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Review of the Legends of 48-215

It’s not often I get a chance to review a book written by an author who lives in my local area but on the law of averages it had to happen sooner or later.So, I was pleasantly surprised to note that one of our own locals, Joel Wakely of Harrington has just published a book on a subject close to my heart “Legends of the 48-215”. Holden fans will know where we’re going here, as the title embraces the birth and early history of Australia’s own car, probably better known to most as the FX Holden, which morphed into the more widely known FJ. Most fans of motor racing will be aware it was almost a given, especially in the 1950’s, that the slogan “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday!” was never so relevant as it was in the infancy of  General Motors Holden locally made offering to the market ‘Down Under’. What was then known as Appendix J racing  provided the ideal platform for the General to jump into the deep end with  their new ‘Humphies’, as the FX  Holden was affectionately known to fans, to demonstrate true Aussie grit, warts and all, to a public, eager to get their families onto wheels in the immediate post war years. Joel’s book which comprises some 130 pages contains numerous historic photos in both black and white and colour interspersed through its 21 informative chapters. The author has included many photos and technical details I have not previously come across and come from his private collection. No surprise  really when you consider  Joel was the owner of an iconic FX of the era, the legendary Boomerang FX, which dominated Appendix J racing in the early 60’s in the hands of  crowd favourites, Spencer Martin and Barry Seton. Having grown up in the era and been a regular fan of what we generally called ‘tin top’ events, I regularily got to see the Boomerang FX #51J, dicing wheel to wheel with far more exotic machinery, and ending up on the podium. So no surprise really that I enjoyed reviewing Joel’s book immensely. But apart from my obviously delightful nostalgia trip, I really enjoyed the many technical features of the ‘racing FX/FJ’s’ that I had never been privy to previously. Suffice to say, just how the talented engineers and mechanics of the era, managed to develop such a basically ordinary 215 cu inch six pot motor into a giant killer, is nothing short of amazing!  

Brian Payne.
www.roadramblings.com
 

May 11, 2016
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