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Mike Stevens | Feb 22, 2011

Holden has today paid tribute to Jack Rawnsley, the last of the engineers who worked on Holden's first mass-produced car: the 48-215, known unofficially to many as the 'FX'.

Mr Rawnsley passed away yesterday, aged 99.

One of a small team of engineers sent to GM's Detroit headquarters in 1945 to develop the foundations of "Australian's Own Car," Mr Rawnsley was responsible for tailoring the 48-215 to Australian conditions.

Speaking at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in 2004, where the very first 48-215 "Prototype No. 1" lives in a dust-free plastic bubble, Mr Rawnsley said that when he looks at the car, he sees "a part of [his] heart."

When it went on sale, the first mass-produced Australian-made and engineered 'car for the people' saw more than 18,000 buyers place an order, despite knowing little of the detail of the car.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux said Mr Rawnsley was considered Holden royalty by employees past and present.

“Jack and his colleagues were true pioneers and paved the way not just for Holden’s success, but the Australian automotive industry as a whole," Mr Devereux said.

“With Jack’s sad passing we lose a cherished link with our past."

“But a daily reminder of his extraordinary work is his legacy of designing, engineering and manufacturing the best possible cars for Australian motorists."

Learn more about Jack's work on the 48-215 at the National Museum of Australia website. Click here.

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