The first Australian-built prototype for the original Holden FX has sold for $A668,750 (NZ$772,000) at auction in Melbourne.
The car was expected to attract bids of up to A$1 million. It was offered for sale by West Australian collector Peter Briggs, who displayed it at his private motor museum near Perth for more than 20 years.
The hand-made Holden was one of five prototypes built by General Motors before the first Holden, called the FX, went into production in October, 1948.
The prototypes were codenamed 48-215. The first three were built in Detroit with the aid of Holden engineers. The fourth and fifth were hand-built in Melbourne.
The first Detroit-built prototype was bought by the National Museum of Australia in Canberra for A$650,000 in 2004.
The museum car and the auction car – still driveable and registered as KJ-400 – are believed to be the only surviving pre-production cars.
The auction car’s history was verified by a South Australian historian specialising in Holden products.
When Briggs bought it at auction for A$15,000 in 1980, it was advertised as one of the Detroit prototypes.
But experts traced its origins to Holden’s workshops next to the Port Melbourne plant.
The winning bid of $A668,750 fell well short of that for the most expensive Holden ever sold.
Queesland car collector Shawn Ryan paid $A920,000 for a 2002 HRT 427 based on the Monaro and built by Holden Special Vehicles.