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My Holden EJ Premier

The EJ has always been overshadowed by its face-lifted sibling, the EH. Yet in its short 13 month model life the EJ sold almost 155,000 units and if you combine that with sales of the EH, the total tops a staggering 400,000 cars in just 2.5 years.

When released in 1962 the EJ was right up to date with GM's international design trends. Its clean and contemporary styling propelled GMH out of its FB/EK 1950s time warp into the middle of the swinging sixties.

As well as its great looks, the EJ range introduced the `Premier' model which featured leather-covered bucket seats, a heater, wool pile carpet, whitewall tyres, a floor console, liberal use of additional brightwork and "Premier" logos inside and outside.

It was the first Holden with metallic paint and automatic transmission as standard. On the downside the EJ carried over the EK's drive train which dated back to 1948. The EJ production run also included the one millionth Holden, a gold Premier.

Melbourne-based Peter Barbadonis owns this immaculate EJ Premier. "My father had an FC, an EJ and a HD and I always wanted to have one of them, and when this EJ came up for sale I decided it was the time to get one."

That was four years ago, and in those years Peter has had it restored to show room condition. "The car was originally delivered in Portland in Victoria and I bought it off a 20 year old guy who was either the second or third owner.

"I drove it as is for a while then decide to have it taken back to bare metal and any rust repaired." Peter explains After the outside was finished Peter started on the interior. He found an original set of the red leather materials and vinyls for the seats, centre consol, armrests and rear parcel shelf.

The 'grey' 138 cubic inch engine was taken to original specification. The GM Hydramatic three speed automatic transmission was also given the once over.

Peter's car contains many factory NASCO accessories including rear venetians, scratch plates, steering lock, exterior sun visor, twin heaters, mud flaps, weather shield, wheel trims, and chrome front mud guard wind `strakes'. There is also a rare "picnic" radio. This is a car radio which can be taken out of its dashboard cradle and used at, well, a picnic.

The car is painted in its original Theatre Grey metallic body colour and the roof is Atherton Ivory. The interior is a striking two tone red combination of Astoria and Waldorf Red.

"I like to drive it about once or twice a month," Peter says. Then he adds: "It has never seen rain or a supermarket parking lot since I've owned it."

Peter does not see himself as the owner of an EJ Premier." I'm merely its custodian for a period of time. Cars like this are now beyond individual ownership. They are pieces of living Australian history and need to be preserved," he observes.