HOLDEN 6 cylinder Engine Identification

Have you ever wondered if the motor in your old Holden is the original or not? Well unfortunately I don't have a list of all the numbers ever produced, but I have a listing of prefixes for different engine numbers in different models. I hope it can be of some use to you. There may be some reason as to why your prefix doesn't match, maybe they ran out of a certain engine just at the model changeover, or it may be some other special model engine, spare parts sale etc. but this should cover most of them.

Note: (L) denotes Low compression (H) denotes high compression

132 Grey Motor: FX - no prefix, FJ - "U", FE - "L" , FC - "L" .

138 Grey motor:
FB - "B" , EK - "B" , EJ "J" .

149 Red motor:
EH (L) - "Y" , EH (H) - "H" , HD (L) - "149E" , HD (H) - "149D" .

161 Red Motor:
HR (L) - "161W" , HR (H) - "161R" , HK-HG (L) - "161L" , HK-HG (H) - "161H" , LC (L) - "2600L" , LC (H) - "2600H" , LC (GTR) - "2600S"

173 Red Motor:
HQ (L) - "173L" , HQ (H) - "173H" , LJ (H) - "2850H" , LH-UC (H) - "2850D"

179 Red Motor:
EH - "M" , HD - "179F" , HD (X2) - "179X" .

186 Red Motor:
HR - "186A" , HR (186HP) - "186K" , HK-HG (186HP) - "186P" , HK-HG (186S) - "186S" , LC (XU-1) - "186S"

202 Red Motor:
HQ (L) - "202L" , HQ (H) - "202P" , LJ (XU-1) - "202X" , LH-UC (H) - "3300L" ,

After HQ the second letter of the model code was used as the first letter of the engine prefix, ie: J for HJ; X for HX; Z for HZ


Holden 6 Cylinder Grey Motor

Holden gained engine building experience during WW2, when it manufactured both aeroplane, boat and torpedo engines for the war effort. The Grey six (so named because the entire long motor was finished in a "grey" paint) was born with its success to be seen as a measure of GM-H's new car.

Holden wisely choose reliability over innovation, durability over performance. The 6-cylinder design was chosen as a compromise between the British cars, with their sometimes unreliable 4-cylinder engines, and the larger US cars that featured more expensive to manufacture, maintain and run V8 engines.

It was a square engine, featuring a four-bearing crankshaft, gear-driven camshaft and full pressure lubrication system with provision for accessory oil filter. It had a capacity of 132.5 ci (2.15 litres), a compression ratio of 6.8 and developed 60bhp (rated at 21.6hp).

The fuel system used a cam driven mechanical fuel pump feeding a single-barrel, manual choke downdraft Stromberg carburettor. An oil bath air cleaner was an optional accessory.

Delco Remy electrics (starter, generator, distributor etc.) were used on early engines until Bosch units were phased in early 1953.

The torquey, low stress unit was extremely flexible, economical and offered at the time lively acceleration. An added benefit was that it was easy to work on. With its success through the '50s and early 1960's the grey engine was carried over into each new model series with only minor modifications - new camshaft, higher compression ratio, incorporation of larger valves and throat surgery in the form of improved carburetors.

By the time the FB was released the capacity was up to 138ci (2.26 litres) with a compression ratio of 7.25 and an output of 75bhp (56 kW).

If you are trying to identify if the grey engine fitted to your Holden is original, the following engine number sequences may help:

  • 48-215 numbers started at 1001
  • FJ numbers at 121694
  • FE numbers at L283373
  • FC numbers at L439507
  • FB numbers at B1001
  • EK numbers at B175814
  • EJ numbers at J1001

The Grey engine went into its 15th year of service under the bonnet of the EJ model, which ceased production in the middle of 1963, and were the last Holden engines to use solid valve lifters, and an internal oil pump and oil filter.

Holden Grey Motor Timeline

Model Years No Built Engine
48/215 FX Holden 1948 - 1953 120,402 132.5ci / 2160cc Grey Engine
FJ Holden 1953 - 1956 169,969 132.5ci / 2160cc Grey Engine
FE Holden 1956 - 1958 155,161   138ci / 2262cc Grey Engine
FC Holden 1958 - 1960 191,724 138ci / 2262cc Grey Engine
FB Holden 1960 - 1961 174.747 138ci / 2262cc Grey Engine
EK Holden 1961 - 1962 150,214 138ci / 2262cc Grey Engine
EJ Holden 1962 - 193 154,811 138ci / 2262cc Grey Engine


Holden 6 cylinder Red Motor



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