Now that I had the Holden running, I needed to find out if I could drive it to see what if anything was good or bad.
I’m a great one to always see the worst scenario that may occur. As I had the car at my brother’s workshop which has a reasonable amount land attached to it, I was able to have a bit of a drive around enough to be able to change gears from first to second.
Before this I lifted the Holden up on a hoist to check to fuel tank to see if it could be filled with petrol. After a full under car inspection, I could see this car was in reasonable condition rust wise as there was very little indication of any rust visible which is a big plus.
Getting back to the fuel tank, it looked in really good condition for its age, especially remembering this old girl hadn’t been driven and possibly not started since 1968 as the old rego sticker (those ones you had to fit to the front glass with water, which is still attached to the windscreen) showed. As I said the tank looked good from the outside, but was the inside like, no time like the present to find out I thought, with the 7\16 in spanner in hand I removed the drain plug, not really expecting any fluid to come out, but to my surprise a small amount of really thick dark red fuel that believe me smelt like the old super fuel and took me back to a time when petrol was petrol came out. After flushing out the tank and pressure testing, I was confident I
could put petrol in it.

Off the hoist and with around 20 litres in the tank turning her over and hearing the Holden six running under her own power was a great feeling until petrol started spraying out the fuel pump. No big surprise, hell something had to give, so before a little drive, refit a new gasket set though the pump refit to motor check fuel lines, no fuel filter on these cars, fingers crossed and away she started again, no petrol smell or spray from pump just a full glass bowl of petrol, great.

Now let’s see if she will drive. In goes the clutch ( now I must mention by this time the brakes had been overhauled, both brake and clutch cylinders replaced refilled with new fluid and bled) into first gear and lift off the left foot and bugger me dead there is that good or I should say bad old whining sound from the thrust bearing, never mind remove the gearbox another day I wanted to give her a go, off we went first into second that whine again and she keep going until I ran out off driveway, into reverse turn around and off again this time a little more gas back wheels spinning I was on smooth concrete remember, a few splutters from the carby kangaroo hops from the backend then into second again, it was a really good feeling this old Holden was still a runner, a good way to finish off the day.

The next day was a day to go right over the old girl to see what rust was hidden under floor mats, inside door frames and anywhere else these Holden’s rusted. After removing the rest of the interior and the door trims the rust that was found was two small holes no bigger than a 20- cent coin at the front were water was coming in past the front windscreen rubber and dropping down on to the floor under the interior mat, the rust hadn’t gone through the floor but was very close to as was indicated when I pushed a screwdriver through the rust build up. The other places were the front two doors and a small hole again the size of a 20 cent coin in the engine bay on one of the Y frame uprights on the firewall. The real bad rust on this Holden was very typical for these cars, the front mudguards behind the headlights, the big surprise was there wasn’t any bad or heavy rust around the back wheel arch, sill panels, around the two windscreens, back doors and in the boot.

As I said before the paint work was tired, really tired especially after giving the car a wash. The roof, bonnet and front valance panel were badly affected with surface rust that they had a brown tinge to them. But you what I wanted to keep this patina, knowing that these panels needed to be replaced or at worst repaired, I knew this was going to hard to do, but I really didn’t think it was going to be that hard, this was not to be as time will tell in chapters to come.

The fun begins in chapter 3. CHARLIE MIFSUD

Click HERE to go to Part 3 of the FE Restoration.

Article ID: RESTO002

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