Car Restoration Projects
High performance Holden EH
The Holden EH was the eighth model produced since 1948 by General Motors-Holden in Australia from 1963 to 1965. This restored example has been fitted with some of the popular go-fast mods from that period.
The EH was released in August 1963, to replace the Holden EJ series. It was the first Holden to incorporate the new ‘Red’ engine, with a seven main bearing crankshaft and hydraulic lifters, instead of the four main bearing crankshaft used in the ‘Grey’, solid-lifter engine.
The larger capacity 100bhp, 149 cubic-inch-displacement (2440cc) engine was first sold only with a three-speed manual gearbox or the Hydramatic automatic transmission, both with a column shift.
The Controlled Coupling Hydramatic used in the EH was actually a four stage, although it effectively worked as a three-speed unit except under full throttle.
The 115bhp, 179 cubic-inch-displacement (2930cc) engine was initially only sold with the Hydramatic transmission.
The first EH with the 179cid engine and a manual gearbox was called the EH-S4. It was fitted with an upgraded manual gearbox, with stronger gears than those in the 149cid transmission and upgraded clutch. The three-speed manual, column-shift gearboxes had no synchromesh on first gear.
Wheels magazine November 1963 comparison of the then ‘big four’ – Holden, Valiant, Falcon and Austin.
A total of 256,959 EH Holdens was produced and sold from 1963 to 1965, when the EH was replaced by the Holden HD series.
This feature car belongs to Alan and Jane McLennan, who are proud owners of this restored and performance-enhanced 1964 EH.
Alan is a red-blooded Holden enthusiast who also owns a restored 1969 LC Torana, with a transplanted 202cid engine.
The EH has triple SU carburettors that were a very common performance enhancement back in the mid-to-late ’60s. It also hides a five-speed, manual Celica gearbox in its transmission tunnel.
The McLennans purchased the EH in Brisbane in 2016 and transported to Goulburn, where they lived at the time. They hired a one-way U-Haul trailer to tow it home behind their Nissan Navara.
The trip was reasonably uneventful, apart from a flat tyre on the trailer, which Alan had to change in the snow at Oberon. Nice!
As can be seen from the accompanying photos, the EH had been completely rebuilt, prior to the McLennans’ purchase. The floor was replaced and a substantial amount of body rust cut out and replaced with dogleg sections welded in.
A later model HR disc brake front end was installed.
The 179 engine was sent to Sydney for a specialist Holden engine rebuilder to overhaul. He fitted a mild ‘street’ camshaft, along with a legendary YellaTerra ported and polished cylinder head, with associated rocker kit.
When the engine arrived back in Brisbane the gearbox adaptor was fitted and the five-speed bolted up. On went three SU carburettors and exhaust extractors, and the resulting sound – like a tuning-fork – is music to Alan’s ears!
This photo was taken in Goulburn at the long-term dealer Geissler Motors, prior to the now-redundant Holden signage being removed.