EH Holden

A Brief History of the EH Holden

[The New EH Holden]

This page is dedicated to the history of the EH Holden. I have included a number of specifications, some brief history and some original advertising literature from the time the cars were released.

General Motors Holdens used a two letter prefix to identify the individual models which produced. Actually, they still do. The 'EH' was produced between 1963 and 1965, and was Holden Motor Company's greatest seller at the time.

The EH was produced in four distinct body styles. These were the sedan, station wagon, panel van and utility.

The utility is a two door vehicle, with a sedan like passenger compartment, and a carrying tray behind. Actually, we Aussies invented the utility back in 1933, when a farmer of the day approached the Ford Motor Company with an idea for a vehicle which could carry around his tools and stock feed, and still be able to take his wife to church on Sundays! Hence, the Ford Coupe Utility was born. The difference between the 'utility' and the American 'pick-up' is that the utility is a one piece body, whereas the 'pick-up' has a separate cab and tray. Anyway, enough about Fords!

Engines -

The EH was offered with an all new engine based around the Chevy Blue Flame six. It was available in three variations.

These were:

Check out the brochure on the new Holden Red Motors, available by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page!

These may not seem like huge performance figures, but to the public brought up on mainly English sourced vehicles, they were great! In fact, when originally introduced, the 179 was only available with the Hydramatic transmission, as it was seen to be too powerful for the general populous to control! This decision was later reviewed due to public demand for the 179 with a manual transmission.

The engines themselves were of oversquare design and had a seven bearing crankshaft. They also were the first Holden to use hydraulic valve lifters, and external oil pump and oil filter for easier servicing. These motors became known as "Red" motors due to the fact that the were, obviously, red.

The basic design of this motor was used up until 1985, where it had developed into a 3.3 litre with fuel injection, 12 port head, counterbalanced crank and other goodies. They are regarded as some of the most reliable engines ever produced, and some do amazing mileage before needing rebuilds.

Of the four body styles available, the two passenger models were offered in three levels of refinement;

Standard - The basic car, with no additional trimming or fittings. The body of this model was painted in a single colour. These were sometimes purchased as Taxis or rental vehicles.

Special - The most popular model, with stainless steel trims along the side, chrome Special badges, two tone vinyl interiors, as well as a better choice of exterior colours with a white roof.

Premier - This was the luxury model, with innovations such as full leather interiors featuring bucket seats and a console with controls for the two speed fan heater. The Premier also featured metallic paint, a push button AM radio and arm rests on all four doors (sedan). A number of factory options were fitted at standard equipment, such as hand brake warning light, glove box light and luggage compartment light (sedan). The steering wheel, gear selector, heater switch and turn indictor switches, usually grey, were all colour coded white for an up-market appearance. The Premier came standard with the larger 179 Cubic Inch motor, and Hydramatic auto transmission. See the pictures below for more information.

Utility - The EH was also offered as two commercial vehicles. The first of these is the Utility. The commercial vehicles were only offered in one level of trim, but options were able to be purchased from Holden dealers. The carrying capacity of both the Utility and Panel Van was half a ton. The utility was offered with the standard 149 cubic inch motor, or with the 179 as an option. In fact, due to its lighter weight than the passenger variants, the EH Ute with the 179 motor and standard 3 speed manual transmission was our first genuine Aussie produced 100 MPH vehicle! The Utility was also available with the Hydramatic transmission, but this was not a popular option when new. Due to the larger transmission tunnel in the floor to suit the automatic transmission, utilities with this option are now highly sought by EH enthusiasts, as it is not uncommon for EH owners to fit Holden and Chevy V8's. The larger tunnel allows Trimatic (Aussie) autos, as well as Powergilde and Turbo Hydro 350's to fit without modification. Also, a number of larger V8 sourced manual transmissions, as well as Japanese 4 and 5 speeds, will fit the automatic floor tunnel with no clearance problems.

Panel Van - The second commercial bodied EH offered was the Panel Van. You may know this style as the Sedan Delivery. The Panel Van had a higher roof line than the utility or passenger vehicles, which made it popular for carrying high loads. As with the utility, automatic versions were available, but are very rare to find now. Also, finding a "Windowless" bodied panel van, that is one which has the side panels intact, is particularly difficult. The Panel Van was also offered with the 149 cubic inch motor as standard, with an option of a 179. As you would imagine, these vehicles were used by tradesmen for most of their life, so finding one in good condition takes a fair amount of searching.

Additional information - Copies of the EH commercial and passenger sales brochures are below. Click on the links to view them.

[Go to EH Passenger sales brochure]
Go to EH Passenger sales brochure
[Go to EH Commercial sales brochure]
Go to EH Commercial sales brochure

To get to the EH Holden advertisements and Nasco Accessory guide, click on the links below.

[Go to EH advertisements]
Go to EH advertisements
[Go to Nasco Accessories]
Go to Nasco Accessories

To get to the EH Holden magazine tests, click on the links below.

[Go to EH Magazine test]
Go to EH Magazine test
[Go to EH Magazine test]
Go to EH Magazine test
[Go to EH Magazine test]
Go to EH Magazine test

Below are some additional brochures available at the time of the EH model release. Not all of these were available to the public. The first two cover the new red motor, and the Hydramatic auto transmission.

[Go to the New Holden Red Motor Brochure]
Go to the New Holden Red Motor Brochure
[Go to the Hydramatic Transmission Brochure]
Go to the Hydramatic Transmission Brochure

A big sales push called 'Operation 64 and a half' was put in place to further assist sales. Salesmen's kits were produced with lots of additional info about the model, and incentives aimed at increasing sales.

[Go to the Holden Power Steer Salesman's Brochure]
Go to the Holden Power Steer Salesman's Brochure
[Go to the GMH Proving Ground Brochure]
Go to the GMH Proving Ground Brochure

Mike Long, MSLDesign, PO Box 4123, Croydon Hills, 3136, Australia.
Copyright 1997-2008, MSLDesign.