Premier business class back in the day

If you want to experience what luxury motoring was like in Australia in 1962, then take a ride in Henry Petersen’s EJ Holden Premier.

Back then the Premier was Holden’s top of the range offering.

They had developed the premium package in response to the growing affluence of middle class Australia and the competitive pressures applied by Ford with its up-market Futura.

To ensure they captured most of the market, Holden filled the Premier with enticing features, some of which were not even optional on lesser models.

Automatic transmission was standard. Inside, the car had wool pile carpet, an ivory white steering wheel and horn buttons and long padded arm rests on all doors.

It was the elegant centre console and leather bucket seats that galvanised everyone’s attention.

Looking like everything had been lifted directly from a luxury 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe, the chrome-trimmed console swept down from the middle of the dashboard.

It contained the heater/demister and fan switches and radiated early 60s opulence.

Indeed, anyone who sat in a Premier knew they had “arrived”.

Outside, the whitewall tyres, metallic paint and prominent Premier badges ensured other road users knew the car’s owner had a “bit of money”.

Henry’s Premier is painted in the very collectable Wimmera Green with an Atherton Ivory roof. The interior is Akron and Vagabond green.

“I bought it by chance in 2010,” he said.

“I was at an auction with my brother. He was after a 1963 Corvette, which he did not buy.

“Near the end of the auction the Premier came up to the block, and no one bid, so I waved my brother’s bidder’s paddle and got the car for a really good price.”

The EJ is no trailer queen.

“I really enjoy driving it all the time,” Henry said.

“The car has a little bit of wear and tear on it, and there is a small amount of rust in the bottom of the doors, but nothing to get too excited about.”

Henry has researched the car’s history and found it was built in August 1962 and was one of the first 400 Premiers to go down the production line.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au

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