With early Holden & the fascination of nostalgic drag cars & early modified vehicles the Holden 138 grey motor or gray sideplate 6 as it is also known that was available in the FX Holden,FJ Holden,FC Holden,FE Holden,FB Holden,EK Holden & EJ Holden has once again become a very popular engine to modify. With the introduction of these engines over 50 years ago there is not to many of us older fellas that have not owned worked on or hotted up a Holden 138 grey side plate six.


The 132.5ci /2160cc. Grey In-Line Six
Known as the Grey Motor with 61hp/45kW The engine was in production for around eight years. When the FE Holden was made available in 1956 the power was increased to 72hp/53kW by increasing the compression ratio to 6.8 to 1 & fitting larger valves. In 1958 again the engine picked up a few more HP altering the cam and increasing the compression ratio to 7.0 to 1.

HOLDEN 132.5 engine specs

Overhead Valve in line 6 Cylinder Engine
4 Main Bearings
Bore : 3.000 inch /76.20 mm
Stroke : 3.125 inch /79.375 mm
Engine displacement : 132.5 cu in/ 2160cc
Brake horsepower : 60 @ 4200 r.p.m.

BRIEF HISTORY HOLDEN 138cu /2262cc) Straight Six
The new Holden engine was available in 1960 for the Holden FB. With a revised 7.25 to 1 compression ratio the bigger cubed engine now had 76hp/56kw.The new FB Holden was much heavier than the 4 previous model Holdens so performance was not noticed . it is believed that Holden produced over 1 million grey motors .

Overhead Valve in line 6 Cylinder Engine
4 Main Bearings
Bore : 3.062 inch/ 77.774 mm
Stroke : 3.125 inch/ 79.375 mm
Engine displacement : 138.0 cu in /2262 cc
Brake horsepower : 75 @ 4200 r.p.m.

For tension settings on head bolts, conrods, mains & other information on the Holden Grey motor

Grey Motor Torue Settings

Holden 138 Grey motor from 1948 to 1963
The grey motor was released buy General Motors Holden for the 48/215 model also known as the FX Holden, The next model to follow was the FJ Holden followed by the FC & FE Holden. Holden then switched to the first of its finned rear tail lights in the Holden FB & EK then on to a total different style in the EJ Holden.

Torque settings for your Holden Grey motor are as listed below.

Conrod or Big end caps

30/35 ft lbs
41/47 Nm

Main bearing caps
50/60 ft lbs
75/81 Nm

Cylinder head bolts

Step 1: 40 ft lbs or 54 Nm
Step 2: 50 ft lbs or 68 Nm
Step 3: 65 ft lbs or 88 Nm

Valve clearance hot with std camshaft
Inlet: 0.008″
Exhaust: 0.012″

Pictured are after market cast iron headers for old Holden gray motors. There were many manufactures of Speed Equipment for the Holden sideplate six. from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Pictured is a pair of Jack Myers headers, The problem with many of these early performance parts is the materials used to make them. cast iron can be very brittle & early Holden aftermarket headers suffer a problem with cracking.

Triple down draft stromburgs were a popular conversion for early Holden hot rodders with 3x 1. 1/32 carbies on an after market manifold.

The famous Speco brand triple down draft Stromburg manifold to suit Holden grey motor, The best venture size when running a multi carb set up on a Holden grey motor is the strommie 1 1/32. this number is on the side of the fuel inlet side of the carby next to the needle & seat.

warnerford twin carb manifold that bolted on to std exhaust manifold could still run the factory hot box.

Old Holden speed equipment is still found at swap meets, ebay & used parts magazines, The HAMA manifold is very hard to find , they are alot taller than other manifolds & have a ram effect.

Old Holden grey motor twin down draft stromburg manifold made by John Cain,

Fire Streak was another brand of speed equipment for old Holdens, there performance manifolds turn up from time to time.Ther manifolds had the provision cast in to the side of the manifold for linkages.

HI-TORQUE manifolds with there neat fins were also made for early Holden grey motors.

Hanrahan was another maker of early speed equipment with some real fancy fins this Holden twin carby performance manifold is a rare 1.

SJ BROWN twin downdraft twin carby manifold to suit Holden Grey motor.

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Speedomotive was the name John Cain used in some of his very early manifolds, the 1 pictured below is to suit an early Holden grey motor with twin down draught stromburg carbies

Not forgetting early Holden engines were also put to use in fishing , ski & speed boats. this old torco manifold could be run with a single carb a pair of twins or for the hotties a set of triple down draft carbies.

Here is an old piece of rare speed equipment, To suit your old Holden Has Australian map cast into it with the words, mowog the part # is also cast into the manifold. it does fit up on a holden grey motor & accepts triple 1 1/4 su carbs. From what we have found MOWOG was mainly to do with british cars like mini minors, MGs & the like. Port wise the manifold has been ground as the steel port rings do not line up & the flange has been ground to get it to fit.

Holden grey motor tripple 1 1/4 su manifold made by Lynx in Sydney.

Very rare early Holden grey motor fitted with a waggot overhead cam cylinder head.The cylinder heads were made by Merv Waggot & with this combo they really made The old Holden sideplate 6 engine come alive.
Another rare item is the Norman Supercharger that was fitted to the Holden 138 Grey motor. The supercharger was designed by Eldred Norman & as pictured below had its own manifold & idler to suit the early Holden grey motor

Are rare Holden Grey Motor fitted with a Norman super charger

Early Holden Drag car

Pictured below is the poster from the movie FJ Holden that had Frankie J Holden From Aussie Band OL 55 & the BAD 781 Yellow FJ Holden sedan with the single spotlight on the front & all the old school hot up gear.

Holden Grey motor fitted with Repco Grey motor crossflow head,this 1 runs twin down draught webers,polished alloy rocker cover & tubular extractors

Old Holden with triple side draft webers on an early crossflow head. not the spark plug position on the cylinder head & long sweeping tubular headers.

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Old Holden Grey motor exhaust headers are now available again new, AussieSpeed have produced there own version with a mix of all the old brands, The dual cast iron headers replace std exhaust manifolds & ate a great deal easier to fit than some of the tubular extractors that are available. Sure they are not cheap , but be assured they will last a hell of a lot longer & they really look awrsome..Click on the image for details

Old Holden alloy sideplates to suit FJ,FX,FC,FE,FB,EK grey motors.

AussieSpeed have also what sounds to be a lot of trouble to reproduce finned side plates in aluminum for 138 & 132.5 early Holdens. Take a look at the proto type pictures by clicking the picture below below

A picture of some of the AussieSpeed range of finned alloy dress up bits for early Holdens like FJ,FC,FB & EK that have still retained the old Grey motor sideplate 6.

Check out the story with pictures & test of the Cylinder head that made the most power on the Holden grey motor. The Dunstan Rotary Valve Cylinder head was made in South Australia & made 200 BHP click the link to view the story & pictures on the old holden web site

Holden Grey Motor Tappet Cover Hold Down Bolts are pictured below, They Have Been reproduced By AussieSpeed, Polished stainless steel or Chrome acorn nuts were another favorite with old holden fans.

W.E.Y old Holden Grey motor alloy rocker cover. WEY made many products for early Holdens.

Pictured below is a very rare KLEINIG twin side draft su manifold. Kleinig Motors were a Sydney based business that had there own range of speed equipment for the Holden grey motor.

Twin sidedraft manifold is drilled to accept both 2 & 4 bolts carburettors

Early Holden Grey Motor alloy rocker cover with front mounted oil filler cap made by LYNX in sydney

The long shot of the finned grey motor rocker cover fitted to a gray motor cylinder head. Note the style of hold down bolts.

Holden Grey Motor fitted with an Aussiespeed Grey Motor Alloy Side plate, alloy rocker cover and rocker cover H hold down bolts

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