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'Canadian blocks' and other early Holden myths


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#51 Welby

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 15:28

Can you point me in his direction?

Maybe he can add more...


I'll let him know Ray

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#52 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 19:37

I've made contact with Terry...

He's been a lot of help.

#53 Welby

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:10

That's great Ray.

Along the same lines, i'd like to post this on behalf of Norm Darwin, apologies on the lack of the pics, i'm still trying to work out how to post them :)

Grey Motor Myths
Two pics First shows the first Aussie Prototype parts ready for assembly, insert shows clearly the "CWC" and "GMH" casting marks. The second pic is a blow up of the image from "History of Holden Since 1917" that shows an engine in the "Inspection Area". Unfortunately there is no date on the image but from the neg number its pre production. The close up also shows the P/no of the casting with an "X' I believe means "Experimental" and the casting date code H196 = 19th Aug 1946.
The image shown in the thread of a 1948 engine has the same part no but no X but more importantly signs of the "CWC" being removed.

I believe a batch of blocks and cranks were produced by CWC untill Holden completed local tooling (Foundry Tooling) Holden had the capability to cast grey iron castings but the tooling was not finished in time for SOP. Holden had cast marine diesel engine blocks and had completed engines in boats before the end of the War.

FJ FE FC etc were simple a date designation for the introduction year where A=0, B=9, C=8, D=7, E=6, F=5, G=4, H=3, J=2 and K=1 there was no I, thus FJ translates to F = 5 J = 2 (FJ was delayed from 1952) Chevrolet letters had nothing to do with it.

I have seen nothing to support FX being related to the X-member, no one has come up with any official Holden documentation pre 1950 with FX on it. I still believe it was coined by the used car trade FX was shorter (and cheaper) than 48-215.

The latest book will always have the best info as new information surfaces as time progresses.

Just on the "bright idea of making old archive material available" that Ray Bell mentions I can clarify this by saying that when Ken Jacoby, Holdens photographer, retired c1989, he wanted the company archives to be taken care off. Mortlock Library were approched and agreed to take just Holden material. My wife and I were then contracted by Holden to catalogue the archive and remove anything not pertaining to Holden. It was then boxed and sent to SA.
Incidently this archive was looked after by a PR lady by the name of Noel Byrne. It was impossible to get anything out of them until she retired in 1978.

This has been posted with the support of Welby. With Ray Bells support I may cross post to OldHolden.com

PS When I was a lad running a Hottie FJ, the "Canadian Block" myth of being bored to 31/4 plus 40# was alive and well.

Norm Darwin








#54 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:18

e.mail me the pics and I'll post them for you...

No problem at all. And thanks for the input from Norm.

#55 GMACKIE

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:13

Here's an 'early Holden myth' to ponder......when the Holden first appeared, many people believed that if two people jumped up and down on the front and rear bumpers, the doors would fly open.

It was felt that because it had 'no chassis' [monocoque], it flexed too much. The rumour was probably started by worried competitors. :lol:

#56 johnny yuma

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 23:49

Here's an 'early Holden myth' to ponder......when the Holden first appeared, many people believed that if two people jumped up and down on the front and rear bumpers, the doors would fly open.

It was felt that because it had 'no chassis' [monocoque], it flexed too much. The rumour was probably started by worried competitors. :lol:

Don Loffler tackles several myths in the area of body strength,including a persistent one which
was that if you towed a caravan enough eventually the back doors wouldn't open.Disproved by
the many happy caravanners,but there is no busting a myth once people have committed to it.

#57 275 GTB-4

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 00:14

On the trivia side of things,Len Evans,the Oz wine buff,worked(for a short time) for GMH in Melbourne after emigrating from NZ and his job was welding front X-members for the FJ.,he didn't have any welding experience or qualifications,just applied for the job,was shown what to do and how many an hour he had to complete and that was how things were done at GMH in Melb. in the early 1950's.


In addition: Len, who I always thought would have made a great Neddy Seagoon, was born in the UK:

http://www.smh.com.a...6012469552.html

#58 Ian G

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:33

Yeah Mick,i think he used to tell people he was from Wales though.I only met him once,wine & cheese do to show a friends wife's pottery range.He seemed very friendly and down to earth which was completely different attitude to most wine buffs you meet. I was working for GMAC at the time and he made no attempt to hide the fact his first job in Oz was welding subframes.

Looking fwd to the CWC block photos,i've read lots of books on Holden over the years but haven't(AFAIK) seen a photo of the original block yet.

#59 275 GTB-4

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:11

Well done that man! :)

Len certainly was an asset to this country......hmmmm, snobbery spoken of in the same sentance as wine?? how unusual!

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#60 GMACKIE

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:34

My Dad's first car was a '51 Holden. It had a little whine in the gear-box.......did Len Evans have anything to do with that, I wonder? :blush:

#61 packapoo

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:00

My Dad's first car was a '51 Holden. It had a little whine in the gear-box.......did Len Evans have anything to do with that, I wonder? :blush:

Well he was born North of the English Channel, so could be. :rotfl:

#62 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:12

Can we get back somewhere near on topic now?

Photos of the CWC blocks are in both Don Loffler's (page 18) and Norm Darwin's (page 164) books. I think I posted this earlier,

#63 275 GTB-4

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:44

My Dad's first car was a '51 Holden. It had a little whine in the gear-box.......did Len Evans have anything to do with that, I wonder? :blush:


Nah....Len was on front subframes....not cross-members....but I do know we have some cross members :wave:

My Dad had a 56 Special Sedan two tone sedan...may he never find out how the son drove it :blush:

#64 GMACKIE

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 21:37

Somewhere near on topic.......a work-mate bought an FJ, just before the FE came out. It was a real 'bitza', having such things as a 'ute' tailshaft, etc. The price was reduced to get rid of the last few FJs.

#65 275 GTB-4

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:12

Somewhere near on topic.......a work-mate bought an FJ, just before the FE came out. It was a real 'bitza', having such things as a 'ute' tailshaft, etc. The price was reduced to get rid of the last few FJs.


I recall that the Ute prop shafts were an uprated item...therefore, desirable.

#66 DanTra2858

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 20:39

Back in the 1960,s when I was a Fire Marshal I remember being told by a friendly Screwinears at the Farm that the easiest way to tell if the Holden had a Canadian block was to look for the Canadian Mounty sitting on top of the rocker cover. :rotfl:


#67 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 21:08

Welby, I have the photos of the CWC block and I will post them late tonight when I get home...

I'm on a very slow mobile connection here and it would be touch and go to try and put them up now. Thanks for your help in dismissing this myth.

#68 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 13:27

Here are the pics put forward by Welby on behalf of Norm Darwin...

This is the first Australian-built prototype:

Posted Image

The inset enlargement of the engine is blown up further here:

Posted Image

And here is a prototype engine, casting date 19th August 1946, with the CWC name clearly shown. More is described above in the note from Norm:

Posted Image

This picture is from his book.

#69 Ian G

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 22:24

Thanks Ray,that dispels another myth that does the rounds every so often,that the early "Canadian" blocks didn't have the GMH casting mark.

#70 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:33

And just to put the Charlie McCarron engine, known to be from one of the earliest production cars, the 46th car off the production line, into view on the same page:

Posted Image

There are differences evident here. The number '7' seems to be more vertical on the CWC block, the number does commence further across in relation to the engine number pad above it, there is no date code obviously, nor the 'X' which is assumed to be for 'experimental'.

#71 seldo

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:15

Quite a few differences -
There appears to be some residual evidence of where the CWC was originally situated.
The casting number font is slightly different in that the 7s have a curved downward stroke
The whole ID characters seem to be 2-3cm to the right in relation to the side-plate screws above and the sump bolts below

#72 Ian G

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:20

Yeah,they seemed to have levelled up the No's as well,2nd zero is now level with the first.

#73 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:29

The H196 plate (Holden 196?) on the CWC block has been rivetted on...does point to block having other uses?

#74 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:38

No, that's from the pattern making process...

The pattern is made up the same shape as the intended casting, with an allowance for shrinkage (or more properly stated, contraction). The date plate is stuck onto the pattern to show the date of casting, it obviously has to be removable.

The 'H' is for No 8, the eighth month or August. The '19' is the date in the month, the '6' is for 1946. Obviously the CWC blocks were made a long time before the cars went into production.

#75 D-Type

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 14:22

Curioser and curioser. The CWC block is date marked but the later[?], non-CWC, 'production block is not. Did GMH feel that the stamped-on engine numbers provided sufficient traceability for quality management purposes?

#76 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 22:06

They certainly don't appear to have in this area, Duncan...

But there may be something somewhere else on the casting.

#77 Ian G

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 22:56

Grey boat motor for sale,not sure about the reason for no engine number though.I can't read(Holden?) whats after the "...479" number on the 4th last photo.


http://www.gumtree.c...ical/1012679144

Edited by Ian G, 07 March 2013 - 23:40.


#78 wagons46

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:04


"HOLDEN" but no GMH. ???



#79 Ian G

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:28

I think the later EJ (EK?) castings just had Holden according to my Brother, but he also swears he's seen blocks with no GMH or Holden cast into them but without photo's it means nothing.

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#80 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:12

I believe blocks in the late 48/215 through FJ period had no 'GM-H' on them...

This is of little consequence as none of them have CWC or any other identifying mark on them.

#81 D-Type

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:32

Grey boat motor for sale,not sure about the reason for no engine number though.I can't read(Holden?) whats after the "...479" number on the 4th last photo.


http://www.gumtree.c...ical/1012679144

My apologies for going OT.
The text says

It is an original marine application, and therefore was not issued with an engine number.

This intrigues me as I have always believed that numbering of engines was primarily for accounting, traceability and quality control purposes, and that using the number for taxation and identification purposes was simply utilising the existing numbering system. Not numbering the marine engines suggests that the only reason for numbering engines was for road taxation. If that premise is true, how did the factory accounting and other systems work without numbers?
I suppose it might be an engine that 'came out through the back door' and never appeared on Holden's books - which of course were scrutinised by the taxman.
I think it is far more likely is that it originally had a number, but some time in its life the engine's owner felt the need to remove the number. How easy is that to do? Does it require grinding off the number or is it simply a case of removing a tag or plate? If a number had been removed, surely there would be some trace of it having been there?

#82 Catalina Park

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:39

Engine numbers in Australia are stamped onto the engine block.

I am not too sure about the lack of number on this motor but replacement engine blocks were often sold without a number so it could have the existing number stamped onto it.

Engines like the imported BMC Mini Cooper S that were built in England with a tag had that tag removed and then had the number stamped onto the block in Australia.

#83 BMH Comic

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:27

Engine numbers in Australia are stamped onto the engine block.

I am not too sure about the lack of number on this motor but replacement engine blocks were often sold without a number so it could have the existing number stamped onto it.

Engines like the imported BMC Mini Cooper S that were built in England with a tag had that tag removed and then had the number stamped onto the block in Australia.

J blocks only have the word Holden aft of the fuel pump mounting. As far as the lack of serial numbers for replacement blocks from NASCO, none were stamped and the engine builder was supposed to replicate the original followed with an R, it was rare to see it done. Marine and industrial never got them either. They were serviced as an assembly from the parts division and it was because they claimed 100% Aus content which included the profit margin and the tally was added to the car production to dilute the content. The dealer margin was added to the content along with the printing of the parts books. Everything went into the number. Petrol for demo cars the lot. Thus the detailed sales report that went back to the factory. A dealer buying a customer a beer constituted AUS content.

#84 BMH Comic

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:28

Engine numbers in Australia are stamped onto the engine block.

I am not too sure about the lack of number on this motor but replacement engine blocks were often sold without a number so it could have the existing number stamped onto it.

Engines like the imported BMC Mini Cooper S that were built in England with a tag had that tag removed and then had the number stamped onto the block in Australia.

J blocks only have the word Holden aft of the fuel pump mounting. As far as the lack of serial numbers for replacement blocks from NASCO, none were stamped and the engine builder was supposed to replicate the original followed with an R, it was rare to see it done. Marine and industrial never got them either. They were serviced as an assembly from the parts division and it was because they claimed 100% Aus content which included the profit margin and the tally was added to the car production to dilute the content. The dealer margin was added to the content along with the printing of the parts books. Everything went into the number. Petrol for demo cars the lot. Thus the detailed sales report that went back to the factory. A dealer buying a customer a beer constituted AUS content.

#85 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:53

Well, we didn't get Grolch or Heinekin here then...

And the customer would surely be an Aussie?

Just talking to Bob Lewis, he has a compressor from Ingersol-Rand with Holden grey motor power. This has the engine number:

IR56IR

Obvously supplied to Ingersol-Rand without a number.

#86 GMACKIE

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 21:02

Well, we didn't get Grolch or Heinekin here then...

And the customer would surely be an Aussie?


Perhaps not, but would have had some 'Australian Content', at least.

Edited by GMACKIE, 08 March 2013 - 21:04.


#87 BMH Comic

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:37

Well, we didn't get Grolch or Heinekin here then...

And the customer would surely be an Aussie?

Just talking to Bob Lewis, he has a compressor from Ingersol-Rand with Holden grey motor power. This has the engine number:

IR56IR

Obvously supplied to Ingersol-Rand without a number.

I have a couple of marinised J engines they have names

Port and Starboard

#88 seldo

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 13:10

I have a couple of marinised J engines they have names

Port and Starboard

For some obscure reason, I have always preferred the Port versions....

#89 johnny yuma

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:16

For some obscure reason, I have always preferred the Port versions....

Just back from Phillip Island and points further afield,had a half-hour look over the FX-FJ wrecks at Flynns
on the southern outskirts of Cooma,NSW. There are 40 or so wrecks,many with engines,but access is
a little difficult as weeds and blackberry bushes are high,junk is scattered about,and it is Snake Country
but thats OK by me...up to a point , which excludes too much lying down in the long grass!

ANYHOW, IN THE VAST PADDOCK OF ANCIENT CARS OF ALL BRANDS,
ONE FX ONLY,with the rear door lock buttons at the rear end of the doorS,has an Engine Number below 37832.
It begins with 30,but the awkward lie and bad light meant I can only state with certainty it had 5 numbers stamped. It had the GMH LOGO,but no CWC. In early-mid 1950 GMH heard the taxi industry screams about the
stupid rear door locks being out of the driver's reach,and GMH moved them to the front end of the rear doors.
This coincided roughly with the minor Block changes at #37832. For my money,these were the blocks which
became the mythical Canadian blocks.So if you want a Canadian Block ,give Flynns a ring ,but don't blather
about the rarity of the engine ,or you will pay dearly! Just look fot the lone FX with rear door lock buttons at
the back,and you're in like Flynn :lol: (sorry)

Other humpy engines at Flynns had no GMH logo,just HOLDEN aft of the fuel pump,not very big letters.As BMH Comic says,these would be FJ,but many FXs got transplants in later life,picture gets muddled.



#90 275 GTB-4

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:55

Just back from Phillip Island and points further afield,had a half-hour look over the FX-FJ wrecks at Flynns
on the southern outskirts of Cooma,NSW. There are 40 or so wrecks,many with engines,but access is
a little difficult as weeds and blackberry bushes are high,junk is scattered about,and it is Snake Country
but thats OK by me...up to a point , which excludes too much lying down in the long grass!

ANYHOW, IN THE VAST PADDOCK OF ANCIENT CARS OF ALL BRANDS,
ONE FX ONLY,with the rear door lock buttons at the rear end of the doorS,has an Engine Number below 37832.
It begins with 30,but the awkward lie and bad light meant I can only state with certainty it had 5 numbers stamped. It had the GMH LOGO,but no CWC. In early-mid 1950 GMH heard the taxi industry screams about the
stupid rear door locks being out of the driver's reach,and GMH moved them to the front end of the rear doors.
This coincided roughly with the minor Block changes at #37832. For my money,these were the blocks which
became the mythical Canadian blocks.So if you want a Canadian Block ,give Flynns a ring ,but don't blather
about the rarity of the engine ,or you will pay dearly! Just look fot the lone FX with rear door lock buttons at
the back,and you're in like Flynn :lol: (sorry)

Other humpy engines at Flynns had no GMH logo,just HOLDEN aft of the fuel pump,not very big letters.As BMH Comic says,these would be FJ,but many FXs got transplants in later life,picture gets muddled.


Last time I looked, Flynns were asking $10 a visit just to look at thier historical pile of rust :rolleyes:

PS anyone still around from BM Higgenbottoms?? they must have seen and reconditioned a high percentage of the greys in their time....(NSW based but likely to have been despatched widely}

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 22 March 2013 - 08:52.


#91 johnny yuma

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 07:57

Last time I looked, Flynns were asking $10 a visit just to look at thier historical pile of rust :rolleyes:

PS anyone still around from BM Higgenbottoms?? they must have seen and reconditioned a high percentage of the greys in their time....(NSW based but likely to have been despatched widely}

Certainly there are some sad piles of rust,but many cars ,and parts, you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else.The proprietor tells me he is waiting for the price of
scrap steel to rise again and he may sell some or all as scrap.I guess he would say that,but whether he does or not the cars are stored in a hostile environment and won't
last forever. One of those moments in history,like when you sold your GTHO for a song,or didn't buy that inner city slum terrace for $35,000.You won't get the chance later.

#92 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 20:40

I don't think his business would suffer much from thinning out the Mk 1 Zephyr pile...

And I think $10 admission is pretty reasonable for that type of car show.

#93 johnny yuma

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:39

I don't think his business would suffer much from thinning out the Mk 1 Zephyr pile...

And I think $10 admission is pretty reasonable for that type of car show.

Quite agree Ray,I find it hard to go past without a look.

#94 plannerpower

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:52

For those who are wondering what this thread drift is about ...

"Flynns" is a paddock-full of mouldering cars ...

Located a little west of Cooma NSW ...

Posted Image

I passed & re-passed it several times some two weeks ago ...



#95 275 GTB-4

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:02

For those who are wondering what this thread drift is about ...

"Flynns" is a paddock-full of mouldering cars ...

Located a little west of Cooma NSW ...

Posted Image

I passed & re-passed it several times some two weeks ago ...


Generalising (ex-GMH fan here)....modern stuff at the front, older gems (there I go again!) at the rear....believe the elders were the ":enthusiasts" and that the sons taking over are less semimetal and want to turn a buck...with the scrapper or by charging semimental people to wander around :rolleyes:

#96 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:29

But you can't generalise...

There are 'newer' cars in the front, and there are 'newer' cars right at the back. Old cars are just everywhere. For instance, right up the front I recall there's a fifties Opel, a few early fifties Chrysler models, an old Buick Service Car and a '47 Plymouth. Among others.

One of the highlights of the place must surely be the '46 Ford sedan that's had its chassis removed and the body is steadily rusting into the ground. The oldest car is from about 1926, the yard commenced operation in the mid-fifties after the owner had a crash at Dalgety. When he had his car dragged home to Cooma he had so many offers for parts he figured he'd do well from the wrecking business... with the number of cars being crashed by the many workers on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, as well as those they were simply wearing out, he had an abundance of available vehicles to work with.

And an abundance of potential customers.

#97 plannerpower

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 06:20

I was just researching a branch of history entirely unrelated to motor vehicles and stumbled upon this webpage with photos of Flynn's;

http://flickrhivemin...nsw/Interesting

Pure serendipity.

#98 275 GTB-4

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:44

I was just researching a branch of history entirely unrelated to motor vehicles and stumbled upon this webpage with photos of Flynn's;

http://flickrhivemin...nsw/Interesting

Pure serendipity.


and Triumph Herald race car! :)

http://www.flickr.co...4@N00/386134685

#99 GMACKIE

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 09:59

Triumph Herald race car! :)

Oxymoron? [or is that a rather stupid welder?]

Edited by GMACKIE, 13 April 2013 - 11:22.


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#100 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 11:02

Originally posted by plannerpower
I was just researching a branch of history entirely unrelated to motor vehicles and stumbled upon this webpage with photos of Flynn's.....


I think I took about 60 pics the day I was there...

Some were used in Australian Classic Car and some I've posted here over the years since. That '47 Ford that's rusting into the ground is a real darling, but I think the car alongside of it was gone when I took my pics in 2005.