Holdens Dest

Above: EJ Holden on the production line in 1963.

By the early 1960s, a lot of Aussies had gone from just 'wanting a car' to 'wanting a better car'. The emerging affluence of the middle class meant that there was now a market for something more than the standard offerings from GMH, Ford and others. Ford's response was the Falcon Futura. The Special had been part of Holden's lineup since the FJ, but it was hardly considered an upmarket model, so when GMH introduced the EJ range in July 1962, they also debuted the Premier.

Back then, the release of any new Holden brought with it a flurry of interest, and the "Super De-luxe" Premier (as one writer of the period described it) was greeted with even greater enthusiasm and generally agreed to be Holden's best yet.

The EJ brought an all-new body style, which was as much a response to the lower, wider, sleeker Falcon and Chrysler's eye-catching

Valiant as anything else. Although it was only an inch wider and barely two inches lower than the EK, the styling made it look much wider and lower. A large front windscreen and wraparound rear screen meant the EJ offered better vision than the previous EK model, too, and did it in a much more modern-looking package. There was also more interior space and improved front suspension.

The same 'grey' six cylinder motor that had powered the first Holdens remained, and would make its farewell appearance with the EJ. The Hydramatic auto transmission was available as a £95 option across all EJ Special and Standard sedans and wagons, but was fitted as standard to the Premier. The Hydramatic had only been introduced with the previous EK model, so it was still something of a novelty in a Holden car and fitting it as standard to the Premier was a further statement about its status and exclusivity.

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Rear Brakes.-

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FOR SALE:

1963 HOLDEN EJ PREMIER. 138 grey, Hydramatic, very original, restored in 80s, runs and drives, minor rust in usual places, all Premier options, hard to find one this complete. Ph: James 0428 795 605, NSW

$9,990 ono

Other standard features included leather-trimmed bucket front seats, carpeting front and rear, electric wiper/washers, heater/ demister, glovebox and luggage compartment lights, padded 'De-Luxe' instrument panel, white steering wheel and matching white switchgear, an additional ashtray, handbrake warning light, reversing lights, dual horns, metallic paint, narrow-band whitewall tyres, chrome wheel trims, special 'Premier' badging on the front guards and a bonnet-mounted chrome 'spear'.

When new, the EJ Premier cost over £200 more than a Special and £300 more than a Standard, so it was 'premier' in price as well as name! Brochures of the period described the Premier as a "rewarding new standard in motoring luxury" and pictured it alongside ladies in ball gowns and men in tuxedos, making it clear exactly who the new model was being pitched at. However, auto trans aside, most of the Premier's features were decor items only - but they did enough to distinguish it as a step above Holden's regular offerings and went some way to justifying the price hike. Most of the mechanical componentry was the same as the Standard and Special, but customers and road testers of the period (and probably mechanics, too) didn't seem to mind, ensuring its success and survival into the EH model and beyond, although the factory leather upholstery was replaced by 'Morrokide' vinyl with the HD.

Today, the EJ is something of an 'ugly duckling' amongst the 1960s Holden offerings, with the EH appearing to be more popular, especially with custom builders. Despite this, and maybe because of it, the EJ Premier presents today as a well-appointed and generally very affordable classic Holden.

SPECIFICATIONS: 1963 HOLDEN PREMIER EJ

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Fuel system: Cooling system: Transmission: Front Brakes:

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Wheelbase: Weight: 0-1 OOkph: Top Speed:

138ci (2.2610 inline six 3.062 x 3.125 inches, (77.8 x 79.4mm) 7.25:1

75bhp(56kW)@4200 rpm, 120 lb/ft (163Nm)@ 1400 rpm 2bbl carb Liquid

3 spd automatic Dual servo hydrauhc drums

Dual servo hydraulc drums

13" standard f/r. 6.40 x 13 four-4 ply 105 inches (2667mm) 2639 lb (1197kg) 21 sec (approx) 124 kph (approx)

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