Holdens - Australia's own car. Sort of.

"The first Holden Car 48-215 rolled off the line on the 29th of November 1948. The release of Australia's first car was made by the then Prime Minister JB Chifley. The car was a perfect success and the production created many jobs for Australian people."

While it was called Australian, it was of course completely designed in America by General motors, under license, but hey -- still a damn fine car.
It was Barry Humphries who quipped 'Isn't that a nice thing to do, let us call it, 'Australia's own car, they didn't have to do that'

Left: Ben Chifley. Great Prime minister, lovable bloke and rapscallion of the highest order, watches the first Holden roll off the production line. He then went and painted flames down the side and hung some fluffy-dice from the rear view mirror.
[See our recommended reading section].

Skinny Tim's advice on Holdens:

If you’re going to get a EK Holden, don’t paint it pink… not even Elvis black with a Pink side stripe… you may be hep, but you’re not that hep.


As we all know, you can't mention Holdens, without mentioning Fords. Ford have come up with his countries greatest cars ever, as did Holden, so why the perennial argument? A Hep car is a Hep car, it's like arguing who was Hepper, Elvis or Johnny Cash?

Ford not only made good cars, but big, good cars. The sort of cars that are taller than you, and weighed more than HMAS Melbourne, Like the V8 Customline, Skinny Tim's car of choice.

Skinny Tim's advice on Fords:

Yes. Simply Yes.


These days, if you look through Classic Cars, and The Trading Post, you’ll start noticing that the Chevrolet pops its head up with alarming regularity.

Chevy's were everywhere in the 1950s, and 60s and only really died out during the70s.

Skinny Tim's advice on Chevrolets:

The Man is correct. Chevs are great looking cars, but unless you’re driving them really fast out of a petrol station in Balmain, and the car is loaded with mates, and the car suddenly gets affected by “G-Force” and is thrown around on itself and back through the servo up onto a retaining wall…(long story)… then Chevs are most commonly seen with “lost in the 50’s” stickers driven by a guy and girl in matching shirt & skirt combos


Classic Cars, and The Trading Post, rarely, if ever, has a Pontiac for sale, but they are around.

Skinny Tim's advice on Pontiacs:

Skinny Tim's advice on Pontiacs: Mid 60’s suicide doors are great when a car has got this much muscle. If you’re Hep – hold on! A mate of mine called them “mother-in-law doors”… he was Hep, mom wasn’t.

"If that car's face is not the face of a barracuda about to strike then it's a yodelling robot." - Stan.


Finding a Studebaker in this country is harder than finding a twenty-year-old with a lack-of confidence.

And finding one of these riggs is impossible. I'll let the sender of the Pic, Stan Jarid, explain.

"1955 Studebaker Commander. This is the only one in Australia. There is only one other in America. Only about 400 were made. Catered for the travelling salesman market, big load space in back seat and no need to lock a back door. This one was canary yellow but the US military guy who brought it over here suffered too many gay jokes so he repainted it maroon. The fella in the picture has owned it for yonks and saved it from a gang of savage hot-rodders who were going to chop it down until God sent them broke and delivered this maroon baby into her daddy's arms. He struck me as the kind of guy who deserves a beauty like this."

Skinny Tim's advice on Studebakers:



One of the great errors of miss-judgement in the history of the Australian car industry was the effort of the British firm, Leyland.

The straw that broke the camels-back was of course the Leyland P-76, but even that was at the tail end of a series of disasters.

I think it might be true to say that it might be the last we'll ever hear of a British car industry in Australia (or Britain).

Skinny Tim's advice on Leyland’s:

Don’t know too much abut this… but the Pom’s brought us the Beatles… ‘nough said on the matter.



Hillmans? I'll walk you through it. Hillman were Australian Built, British owned (I think). Then they were overtaken by Valiant, who were in turn overtaken by Mitsubishi and the rot set in.

The most famous Hillman was the "Hunter". My sister had a Hunter and it was brilliant. It had a top speed of sixty kilomtres an hour (and a top speed of seventy in reverse) and you could start it with any key you wanted.

Skinny Tim's advice on Hunters:

Be the Hunter – not the Hunted.


The champion car of the seventies was the Valiant. My flatmate used to have a 1974 Valiant Stationwagon, and let me tell you it was the best. He once pulled all the luggage doors off a Greyhound Pioneer bus, whlie only putting a superficial scratch on the side of his Val.

We once put fourteen people in it and drove to the Loaded Dog Pub in Tarago in it. of course we tore the diff out of it, but hey.

Don't forget the Valient Charger whose US counterpart the Dodge Charger was the car of choice for the Dukes of Hazzard.

Skinny Tim's advice on Valiants:

series Val is a nice looking car… not un-Hep.

Or failing that, why not lay some dollars down for one of these. Nothing says "Hep" like an EK couch, and maybe you pick uu a matching bed made out of the bonnet (hood).


The best things about driving a 1950s car are the following:

1. There are no computers or silly electronic devices on board, that tell you your car is stuffed, when it isn't.

2. If you hit anything soft (like a Hyundai) you'll come up trumps. 3. Anyone over the age of fifty used to own one, and therefore can fix them.

4. You will never get a speeding ticket.

5. AM radio occasionally plays some hep music, like Hank Williams and Elvis.

6. You get to travel in style!

Skinny Tim is the bloke to talk to about 50s cars, so he's busy writing the complete guide to Hep Australian cars, which should be here soon, stay tuned.
As we said at the offset, cars were so Hep in the 1950s, they didn't even have air-conditioning.

Before Hyundai came along and single-handedly fucked up the Australian car industry forever, we had some great cars, all of which should still be on the roads today. Australians are obsessed with cars, but only tacky ones by the look of it these days.

Lets face it, you can pick a bloody good 1950s or 60s car for next-to-nothing these days, as everyone else seems far too concerned with driving a piece of red plastic down the road. This has always been a sure-fire way to show people that you have the grip on Australian Style, and a good 50s Holden or Ford should set you back anywhere between $750 and $10,000 bucks. Unless you want it to work, in which case you might have to fork out a bit more.