The romance and nostalgia of my beloved Holden EK wagon

Like many people, I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning lately to see what nostalgic items might have value and can be resold, as money gets tighter.

Along with old clothes, cameras, books, and bric-a-brac, a great treasure from the mid-20th century lurks in the garage and continues to attract insurmountable attention.

My beloved EK Holden teal.

He talks about the dreams of post-war Australia – a much simpler time of Sunday roasts, Hills Hoists, church parties and beach picnics. The sun, leisure and simple freedoms of old world Australia.

The EK has been well maintained, while hiding in the garage for the past 17 years. (ABC GippslandRachael Lucas)

Old World Australia on wheels

It was 2002 when I first slipped into the front seat of the beauty that was our teal 1961 EK Holden station wagon.

My family fell in love immediately and knew it was the perfect vehicle to star in a surf road movie we were doing.

I was 26 at the time and the EK car was the perfect muse for my ambitious project. I was shooting a film with my sister Naomi, my brother-in-law Anthony and our cast of four Japanese students on working holiday who had never acted before.

The comic book-worthy features of the 1961 EK Holden made it the perfect muse for a road movie. (ABC GippslandRachael Lucas )

The voluptuous curves, rocket tail fins and comic book-worthy beauty of the superstar vehicle turned heads at every trailer park and gas station we stopped at along Pacific Highway.

Gray-haired strangers remembered how their uncle owned an FB, before wondering if our EK was actually an FB.

“The old gray engines, you couldn’t kill them. They had an amazing engine,” they told us.

Shot in a music video style, our filming adventure has taken us as far north as the Big Pineapple in the QLD, and as far as the town of Cobar in the mid-west New Wales outback. from South.

So it was handy to have an engine that could withstand 40 degree heat and be easily examined by any passerby on a desert highway in the event of a breakdown. This has never been the case.

Despite traveling thousands of miles across Australia, the magic carriage has never broken down on its longest journey.(ABC GippslandRachael Lucas )

To the beat of a turtle, over an AM radio country music soundtrack, our magical four-wheeled movie star even managed to shine between takes for the small-town paparazzi.

Living the rock’n’roll dream

We originally purchased the wagon from a private seller of natural tapes for around $6,000. A custom roof rack was added for a sequence involving the Japanese character Yuto surfing past the big things.

Big Ms and Chiko Rolls: Nothing says old world Australia like an EK Holden parked outside a milk bar with slatted curtains. (ABC GippslandRachael Lucas )

These and other maintenance costs for parts, repairs, rust removal, registration and insurance over the past 20 years have added up to at least $30,000 in maintenance costs. maintenance to keep the EK in good condition.

Some things have been lost over the years to appease conservative market tastes: rooftop surfboards, plush magenta and zebra seat mats inspired by Priscilla Queen of the Desert, kitschy Australian postcards, memorabilia and the “call me, I’m easy” phone number once planted under the windshield wiper by an enthusiastic fan.

Rachael Lucas and Anthony Lucas-Smith with the car at Bondi Beach. (Provided)

But the memories, the bizarre, hilarious stories all come back every time we take the spinster for a spin.

The clank of the gray engine, the creak of the shift column and the smell of super all-lead rekindle feelings of risk, rebellion and living the rock n’ roll dream.

The car is loved by young and old.(ABC Gippsland: Provided)

Putting a price on nostalgia

Sleek and practical, Holdens were less ostentatious than American vehicles of the time, modestly designed for family church outings with modified suspension for rough Australian roads.

“Everyone remembers their experiences with a Holden, some good, some irreplaceable,” says Neil Joiner, chairman of the Trafalgar Holden Museum.

“They were very cheap to maintain, you could break down in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday night, go to the pharmacy and get a spare and off you go. They’ve been a wonderful workhorse for the Australia.”

The Australian Holden factory closed in 2017 and the brand has since imported cars from overseas.

Some of the cars in the museum in Gippsland, Victoria, are 70 years old and, according to Mr Joiner, they ‘still drive as well as they used to’.

But will future generations have the same nostalgia for the brand?

With no safety features, navigation software and a need for fuel lead supplements for older models, the longevity of the Holden love affair for future generations remains to be seen.

“They haven’t had the experiences we had with the expensive old machines,” says Joiner.

Neil Joiner, President of the Holden Museum in Trafalgar, with a 1948 Holden FX, the first Holden model to be produced in Australia.(ABC GippslandRachael Lucas )

I’m told the value of collectible racing vehicles such as the Monaro, GTR Torana and SS Commodore has skyrocketed.

So how much is my baby worth?

Joiner says $30,000 to $35,000 would be a reasonable starting point for an EK, and up to $60,000 or $70,000 “if it’s exceptionally good.”

Holden quickly became Australia’s most popular car, with demand outstripping supply soon after the first Australian-made vehicles were released in 1948. (ABC GippslandRachael Lucas )

“Collectors buy out of nostalgia and they also buy in a very limited market,” he says.

“There’s not a massive amount of vehicles out there, especially the collectible ‘hoon’ vehicles.”

As for my EK, it might not be a ‘hoon mobile’, and our movie memories might not be worth much to a new owner, but the feeling of growl, swagger, and rock’ n’roll of old world Australia will always be invaluable.

Rachael Lucas is a reporter for ABC in Gippsland, Victoria.

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