au