That day I discovered an EH Holden wagon in the bush
It is not the destination that's important, but the cars you see along the way.
It was late in the day and as I stumbled along the back roads of the forest looking for a spot to camp the night, I happened upon a secluded and overgrown track that led to a large clearing flanked on all sides by wild blackberry bushes. It was here in this clearing, that cannot be found except by those who know where it is, slowly being overtaken by blackberries, I found this; the rusting remains of an EH Holden wagon.
The hidden gem
Riddled with bullet holes from bogan shooters looking for target practice and slowly being swallowed up by the encroaching blackberry bushes, the two-tone finish was still clearly visible. Though the duco needs a good cut & polish to restore that deep lustre shine that no doubt still lies under decades of oxidation. Though the rust is attacking the body work, not the harsh climate nor even the advancing army of blackberries can take the shine off the chrome work.
That chrome is almost as good as new. Almost.
The ultra comfortable plush vinyl bench seats and upholstery have given way to the elements, with only the rusted steel seat frames visible now. Being out in the bush and half taken over by blackberries, this shell of a car was no doubt riddled with those long wriggly things with sharp envenomating teeth who now call the EH home. So if you climbed in and thought you found a seat belt, you probably hadn’t.
Don't be fooled, that is no seat belt. It will latch on to you, but not in a good way.
The EH Holden was once the pride of the Holden fleet, in fact, it was often viewed as one of Holden’s better Australian production models. It was practical, reliable and had styling that is tasteful even by today’s standards. But the last one rolled off the assembly line some 54 years ago, so it was a bit of a surprise to see one parked all the way out here.
For long term parking, it is good to find a shady spot.
Holden produced the Australian made EH from 1963 through to 1965 in 3 specification levels. There was the Standard model, which was pretty basic with no side badging, rubber floor mats and acrylic paint (all one colour). The Standard was typically fitted with the 149 ci (2.4L) engine and sold new for AU$2,102. Next up the line was the Special, which boasted stainless moulding strips all around, Special badges and optional 2-tone acrylic paint finish. Then there was the top-of-the-line Premier which was loaded with features, such as: the larger 179 ci (2,9L) engine and hydra-matic transmission, leather interior, bucket seats, fold down centre armrest in the back seat, carpets, metallic paint, centre console incorporating a heater/demister, diamond dot radio, chrome plated wheel trims and, get this, a handbrake warning light.
Blue tooth was not even an option! Nor were cupholders. They’d probably have sold more, if only it had cupholders. And since seat belts didn’t appear in cars on the Australian market until the 70s – and initially only in the front, your passengers could sail right across the full width of the vinyl covered bench seats on corners. Therefore you couldn’t even get your passenger to hold your cup for you; they were too busy hanging on.
Chrome trims, two-tone paint and bench seats; this one was probably the Special.
The EH was powered by an asthmatic 2.4L or 2.9L in-line 6 cylinder engine coupled with either a 3 speed manual or 3 speed Hydra-Matic auto transmission, so it is probably fair to say that this 1,118kg (2,464lb) car probably never moved a great deal faster than it does now. It is also important to note that “3 speed hydra-matic transmission” is 1960s marketing speak for 3 degrees of disappointment. There was nothing “Hy” or “dra-Matic” about its performance, I can assure you. But it was a convenient alternative to the only other option, being the 3 speed manual.
Not all EHs are dumped in paddocks. Some, like this one, have been lovingly restored
General Motors Holden produced a total of 256,959 cars in the EH model line up. So, with this one in the bush, the one spotted in a carpark near the office and the 24 currently listed on carsales, there are only 256,933 more to locate.