The EH series is rightly regarded as perhaps the most popular model ever in the Holden range. During just 18 months of manufacture between 1963 and 1965, 256,959 vehicles were sold, making it the fastest-selling Australian car ever. The EH had its origin in the EJ, but with one very important difference – a completely new engine, available in either 149 (2.45 litre) or 179 (2.95 litre) cubic inch capacities. More fuel-efficient, as well as being more powerful, the ‘red engine’ offered a massive 33 per cent more poke over the old ‘grey’ motor in 149 size, and a whopping 53 per cent more as a 179. The ‘red engine’ was claimed to be good for 130,000 miles (209,200 klms) before any major servicing.
A “Bathurst Special” was produced, the S4, of which only 120 were produced, along with six prototypes. The S4 offered another 5 bhp over the standard 179 115 horsepower but stuck with the three-speed manual transmission. The S4 featured a modified B.X.V. – 2 Stromberg carburettor, with a float chamber that incorporated a lower power jet chamber, a stronger clutch assembly, power-assisted brakes, a 12 gallon fuel tank and a 3.55 final drive ratio.
The S4 spearheaded The General’s (General Motors Holden) attack on the Armstrong 500 in 1963, the year the Great Race moved from Phillip Island to its new and permanent home, Mount Panorama. Six S4s entered in Class ‘C’, ranged against four Cortina GT’s, but in the end, second place, driven by Fred Morgan and Ralph Sach, was not quite good enough to beat Harry Firth and Bob Jane’s Cortina. Brian ‘Yogi’ Muir brought his S4 back the following Easter to take on the Cortina GT’s of Ian Geoghegan and Harry Firth and Bob Jane’s Jaguar. In the three lap race, Muir chased home the Jaguar, recording 129 mph down Conrod Straight. Norm Beechey also campaigned one of these impressive cars.
This car has been kindly loaned to the Museum by owner Greg Fountaine.