1953 Holden FJ Special 3.2L 6 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand


The best ute of its time and today


Blew out blue smoke, but that was nothing 6 new pistons and all new valves couldn't fix.

General Comments:

This old FJ was the best ute of its time, however it doesn't handle that great, and it's not really that quick.

The engine was fully restored before I owned it, but was used to do burnouts at summernats. I bought it for $250 in 2004; I got it for so cheap because the engine was completely wrecked, and had only just went.

Since I've owned it, I have completely restored it to almost its original condition.

I'm a mechanic, and I've just bought a Proton Jumbuck to take its place while I'm rebuilding the engine.

The Jumbuck is an awesome little car also, and cheap to run.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd August, 2010

1953 Holden FJ Special Sedan 139 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Expect rust, leaks and oil drips and you won't be disappointed


For its age, not much.

Springs have broken in the seat.

Several tie-rod ends for the steering have worn or popped.

Steering box renewed.

2 clutches replaced.

Windscreen glass replaced (old style shattered after small rock chips).

Rust in sills (cut and replaced).

Fuel gauge always pretends to give reading (never right).

Electrics on the way out (old cotton wrapped wires are beginning to fray).

Interior door handles loose and doors sag slightly.

Starter button takes a fair press to contact.

Gearbox very average (likely to need replacing soon).

Moter underpowered, even with new rings.

Carby leaks.

Front window vents leak in heavy dew.

Windscreen wipers painfully slow, not good in traffic.

General Comments:

To own an FJ you really need to love it. Everything that mis-behaves or breaks down on the car is added to the 'character' list or forgiven for its age.

All in all the things that are wrong with it don't necessarily stop me from driving it. It just makes for difficult driving in an old car. You need to give everything an extra 3 seconds to happen.

If you get out of the 'J' and into a new car, it is like stepping off the Bounty and onto the bridge of the Star-ship Enterprise.

The car has a heap of personality. It never goes anywhere without a good look from drivers or pedestrians. It's no show car, but still gets the comments.

You get around at about 80 km/hr, but people forgive you for going too slow on the road because it's an FJ.

Mechanics take it in without question. A lot of the old boys cut their teeth on them as apprentices and they are simple as looking sideways. They always get the comment 'She runs well!'.. they should try driving it for a couple of hours.

The car handles like a dead cow. You slow before you get to corners.

The brakes do their job at 1950's speeds, but you can't work them too hard as they overheat quickly.

Upsized radiator is a must for hot weather driving (or have a big bottle of water on board).

Parts are generally available as Repro items, but are beginning to get into the enthusiasts price-range.

Apart from flat batteries, the J has never not started.

Don't buy one unless you know your early Holdens and the rust problems they have. Expect rust, leaks and oil drips, and you won't be disapinted.

You need to give them a bit of attention before each drive.

Don't expect to own one as a cheap daily driver, they do wear out!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2003

31st May 2008, 20:47

By the sounds of it, you should modify the car to make it more easy to drive, i.e. better suspension and / or put some go fast bits on the engine.

Also in the early 60's, the old FJ's were quite the performance car when done up for the young kids. Which is quite funny to think of now.