DON Loffler was only nine when he ran his hand across his first Holden, but the 73-year-old author can recall the moment as if it was yesterday.
Don lived in the small town of Wanbi, in South Australia's Murray Mallee, but on this particular day was idly wandering through the showroom of the car dealership in nearby Loxton.
"While my dad was talking to some sales guys, I went in and had a look around and that was when I saw the first Holden, the 48-215 'FX'," Don says.
"It was an incredible vision of a car, and I made sure I walked around the entire body and took in every last detail. I can still smell the old duco in that showroom."
Sizing up the family car in the parking lot afterwards, the young Don was forced to admit that the 1928 Chevrolet fell short.
"When the Holden was first launched in Australia, it was a quantum leap in terms of technology," he says. "I mean, half the cars on the road at that time were canvas-top tourers."
Don, who has just published his most recent tribute to early Holdens - Holden Days: From the original 48-215 FX to the 1966 HR- is quick to point out he was far from the only car-obsessed kid from the country to be so smitten.
Holden knew it was on to a good thing with the FX, and a fleet of demonstration cars toured through country areas in December 1948 so every Australian would have a chance to view a Holden before Christmas.
"Around about that time, my brother and I started a campaign to get my parents to buy a Holden," Don says. "We managed to raise enough money ourselves for a deposit, and our aunt and uncle helped us as well to buy one.
"By that stage, however, we were teenagers and the Holden was looking a bit dated compared to the Fords, but with that teenage one-eyedness we stayed loyal to the Holden. Then, of course, our relatives turned up not long afterwards in a Holden FJ and we thought they were amazing. It had the same body shape as the FX, but it was two-toned and far more glamorous.
"We then started a campaign for our parents to buy that one, but they wouldn't hear it."
Surprisingly, when Don moved to the outskirts of Adelaide to become a teacher in his 20s, he got about in a VW Beetle.
"They were extremely trendy at that stage (the VW), but I still loved the Holden even though I didn't buy one," he notes.
Don has written five books on Holdens, including two on the FJ - a hobby he took up in his retirement. His first, She's a Beauty! Story of the First Holdens came together in nine months, in time for the 50th anniversary of the Holden in 1998.
However, it wasn't until 2007 that Don, amazingly, bought his first Holden - one of the original FXs, which he named Glenda.
"I have been wanting to get one of the Holdens for years, but I am incredibly fussy," he says.
"I don't see the point in buying something unless you love it."
Late last year, Don finally got his hands on a two-toned FJ he has dubbed Showgirl.
He describes the news by Holden that it was considering phasing out its Commodore as a pity. "I am wondering whether Australians won't come to regret the loss of those bigger Fords and Holdens," Don says.
"The bigger cars are beautiful interstate touring cars. You can't go past the quiet and the comfort of those cars."