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Holden mourns hero who was there at the start

Jack Rawnsley: The pioneering FX Holden engineer has died aged 99.

Last of the Holden FX engineers, Jack Rawnsley, dies at 99

Holden logo22 Feb 2011

THE last of a small team of Australian engineers who worked in America on the first Holden, the 48-215, has died at the age of 99.

Jack Rawnsley, who spent more than 40 years with Holden, helped to build the earliest prototypes of ‘Australia’s Own Car’ in Detroit before the model was launched to great fanfare in Australia in 1948.

Although the car – which later became popularly known as the FX – was conceived in Australia, its development was controlled by General Motors’ American engineers, who demanded the prototypes be built in America.

However, Holden was invited to send a small team to work alongside the GM engineers in the closing stages of World War 2.

Mr Rawnsley was selected to make the trip, helping to assemble Holden No. 1 – a car that now resides in the National Museum of Australian in Canberra.

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.

“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.” Mr Rawnsley is survived by his daughter Brenda and son John.

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