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7 April 2009

Two of Australia's most important cars will be road tested following extensive conservation and preservation work at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. The cars will be tested with the assistance of modern motor vehicle experts from NRMA Motoring & Services at Oran Park, Sydney today.

The 1946 Holden Prototype Car No 1 is the survivor of three test Holden sedans built, by hand, in 1946 by American and Australian engineers at the General Motors workshop in Detroit. Every Holden traces its lineage directly to this car.

Curators at the National Museum note that the early Holdens were more than just a car, they were a manifestation of Australian dreams of prosperity, made more intense by years of Second World War austerity. Holdens are among the most recognisable cultural artefacts of 1950's Australia.

The 1923 5CV Citroën is the first car to travel around Australia. Neville Westwood, a 22-year-old Seventh Day Adventist missionary left Perth in August, 1925. Along the way punctured tyres were filled with grass and cowhides and the car was carried across the Fitzroy River by local Aboriginal people. Westwood travelled to Melbourne and Adelaide and was welcomed back to Perth by a convoy of motorists on 30 December 1925.

Both cars are from the National Museum of Australia's collection and have recently undergone extensive conservation and preservation work at the National Museum's technology lab in Canberra.

'It is National Museum policy to get the vehicles in our collection in running order. It's not always possible, but in the case of the Prototype No 1 and the little Citroën we have rebuilt parts and overhauled the engines of the cars and we are keen to see them going on the test track,' said National Museum Head Conservator, Eric Archer.

NRMA vehicle experts will road test the historic vehicles and compare them with current Holden and Citroën models. The tests include comparisons in performance and handling.

For more information about the 1946 Holden Prototype Car No 1 and the 1923 5CV Citroën visit the Collection Highlights (Vehicles) page on the National Museum's website:

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 0438 620 710 or

NRMA: Daniel Stanton 0439 133 092

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