Thursday, June 9th, 2011
Australia’s most historically significant car and the oldest Holden in private ownership has come onto the market for the first time in 30 years. Its sale is expected to set a new price benchmark for an Australian-made vehicle.

Holden KJ-400 is no ordinary Holden. It was a hand-shaped prototype of the car which would later be called the 48-215 and then became more commonly known as the FX Holden.

The handmade prototype marked the beginning of large-scale car manufacturing in Australia.

Three prototype Holdens were made in the USA, but this is Prototype Number Four and one of only two which were made in Australia. The other Australian-made prototype no longer exists, making this the oldest Aussie Holden.

This prototype car was completed in August 1947, and it was not until October 1948 that a Holden came off the production line. It pre-dates by almost a year the Holden now known as “Old Number One” which was the first production Holden and is still owned by the company. Whilst Prototype Number Four is the oldest Australian made Holden, it is also the second oldest Holden in existence. One of the three US made prototypes still exists and is now in the National Museum of Australia. Out of the five prototypes, only these two cars have survived.

It was purchased by foremost Australian car collector Peter Briggs for exhibition in his York Motor Museum in 1980 and it has been on museum display ever since either in York or at the Fremantle Motor Museum. When the Fremantle museum closed several years ago it was returned to York.

Mr Briggs has decided to place the historic car on the market.

“I’ve been asked to estimate what I think it is worth, and I think it must be valued at $2 million,” he said.

“The previous record price for an Australian made car is $920,000 for the Monaro HR427 and the owner of the 46th Holden made said he knocked back a $900,000 offer for his car.

“This car is older and immeasurably more important than either of these cars. It formed the foundation of the Australian automotive industry we know today.”

“Based on these prices, my Holden Prototype will be the first Australian car to crack a million dollars.”

The car has been offered for private sale and Mr Briggs expects the car to be purchased by a private collector, rather than a Government museum.

“Out of the three ‘first’ Holdens, this is the only one in private hands and therefore the only one which will ever be available for purchase.”

“This car is part of our national heritage but Government operated museum do not have the financial resources to establish significant transportation collections,” he said.

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Peter Briggs Family Collection at the York Motor Museum in WA

The York Motor Museum is Australia's oldest private motor museum and the second oldest motor museum in Australia. It houses the Peter Briggs Family Collection of motor cars and motorcycles.
It is situated in a heritage-listed building in the town of York in the Avon Valley of the Darling Scarp near Perth in Western Australia.
Peter Briggs
P: 0412105374

Motoring Past

Motoring Past is a Perth, Western Austalia based publisher of high-quality motoring books.

Graeme Cocks
P: 0438980859


First Ever Holden Australia Manufacturing Motor Car Automobile For Sale



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