In December 2016 we attended the FX-FJ Nationals in Mansfield and we had a wonderful time. It was our first Nationals and a chance for us to see what we needed to achieve to run a successful Nationals in Murray Bridge in 2018.

We took a leisurely route home stopping in Maryborough and Bordertown. On our way home from Bordertown to Adelaide we made what would turn out to be a great decision to stop in Murray Bridge and check out accommodation for 2018. Whilst at the Riverfront Caravan Park I was approached by a guy on a motorbike who said “I’ve got a jigger like this” meaning an FJ sedan, I was standing alongside our car at the time with Wayne and Don Loffler. Now as we all know you hear this all the time usually it goes something like “my dad/uncle/grandfather had a car like this etc”. Well I asked the obvious question do you want to sell it, he said yeah thinking of it. So I said we were really looking for ute. To my surprise, he said my brother has a ute so then the obvious question, does he want to sell it and guess what he said yes we are thinking of selling both of them.

It was decided that we would all follow him and they would show us the cars there and then. He took us to a self-storage unit where his brother met us and we were shown a 1954 Skipper Blue sedan and a 1953 Malibu Ivory ute. It turned out that they actually own the business. We then had to convince them that we were in fact genuinely interested in buying the ute. This wasn’t going to be easy as they had owned both cars which were the last link to their late father who had given them the cars. Phone numbers were exchanged and the negotiations began.

Approximately 2 weeks later we became the very proud owners of the Ute (another member of our club bought the sedan) It turned out both cars had been in storage for 40 years. After fitting a new battery and diaphragm to the fuel pump and tinkering with the carbi we had the car running a treat. We have since registered it (without having to have an inspection) and are now driving it around.

I’ve got a jigger like this

The car is in a remarkably good condition for the age and there is only minimal surface rust. It still has the same tires it had on 40 years ago when it was put into storage and has done 35,490 original miles. It has the tonneau cover and window venetian it also has the horn button and even has the horn ring which is an added extra. It even has an exterior sun visor and the key was given to us on the original key ring. It was purchased from Dutton of Murray Bridge so it had not really left the area until we purchased it. In the back we found a new radiator core which had never been fitted to the car. It had stamps on it for the bus freight to get it to Murray Bridge. According to the sticker on the windscreen it is not even due for its next service yet. We have polished all the chrome which has come up remarkably well and when time and the weather permits we will polish the paintwork.

We intend to keep the car in the condition it is now in and have no plans to do any restoration to it but to just drive it and enjoy it as it is.

Since joining the 48 FJ Holden Club of SA our collection has grown from one 54 Sedan to a 53 FX Sedan (still undergoing restoration) and now the 53 Ute. We were warned that we wouldn’t be able to stop at one. We are now true converts and thoroughly enjoy driving these cars and preserving a bit of motoring history.

Story Credit : Debra & Wayne West, 48 FJ Holden Club of SA