Barry Milburn’s FX Holden

When we spotted Barry Milburn’s FX Holden at 2022’s Picnic at Hanging Rock show, we figured the car had a story to tell

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

What we didn’t realise was that Barry’s love affair with this particular humpy spans an unbroken 60 years, replete with a hot Colin Russell-built grey motor!

Tell us about your history with this FX, Barry.

I’ve had the car for 60 years this month. I dragged it at Riverside from ’62 until ’67, when it closed up. I won the 1965 Victorian C/Modified Championship with it.

How did you get into drag racing?

I don’t know, to be honest! I had a hot motor from a friend, so I bought an FX to put it in and we went down to Fishermans Bend. I was just interested in going a bit quick, but not on the roads. It was a very good way to get away from it, down at Riverside.

What’s the driveline?

It’s a grey motor, 20thou over. It’s got a cam and triple SUs on it, as you can see. It’s got a three-speed, floor-shift manual behind it that used to run a straight-line shifter. It always did low 16s, with a best of 16.08 seconds. We used to have a lot of wheelspin in those days. Then blokes put bloody limited-slip diffs in them, and that’s why they were doing 15s.

Sounds like you did all right for yourself on the racing scene, then.

It went pretty well. My mechanic at the time and good friend was Colin Russell, who did Larry Ormsby’s ‘Big O’ Falcon. And he did Moffat’s first motor that won Bathurst, so that’s why this went so well. Colin worked at Stan Jones Motors, and my brother was a bit of a backyard mechanic and knew him, so it went on from there.

Did you do any racing after Riverside packed up?

No, I got married! I met my wife at Riverside; a friend brought her along in ’65.

Has the car changed much since those days?

Not much has changed; the body’s the same. I’ve pulled it to pieces and rebuilt it over a few years, but nothing’s changed on it. When I did it up again, Colin did the motor with the same specs as when we dragged it. It’s got the same diff and same gearbox in it – I never rooted any of them up in it! It’s been garaged for the whole 60 years.

Have you done any racing since the 60s?

I gave it a run at the Wilby Park drags just to see how it was going. It was my first time racing it since the 60s, and I took it two years in a row until COVID stopped it. I just like to give it a bit of a burl. Hopefully this year it’ll be on again at the Wilby Hot Rod Show, with drags on the Sunday. I’ll get it up there if I’m still kicking!

Does it see much sun these days?

COVID buggered it, but I used to go to shows nearly every weekend. At the Rod Run at Yarrawonga, I reckon it was the most looked-at car, because all the old blokes had owned FXs and that.

Any other projects you’ve tinkered with?

Nothing else, aside from the FJ ute I built 35 years ago. I bought it off a friend who couldn’t afford to finish it, and when I sold it off I said it could only go to one person, so I sold it back to him. Unfortunately, it got flooded in Port Macquarie recently, so I went up and spent two weeks on it, and it’s back on the road again now. I knew every nut and bolt in it.