The Cars That Money Can’t Buy – Holden Efijy

Sun 4th Aug 2019

Sometimes your wallet won’t stretch to purchasing your dream motor. But don’t worry too much, there are some cars that even the biggest bank balances can’t buy, the dream cars that will forever remain a dream. These are the concept cars that never go into production.

Holden Efijy
Whilst most cars in this series have looked to the future in terms of design aesthetics and technology, this Australian concept car took a serious journey back to the 1950s.

To celebrate Holden’s 50th anniversary, the company’s chief designer, Richard Ferlazzo put together a retro styled beast of a machine which was inspired by the 1953 Holden FJ and was debuted at the 2005 Australian International Motor Show.

Ferlazzo admitted that the car, which had been designed and engineered in-house at GM Holden’s design studio, painted in Soprano Purple and featuring the handmade billet aluminium, had cost $1.2million to build.

Powered by a super-charged version of a Chevrolet Corvette C5 chassis, with a 6.0 litre V8 engine, the Efijy won the 2007 North American Concept Car of the Year and was in high demand, with a list of billionaire businessmen, oil sheiks and even Vladimir Putin’s brother all making a claim to get one delivered.

Despite the demand, GM Holden confirmed that this was definitely a car that money can’t buy, a motor-show one-off and one which with a build-cost of $1 million was not a car worth pursuing in terms of even a limited production run.

Interviewed in October 2017, Ferlazzo admitted that the Efijy had been an amazing project to work on.

“I remember doing the Efijy sketch which my colleague still has, and a friend of mine and I were musing over it one day at work and thought with all the resources in this place, we can build a cool custom car. So I scribbled something down,” he told Car Advice.

“I had done many concept cars for Holden, largely Commodore-based and were thinking what was next that was a bit unpredictable. The 50th anniversary of the FJ was coming up, and it’s such an iconic Australian car, so we thought that old idea, we could make it into a modern thing.

“We took the DNA of the FJ, gave it a name, EFIJY, which is a play on words, and made it look like an elegant car of the ’40s and ’50s.

“They thought it was cool, but we said it was not for production, just a bit of fun. Normally our concept cars cost around $2-million to build, so the boss couldn’t justify that. I said there were enough guys in the department who would just love doing this, so if I could engage them, we would do it on the side as a labour of love.

“We took out the labour component, which is the largest part of it, and we made a full-size clay model. We found a Corvette at the proving ground that was going to get crushed, and the Chief Engineer said he didn’t need it anymore. So we took the body off that, and we had a great underbody, which we stretched and manipulated. It got to the point of no return; seek forgiveness, not permission.

“I said to the boss I can join the dots for about $200,000, for the bits we can’t make ourselves, and that’s great value for a concept car. It’s a great story about the passion of the people that work at Holden in design and engineering, and it became a showcase for that passion and ingenuity.

“It’s been our most successful show car ever. If you give people what they like, they will keep coming back in droves for it.”