Holden History FB

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By ReaperHR

The commercial versions of the FB
Produced January 1960 to April 1961.

With the popularity of Chevrolet late 50s styled cars with the australian public, General Motors Holden decided to continue with the basic form for their new FB series. They did however make some refinements, the weight of the car was slightly increased through a length increase of 140mm. With the increased weight came an increased capacity motor, the old 132ci was altered to become the 138ci motor, with the increased weight though this only returned the FB to the performance of the FC.

The FB entered the market only 2 weeks before Fords new XK series, Holden though was enjoying a 50%+ market share of car sales in Australia at the time. Being the first Holden with the new acrylic paint work (or Magic Mirror as it was referred to at the time) gave the FB an improved appearance over its predecessors.

Changes to the FB over its predecessors included:
Acrylic paint (Magic Mirror), increased engine capacity (138ci), american styled dash, upgraded brakes, fins part of the body not add-ons like the FC, increased body length (140mm) and weight, better interior layout increasing room, better ventilation through design changes, wrap around windscreen and rear pillar windows, a lower bonnet line, heavier front coils and wider rear leaf springs. Also added was the new "Warmaride" heater/demister and an optional wireless radio.

The newly manufactured FB Holdens
The american styled dash on the FB had an orange curved indicator arm instead of a needle pointer which was a popular addition at the time and with the wrap around windscreen also came improved visibility through an increase of almost 30% glass area. Complaints at the time though (and following into the EK) were that the windscreen was instrusive when trying to exit the car (the door opened at the front of the windscreen and not the following edge as the larger american cars could do at the time).

The FB included basic safety and handling upgrades (brakes/suspension) but gained little over its predecessor the FC due to increased body length and weight on top of the same wheel track. It was however an important model for Holden due to it being the first Holden to be made with a left hand drive variant for export.

The FB Holden was released in the now standard types of Standard and Special (the Business Sedan was removed from the lineup) and Commercial (Ute and Panel Van).

Standard - The Standard FB was the general model with no added extras or options, it was slightly cheaper than the Special.

Special - The Special was the most common type of FB, it included more chrome and stainless fittings, it included the upgraded electrical system and the new four brush starter motor.
An FB wagon

Figures of Interest
Price New Number Built Engines Transmissions Performance:

0 - 100 km/h


Standing 400m

$2214 174,747 138 3 speed column manual 20.8 seconds 21.8 seconds


Information for this page was gathered from the following sites:
Early Holdens
Unique Cars and Parts
Southgate Holden
Australian Holdens
Holden Main Site
and from the following books:
SPOTLIGHT ON HOLDEN 1948-1959 by Tony Davis
FX (48/215) to HR Workshop Manual by Gregorys