This FB Holden has been loved more than a beer on the weekend
The FB was released in January of 1960 and marketed as ‘Australia’s Own Car’. At the time, Holden had just produced its 750,000th car and was topping 12,000 sales per month! Times were good.
Chriselle’s journey towards Holden FB ownership started with an EK Holden owned by her father, Michael John Jeffries. Although he owned the car before she was born, she grew up with photos and stories of the EK from her father. She soon decided that she would like to own an early Holden.
Chriselle says, “my husband tried to convince me to buy a Valiant as he is a Chrysler enthusiast, he has a couple of his own but I knew what I wanted.” She began her search on the internet but also joined a Holden forum in the hope of trying to track a great example down.
This was a wise move as the owners of great cars are typically car club members. And when it comes time to sell, they often like to do business with people in their own car clubs or someone that has been 'approved' by other car club members.
Not long after her search she was told about an FB Special that was at an All Holden Day Show which was possibly up for sale. The owner was a little shy, but after Chriselle contacted him he decided to give up the keys. Chriselle says when it was time to take the car home, “I had never driven a column shift manual car before, but the seller was kind enough to give me a quick driving lesson.”
Once home, Chriselle was pleasantly surprised to find that the car came with a boot full of NASCO accessories and spare parts, including a venetian blind, sunvisor, scratch plates, spats, headlight grills, and other assorted spares.
Chriselle changed the tyres, as the old cross plys were 'getting on' a bit. “Driving on ply tyres felt really strange, it was like driving on a railway track!” She replaced them with white walls steel radials in keeping with the car’s vintage.
In the glove box Chriselle discovered an old NSW car club book with a contact number. Her husband, John, contacted the club and was able to track down the second owner, John Gill, who was a member of the club. She learnt that John purchased it from the original owner’s granddaughter in 1995 as part of a deceased estate. John was able to fill in the story of this Survivor’s early years regarding the original owner, Mr Frank Coop, who purchased the car brand new in 1960.
The original spare tyre is still in the boot and the old 138cid grey motor is untouched and runs sweet. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia)
Frank owned and ran a bus service between Kyogle and Lismore, NSW. Thus, the FB didn’t clock up many miles. By the time Frank’s granddaughter sold the car, it had travelled a mere 54,000 miles. Chriselle was told that Frank was very careful with his FB; maintaining and servicing it religiously.
Frank allowed his daughter, Dulcie, to drive the car to work in Lismore where she worked in a dental practice. Later, when Dulcie moved out and got married, Frank would often drive it to visit her and his grandchildren. The longest trip taken in the FB was by Dulcie and her husband who drove to Noosa for their honeymoon. When Frank passed away Dulcie stored the car in their garage and covered it with blankets.
In 1995, family friend, John Gill, was visiting Dulcie and her family and noticed a car in the garage covered in blankets and asked “what’s under the blankets?” Dulcie explained that it was her late father’s car and was for sale. She was sad that she had to part with the car but knows her parents would be happy knowing it’s still being enjoyed and driven.
John serviced the FB, replaced wheel cylinder rubbers, repainted the rims in white two-pack paint and got the car back on the road. He loved to take the car out on Sunday drives and belonged to a car club where he drove the FB in club events. In 2000, John sold the car to Mitch from Mawson Lakes, South Australia who drove it back from NSW. A number of NASCO accessories and spare parts were accumulated by Mitch, but he never fitted any of them and decided to sell the car to Chriselle in 2010 to fund the purchase of a motorcycle. By now, the FB had travelled 72,800 miles.
Chriselle fitted the NASCO accessories that came with the car – wheel spats, scratch plates, rear venetian blind, headlight grill protectors, and replaced the cross ply tyres. When Chriselle bought her FB, her father was in a nursing home. Chriselle says, “I decided to surprise him and pick him up from the nursing home in the FB and take him out for a cruise. He was so surprised when he saw the car he couldn’t wipe the smile from his face. My father began to reminisce about his EK and that he still remembered what his number plates were.”
Chriselle’s father has since passed away and in memory of him she decided to see if the same registration sequence was still available and to her surprise it was. Her FB now wore the same registration plate as her dad’s old EK (RKG 216) for some time before being put onto historical plates. Chriselle says the day out with her FB and father are a great memory to have and she will always cherish that special day.
The interior is as it left the factory and in excellent condition. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia)
The FB Special is certainly a great example of an early Holden Survivor. It now has just 72,800 original miles on the odometer. Chriselle thought that the car might have been re-sprayed at some stage as it was in such pristine condition however the second owner, John Gill, was able to confirm the paint was all original. The original spare tyre is still in the boot and the old 138cid grey motor is untouched and runs sweet. The interior is as it left the factory and in excellent condition. Probably the most impressive item of this car is the paintwork. It’s all original apart from a minor touch up to right hand side near the front mud guard.
Chriselle takes the car on club cruises and occasional weekend short trips. Recently, Chriselle contacted Dulcie to chat about the past history of the car. When Dulcie told Chriselle that her and her husband travel around Australia a fair bit Chrieselle invited them to pop in for a cuppa and maybe go for a cruise. Dulcie said she’d love to do that and will also make an offer on the car!
Chriselle doubts she’ll part with her FB Special Survivor as it now holds a great memory of her father’s last cruise in an old Holden. It is indeed, Special.
Source: Survivor Car Australia
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