EK Holden (1961-62)
The EK Holden was released in May 1961 just over a year after its forerunner the FB. Both cosmetically and mechanically, the EK was basically the same car as the FB, however it featured a number of minor cosmetic changes, such as a slightly revised front grille, featuring eight vertical bars rather than six. As with the FB, the EK model was available in four different body styles – the sedan, station sedan, panel van and utility model.
As with its predecessor the FB, General Motors-Holden once again continued to use the FC Holden’s bodywork for the rear of both it’s commercial vehicles. This meant that both utes and panel vans would retain the rear light cluster from the FC, making them less distinguishable from behind than their sedan counterparts. This was much more plain than the flamboyant rear-light design of the big-finned EK sedan and station sedan.
As with the previous model, there was a choice of two trim variants, the standard and the special. The standard had only very basic trim and accessories, while the special had better interior fittings, and more accessories.
The EK special variant didn’t have the distinguishing coloured flash down the side of the car that the previous two models had. The stainless steel and chrome fittings which only came with the special variant made it recognisable from the standard. The two-tone combinations available for the special were a white roof and a choice of colours for the body. The standard, panel van and ute variants were available in a range of single-colour paint finishes only. Interiors were trimmed in heavy-duty vinyl in a variety of single colour and two-tone options to compliment the exterior finishes for both variants.
Additionally, there was an extensive catalogue of accessories for the EK Holden that were available from the GM-owned and designed Nasco parts. The Nasco catalogue sold styling and comfort items such as electric clocks, interior heaters, picnic shelves and a “beauty kit” containing fender, bonnet and hubcap ornaments.
GM-Holden’s ubiquitous 2.3L six-cylinder “grey” engine powered the EK model. The grey engine had been fitted to every Holden model since the line’s inception in 1948 without much alteration to the design. In the 13 years that it had been in production, the engine’s capacity and compression had been increased, which had improved torque and horsepower overall. By this point, the tough six-cylinder was well proven to be economical, adequate for its time and well suited to the diverse Australian conditions.
The EK model was the first Holden available with an automatic transmission. The standard variant was fitted with a three-speed manual gearbox, while the special had the option of GM’s newly designed and American-made 3-speed Roto-Hydra-Matic transmission. Developed for GM’s Cadillac and Oldsmobile ranges in the United States, this version of the Hydra-Matic transmission would continue to be in use by GM-H until 1965.
With the EK, GM-H also made the switch to electric windscreen wipers from the older and more inconsistent vacuum-powered wipers. Vacuum wipers are powered by the utilisation of the vacuum created inside a car’s engine which means their operating speed is directly linked to engine velocity and pressure. The switch to modern electric windscreen wipers was a necessity and ensured constant wiper speed and safety at all driving speeds.
Between May 1961 and July 1962, GM-H produced 150,214 units of the EK Holden before it was replaced with the EJ Holden.