Holden Monaro

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Holden Monaro
2001-2002 Holden V2 Monaro CV8 coupe 03.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Holden
Also called Chevrolet Lumina
Holden GTS
Holden Limited Edition
HSV Coupe
Pontiac GTO
Vauxhall Monaro
Production 1968–1977
2001–2006
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupé
2-door hardtop
4-door sedan
Related Holden Kingswood
Holden Commodore
Bitter CD2

The Holden Monaro (mon-AH-ro) is a rear wheel drive coupe that was produced by GM Holden Ltd, an Australian subsidiary of General Motors, between 1968 and 1977 and between 2001 and 2006. Three generations of the Monaro have been produced, with the last spawning an all wheel-driver variant, export models and various concept cars.

First generation (1968–1971)[edit]

First generation[1]
HK Bright Blue==.JPG
Holden HK Monaro GTS
Overview
Production 1968–1971
Powertrain
Engine L6 161 in3 (2.6 L) (base model)
L6 186 in3 (3.0 L) (GTS with an uprated 186S only)
V8 253 in3 (4.2 L)
V8 307 in3 (5.0 L)
V8 308 in3 (5.0 L)
V8 327 in3 (5.3 L)
V8 350 in3 (5.7 L)

HK[edit]

1968 Holden HK Monaro GTS (fitted with aftermarket wheels)

Named after the Monaro region in New South Wales (although pronounced differently), Holden's new coupé was introduced in July 1968 as a two-door pillarless hardtop coupe available in three models: Monaro base model, Monaro 'GTS' and Monaro 'GTS 327'. The GTS versions had "full instrumentation" which included a tachometer mounted on the centre console. This proved to be a bad location as the drivers knee would obstruct the view and it often rattled (Spotlight on Holden Monaro Page 6-7). The cars could be ordered with a choice of six-cylinder engines of 161 in3 (2,640 cc) capacity (base only) or two versions of 186 in3 (3,050 cc) capacity (GTS with the uprated 186S only), or a 307 in3 (5,030 cc) capacity Chevrolet-sourced V8. The exclusive 'GTS 327' model was powered by the 250 bhp (186 kW) Chevrolet 327 in3 (5,360 cc) V8.

Uniquely styled by Holden, the Monaro nevertheless featured styling cues derived from Chevrolet designs; in particular, from the Camaro, Corvair and Nova coupés of the late 1960s.

After Holden engineers had originally claimed that the Monaro's engine bay was too small to house the 327 Chevrolet V8, the decision was made to speed up development of Holden's first ever Australian developed V8, the 5.0L 308 in3 (5,050 cc) capacity Holden V8 engine, and the smaller, 4.2L 253 in3 (4,150 cc) V8. However, as the home grown V8 engine project ran behind schedule, this led to engineers re-measuring the engine bay and finding that the original measurement calculations had been incorrect, thus allowing the use of the imported Chevrolet engine after all.

The HK Monaro GTS327 gave Holden its first victory in the Bathurst 500 in 1968 at the hands of Bruce McPhee and co-driver Barry Mulholland. Whilst Mulholland only drove one of the total 130 race laps, McPhee drove the remainder and also scored both pole position and fastest lap of the race.

Norm Beechey drove a HK Monaro GTS327 to third place in the 1969 Australian Touring Car Championship, the first time the ATCC was held as a series rather than a single race. Beechey showed the capabilities of the Monaro when he won the final two rounds of the five round series at Surfers Paradise and Symmons Plains.

In early 1969 the HK Monaro range was awarded Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1968.

HT[edit]

Holden HT Monaro GTS

In June 1969 the HK Monaro was replaced by the facelifted HT Monaro.[2] The 'GTS 327' became the 'GTS 350' with the replacement of the Chevrolet 327 in3 (5.4 L) V8 by the 300 bhp (224 kW) Chevrolet 350 in3 (5.7 L) V8. As the Monaro was Holden's main car in Series Production racing, this was primarily in response to Ford who had released the Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase I in 1969 which was powered by the 351 Windsor V8 engine (5.8 L). There was also an automatic version of the 'GTS 350' introduced which used a lower power version of the 350 in3 (5.7 L) engine coupled to a 2-speed Powerglide transmission. HT Monaro also marked the phasing out of the 5.0-litre Chevrolet V8, and the introduction of Holden's own locally made V8 engines, the 4.2 litre 253, and the 5.0 litre 308. Late in the HT model run, a new locally produced 3-speed automatic transmission, the Trimatic, was offered as an option, although it was not available on the 'GTS 350'.

The HT Monaro can be distinguished from the HK by the adoption of plastic grilles (previously metal), a round speedometer instead of "strip" style allowing for bringing the tachometer into the main instrument cluster instead of on the floor console, rubber front suspension bushes instead of the HK's sintered bronze, and larger taillights where the turn indicators also wrapped around the now slightly undercut edges. Bodywork 'go-faster' stripe designs (delete options) varied for each series; HK stripes were offset to the driver's side of the bonnet (hood) and bootlid (trunk), the HT had two broad stripes down the centre of the car. HT also had twin air scoops / vents incorporated into their bonnet, which served no real purpose in delivering air into the engine bay.

The HT Monaro GTS350 was successful in Series Production racing. The Holden Dealer Team was formed in 1969 by long time Ford Works Team boss Harry Firth with the team using the GTS350 in competition. The HDT entered three Monaros in the 1969 Hardie-Ferodo 500 the lead car driven by Colin Bond and Tony Roberts winning from 1968 winners Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland who had switched to driving a Falcon GTHO. Coming home third in the Dealer Team's 3rd Monaro was Des West and Bathurst rookie Peter Brock.

In January 1970, Bond and Roberts would win the Rothmans 12 Hour Series Production race at Surfers Paradise driving their HDT Holden Monaro.

Norm Beechey upgraded to a HT GTS350 and would win the 1970 Australian Touring Car Championship, Holden's first ever ATCC championship success. Beechey won three of the seven rounds at Bathurst, Sandown and Lakeside where he wrapped up the title. The 550 bhp (410 kW) Monaro proved too much for the opposition which included defending champion Pete Geoghegan in his Ford Mustang GTA, Allan Moffat in his Ford Mustang Boss 302 Trans-Am, Bob Jane's Mustang and Beechey's own team mate Jim McKeown in a Porsche 911S. Beechey's win was all the more remarkable considering he failed to finish in two races (Rd.1 at Calder and Rd.5 at Warwick Farm), as well as failing to start the final round at Symmons Plains after suffering an engine failure in qualifying. He also finished 2nd to Geoghegan in round 4 at Mallala.

Beechey would continue to run the Monaro, dubbed Trans-Aus in reference to its Australian build compared to the American Trans-Am cars of his opposition, for another two seasons, though unreliability began to plague the car in 1971 and 1972. Norm only finished 5th in the 1971 ATCC, winning only round 2 at Calder. The 1972 ATCC saw Beechey retire from the first three rounds at Symmons Plains, Calder and Bathurst before his only points for the series came from a third place in round 4 at Sandown Park. At the end of 1972 as a result of the Supercar scare, the Improved Production class was shut down by CAMS with a new production based Group C touring car class introduced for which the Monaro was not eligible to race.

HG[edit]

1970-1971 Holden HG Monaro
Holden HG Monaro GTS

Released on 26 July 1970, the HG Monaro was the last of the original coupe design concept. HG had cleaner lines with brightwork reduced and some re-designed. The HG sported different striping (delete options) which were known as "sidewinder" stripes which rang along the top edge of the fenders, under the windows and finishing just before the rear pillar. The "Monaro" badge on both rear pillars was introduced to all models. For the HG GTS, the "GTS" badges now featured black paint fill, received new black-out paint on rocker panels, with the GTS 350 getting bold treatment with new "sidewinder" stripes and bonnet scoop black-outs. "GTS 350" designations now featured gutsier decals on the fenders and boot lid. Wheel arch moldings were deleted on all models. The "GTS 350" models no longer had the 350 Chevrolet badge on the fender, but rather a bold decal stating "350" as well as blackouts that covered the air-vents on the bonnet. The GTS badge originally above the gills in the fenders would be removed and would now be black instead of red (with the badges being placed on the passenger side of the grille and boot). The taillights had a cleaner look and the grille was redesigned.

Most mechanical specifications remained the same as HT series, with the exception of Monaro GTS (non-350), which had softened suspension, resulting in a smoother ride. Manual HG GTS 350 retained the suspension from the HT GTS 350. Other upgrades included thicker (HT GTS 350 style) power front disc brakes, now standard for all V8 and the 6-cylinder Monaro GTS. The HG would be the final model for the generation and the last to use the original body shell.[3]

Export program[edit]

HT series Monaros were assembled in South Africa from imported parts by General Motors South Africa (GMSA) at the Port Elizabeth assembly plant.[4] Later the HG series Monaro was assembled and sold in South Africa badged as the Chevrolet SS.[4] At this time GMSA had made a decision to market most of its products as Chevrolets. The Chevrolet SS had revised front styling unique to that model, incorporating four headlights and large turn indicators in the front edge of the fenders above the bumper.[5] The Holden Monaro and Chevrolet SS models were both available with Holden 308 in3 (5.0L) and the Chevrolet 350 in3 (5.7 L) engines.[4] South African sales totalled 1828 Monaros and 1182 SS models.[4]

Second generation (1971–1977)[edit]

Second generation
Holden HQ Monaro GTS Coupe (1).JPG
Holden HQ Monaro GTS coupe
Overview
Production 1971—1977
Powertrain
Engine L6 173 in3 (2.85L) (base model)
L6 202 in3 (3.3 L) (LS model)
V8 253 in3 (4.2 L)
V8 308 in3 (5.0 L)
V8 350 in3 (5.7 L) (GTS model)

HQ[edit]

A completely new generation body design emerged with the HQ series in July 1971, including the new Monaro 'LS' (commonly believed to mean "Luxury Sports") model which featured four headlights and chrome trim rings taken from the Holden Premier sedan. There were no longer any six-cylinder versions of the Monaro GTS, just 253 or optional 308 V8s or the top level GTS350 coupe. The base model Monaro standard engine was enlarged to 173 in3 (2,830 cc) whilst the Monaro LS had a broad spectrum of engine options from a 202 in3 (3,310 cc) six to the 350 in3 (5,700 cc) V8. The new coupe design had a much larger rear window and a squarer rear quarter window; it was somehow seen as not as sporty looking compared to the earlier HK-HT-HG series, but is often now considered one of the best looking body designs to come from an Australian producer.

Holden HQ Monaro sedan
Holden HQ Monaro coupe

Up until 1973, the HQ Monaro GTS did not wear any body stripe ornamentation and the 350 cubic inch (5.74 L) Chevrolet Small-Block V8 engine was a little less potent than in previous HT/HG versions, especially with the optional Turbo-hydramatic 3-speed automatic transmission. This, and the fact that the same 350 engine was also available as on option in the large Statesman luxury sedan, probably contributed to a downgrade of the Monaro GTS range in muscular image terms, as did the replacement of the bigger coupes with the six-cylinder Holden Torana GTR XU-1 as the chosen GM car for Australian touring car racing. The introduction of bonnet and bootlid paint-outs in 1973 coincided with the release of the HQ Monaro GTS in four-door-sedan configuration. It is generally considered that Holden created the bold contrasting paint-outs in order that the new Monaro GTS sedan would not be mistaken for the humble Kingswood sedan upon which it was based.

The continued erosion of the GTS350 cachet was compounded by the deletion of specific '350' decals on the post-1973 cars, with all Monaro GTS coupes and sedans now being externally labelled with the generic HQ series 'V8' bootlid badge. In the final year of HQ production, i.e. 1974, the manual transmission version of the GTS350 was discontinued and sales of the automatic version were minimal prior to the engine option being quietly and unceremoniously deleted.

A factory 350 HQ GTS Monaro is very valuable today, with a 350 sedan fetching as much as AUD$50,000, and close to AUD$100,000 for a 350 GTS Coupe.

HJ[edit]

A heavy facelift and some model rationalisation was applied to the HJ Monaro, which was released in October 1974.[6] The 350 V8 engine option and the base Monaro coupe were both discontinued.[6] The Monaro GTS continued to be available as a coupe or sedan with 253 in3 (4,150 cc) V8 power, or the optional 308 in3 (5,050 cc) V8 engine. The GTS sedan was now a model of its own—in HQ the GTS sedan was an optioned Kingswood. The Monaro LS coupe also continued within the range, but still with the 3.3-litre six-cylinder engine as its base power unit.

Holden HJ Monaro sedan
Holden HJ Monaro coupe

The body paint-outs were discontinued in the HJ Monaro GTS range, but for the first time, the Monaro could be dressed up with optional front and rear spoilers. It seemed that Holden were no longer interested in promoting the Monaro GTS coupe as a performance machine and this became all the more obvious with the HJ coupe series having retained the HQ model's rear body styling.

The HJ Monaro LS coupe is close to being the rarest regular production car ever made in Australia with only 337 units[7] produced. The HJ Monaro GTS coupe was discontinued during 1975 due to falling demand,[6] 606 examples having been produced.[7]

HX[edit]

New emissions regulations heralded the mildly facelifted HX Monaro GTS sedan, announced in July 1976.[8] The HX was quite distinguishable, with liberal splashes of black paintouts contrasted against a range of bold body colours, and a choice of traditional chrome or body painted bumper bars.

Holden HX Monaro sedan
Holden HX Limited Edition ("LE") coupe
Limited Edition

Holden found that it held more HJ coupe bodyshells than could easily be expended as "spare parts". The solution was to create the HZ Limited Edition, or 'LE', which was released on 27 September 1976.[9] All were painted an exclusive metallic colour called LE Red. The LE was not badged or officially referred to as a Monaro.[10] The LE was an amalgam of prestige and surplus parts (including an eight-track cartridge player well after cassette tapes were common), in effect a combination of Monaro GTS and Statesman Caprice components. The LE had a price tag to match: AUD$11,500. The cars were built at the now-defunct Pagewood (Sydney) plant. Production totalled 580 vehicles.[11] The distinctive US sourced honeycomb wheels fitted to the LE, which resembled those of the second generation Pontiac Firebird, were created by a plastic mould adhered to the outside of conventional steel wheel rims. These were a gold painted version of the same wheel that had been available as an option on passenger vehicles since HJ release. The front end styling of this pillarless hardtop resembles a smaller-scale 1971 U.S. specification Chevrolet Caprice.

HZ[edit]

Although the Monaro name had survived into 1977 as the HX Monaro GTS sedan, the coupe configuration was no longer in production and Holden decided to delete the Monaro name altogether from the new Holden HZ range.[12] With the development of Radial Tuned Suspension, Holden transformed the bland characteristics of their full-size sedans and introduced a sporting variant called simply Holden GTS.[13] Released on 5 October 1977,[14] this HZ variant featured a four headlight grille, front and rear air dams, four-wheel disc brakes, sports wheels and a 4.2-litre V8 engine as standard equipment.[13] The optional 5.0-litre V8[13] became standard in June 1978.[14] But, with the November 1978 introduction of the new mid/full-size VB Commodore sedan and its availability with V8 engine power, the days of the HZ series appeared numbered. Production of the GTS ceased in December 1978,[14] an estimated 1,438 having been built.[14]

Holden HZ Monaro GTS

Ultimately, the VB Commodore proved very popular in both six-cylinder and V8 form, such that all full-size HZ Holdens passenger cars were phased out of production in 1980. Remnants of the H-series lived on in the Holden WB series commercial vehicle range and in the revamped Statesman WB sedans until 1985.

Third generation (2001–2005)[edit]

Third generation
2003-2004 Holden V2 Monaro CV8 R coupe 02.jpg
2003–2004 Holden V2 Monaro CV8 R
Overview
Also called Vauxhall Monaro
Pontiac GTO
Chevrolet Lumina Coupe
Production 2001–2006
Body and chassis
Related Bitter CD2
Powertrain
Engine V6 supercharged 3.8 L (232 in3) (CV6 model 2001–2004)
V8 5.7 L (346 in3) (CV8 model)
Transmission 6-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Some 20 years had passed before a third-generation Monaro would reappear in showrooms in 2001, following the overwhelming response of the public and media to the VT-based Holden Coupé concept displayed at the 1998 Australian International Motor Show held in Sydney. The third generation's span from 2001 to production June 2006, with HSV variants on sale until August 2006.

V2[edit]

After a gestation period of 22 months (contrary to the planned 12 to 18 months) and at a cost of A$60 million, Holden launched the V2-series Monaro based on the VX-series Commodore. It was available in CV6 with a supercharged 3.8 L V6 supplied with a 4-speed automatic transmission only (production ceased in mid-2004) and CV8 model featuring the 5.7 L Gen III V8, with a choice of a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic gearbox. A Series 2 model debuted in early 2003 with a revised dashboard from the VY-series Commodore, a new wheel design and some colours dropped and new ones added. The CV6 model was dropped after disappointing sales (reputedly 10 times as many Monaros were built as CV8s) when a Series 3 model appeared in 2004.

Two special edition CV8-R Monaros were released: the first, in a grey colour; the second, in a more muted red. Each had special edition wheels and other distinguishing features.

2001-2002 Holden V2 Monaro CV8


VZ[edit]

Holden VZ Monaro CV8
2004–2005 Holden VZ Monaro CV8

In late 2004, Holden introduced the VZ range of Commodore vehicles which in 2005 were upgraded to feature the 6.0-litre L76 V8 engine in SS sedans and other variants. The Monaro CV8 was similarly upgraded and also received revised front and rear bumper assemblies, to be now referred to as the VZ Monaro CV8. The revised rear bumper and new ducted bonnet pressing would soon find their way onto the export Pontiac GTO. However, in July 2005, Holden announced that production of the current generation Monaro CV8 would soon be coming to an end. A run of 1100 of a limited-edition model, called the CV8-Z, was produced to farewell the legendary Monaro name, much as had been done with the LE coupe back in 1976. The CV8-Z had unique features including special wheels and a sunroof along with a choice of body colours, including a bold new orange/gold metallic called 'Fusion'.

The last Holden Monaro-badged coupe was purchased by Emerald, Queensland businessman Darryl Mattingley for A$187,355.55— around three times the normal retail price, on 19 February 2006. The car was bought through eBay,[15] with the money going to the Leukaemia Foundation, setting an Australian eBay record for highest price to date in the process. Mattingley, a huge Ford collector, has stated that his only Holden will not be registered, but will make appearances at auto shows.

HSV range[edit]

HSV Coupé GTO (V2)

The HSV Coupé is a high performance grand tourer which was produced by Holden Special Vehicles in Australia from 2001 to 2006. It was based originally based on the Monaro V2 series.

As in the case of the Commodore-based HSV sedan range, the Coupé's body was built at the Holden manufacturing plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, and then transported and modified at HSV's Clayton production facility.[16] The initial range consisted of two models, the GTO and GTS, which were differentiated by their engine and exterior design. The entry-level GTO[17] was originally powered by a 255 kW (347 PS; 342 bhp) Chevrolet LS1 V8 engine, whereas the GTS had a 300 kW (408 PS; 402 bhp) featured a Callaway) C4B V8 engine producing 300 kW (408 PS; 402 bhp). Externally, the GTS differed from the GTO in having contrasting colour accents on the bumpers and side skirts.[18]

The GTO engine output increased to 260 kW in the Series II upgrade of March 2003, and 285 kW with the Series III upgrade of September 2003. Other additions brought by the latter upgrade included a revised exhaust system and extra cabin instrumentation.[19] Between September 2003 to July 2004, a GTO LE (Limited Edition) was also on sale.[20]

With the Series III upgrade, the GTS became a special order only model[19] and was discontinued in 2004. In May of that year, HSV launched the new luxury-oriented Coupé4, which was essentially a modified Pontiac GTO fitted with HSV's first all-wheel-drive system and cost A$89,950.[16] Due to powertrain limitations, it was powered by the older 270 kW LS1 engine[21] and the all-wheel-drive system was developed in-house by HSV rather than being an adaptation of the then existing system used by Holden on its Adventra wagon or Crewman and Cross 8 utility range.[21] Conjecture surrounds the total number of Coupé4s built, claimed to be 134 units (28 Series III models; 106 VZ; 6 pilot cars) of which 20 were exported to New Zealand[22] available only in Phantom Black, Quicksilver and Sting Red.[16]

The Z-Series facelift of October 2004 aligned the GTO's engine output to the other HSV Z-Series models.[19] It featured a 297KW 6.0 litre LS2 engine, a boot-mounted fuel tank, dual exhaust pipes, new bonnet scoops, and revised manual and automatic gearboxes.[19] In line with the announcement made by Holden in July 2015 about the Monaro end of production, HSV again released a GTO LE from April 2006 (featuring three body colour and stripe combinations for just 50 units in black, 25 in yellow and 25 in red) plus a new limited edition, the GTO Signature (with a total production of 70 units), announced in July 2006 and for sale in August 2006.[19][23] The latter retailed for A$83,990 plus on road costs.[24]

Export program[edit]

The third generation Monaro was exported to several overseas markets. It was sold as a right hand drive in South Africa as the Chevrolet Lumina. It was also sold, in left hand drive, in the Middle East as the Chevrolet Lumina Coupe, and in the United States as the Pontiac GTO, reviving another classic muscle car icon. However, at least one commentator[25] has described it as a 'flop' because of its poor US sales. It was withdrawn from the US market in 2006, although a few were still on dealers' lots in 2007.

Pontiac GTO[edit]

Main article: Pontiac GTO
2006 Pontiac GTO

Complaints from American consumers[26] about the Pontiac GTO's more modern styling saw the addition of two hood scoops in 2005 with the VZ series Monaro to recall the later muscle-car variants of the late 1960s' models; the hood scoops vent in cool air to the engine bay but do not directly feed the engine. In the eyes of the Australian press, the scoops have spoiled the lines,[27] while the American media seemed to accept them. The 2005 and 2006 GTO also received a Gen IV 6.0 L engine putting out 400 hp (298 kW); the Australian HSV GTO coupe got a similar engine in its Z series; and Vauxhall launched this as the Monaro VXR in the UK.

The 40,808th GTO built became the very last Monaro-based unit built by Holden.[28]

Vauxhall Monaro[edit]

Vauxhall Monaro VXR
Vauxhall Monaro VXR

The Monaro was also sold in the United Kingdom as the Vauxhall Monaro where it won Top Gear's best muscle car award.

Vauxhall offered the Monaro buyer a limited edition prior to discontinuation of the model: the VXR 500. A Harrop supercharger was installed onto the standard GM 6.0 LS2 engine by Vauxhall dealer Greens of Rainham[29] in conjunction with tuning firm Wortec,[30] increasing power to 507 PS (373 kW; 500 bhp) and torque to 677 N·m (500 lbf·ft). In addition to this, a shorter gear linkage was added to enable quicker shifts. The resultant 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) was 4.8 seconds.[31]

With the end of production, Vauxhall opted to replace the Monaro in 2007 with a version of the HSV Clubsport R8 4-door sedan. The new model sports sedan is simply referred to as the Vauxhall VXR8.

Concepts[edit]

1980s VH project[edit]

The possibility briefly existed in the early 1980s for a revival of the Monaro badge based on a combination of the Holden VH Commodore and the Opel Monza. With serious exploration of the concept, a Monza was shipped to Australia by Peter Brock but the project was shelved as Holden was more preoccupied, at the time, with engineering work to revamp the Statesman and Gemini range as well as with the launch of the JB Camira.[32]

1998 Coupé[edit]

This concept car, codenamed Matilda, emerged 20 years after the last Monaro coupé. Publicly displayed at the 1998 Sydney Motor Show, the two-door Coupé was based on the then existing VT-series Holden Commodore, which, in turn, was based on a modified platform of the European Opel Omega B. Journalists quickly christened it the Monaro and orders came flooding in, thus encouraging Holden to produce it. The production model - the third generation Monaro, known as the V2 series - was eventually launched in 2004, by then based on the Holden VX Commodore.

2002 HRT 427[edit]

Displayed at the 2002 Sydney Motor Show, the HRT 427 based on a modified Monaro bodyshell. The MacPherson strut front suspension was replaced by an aluminium double A-arm setup with adjustable dampers and a weight reduction program - including a carbon fibre bonnet and magnesium wheels - brought the car's weight down to just 1575 kg (3472 lb).[33] The name was derived from the engine used,[34] a 427 cubic inches (7,000 cm3) (7.0-Litre) V8 engine from the Corvette C5-R (based on the GM LS7 design), producing 417.6 kW (560 bhp) @ 6000 rpm. This powerplant was built by Melbourne-based John Sidney Racing, renowned for its success in the Australian Sprintcar and NASCAR series. The transmission used was a custom Tremec T56 M12 six-speed manual gearbox with a heavy-duty 900 N·m clutch, endowning the car with a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) spring in 4.4 second and a top speed of 299 km/h (186 mph). Other unique fittings included: AP Racing six-piston racing brakes; ram air induction; Motec instrument panel; two Sparco Pro 2000 seats; half roll cage.[33][35]

Originally intended to be put into production as competition against vehicles such as the Porsche 911 GT2, it soon became apparent to Holden that the high specification HRT 427 could not be built in such limited quantities for the original A$215,000 asking price.[36] As a result, the project was eventually cancelled and all customer deposits received refunded.

The only HRT 427's in existence are two road cars and four racing versions (the latter built by Garry Rogers Motorsport for use in the short-lived Bathurst 24 Hour race and Australian Nations Cup Championship), each of which cost about A$500,000 to build. The road cars had a reported 420 kW (571 PS; 563 hp) of power and 780 N·m (580 lb·ft) of torque. One of these is not for sale and has remained within Holden's concept car collection. In April 2008, the other road car was sold to the Cairns car collector, Shawn Ryan. It has since been inaccurately stated in the media that he paid the record-breaking price of A$920,000, making it the most expensive Australian car ever sold. In reality, however, the quoted price tag was for both an HRT 427 and the first HSV VS GTS-R ever built. The portion of that figure attributable to the HRT 427 is estimated at $790,000.[37] In June 2010, the concept car was re-sold at auction in Sydney to an anonymous Queensland buyer at the far lower price of A$350,000.[38] The four racing cars have likewise made their way into collections, with their racing careers shortened by regulation changes.

The interest in the HRT 427 was such that, in 2008, its spiritual production version became the HSV W427 sedan built to celebrate HSV's 20th anniversary. In addition, in 2004, a more affordable racing coupé version reemerged in the form of the HSV GTS-R.

2004 Convertible[edit]

Although the Holden Monaro 4-seater convertible, codenamed Marilyn, was a fully operational one-off concept car, it was never intended to reach production. It was built in 2004 in left hand drive by TWR Engineering at a reported cost of A$2 million.[39][40]

2004 HSV GTS-R[edit]

This concept car, codenamed P120, was unveiled at 2004 Sydney Motor Show. Similarities could be drawn with the HRT 427, however, the GTS-R was never intended for road-use but for a one-make racing series. Its more aggressive appearance was achieved through the use of a large front airdam, xenon headlights, LED rear lights, active carbon fiber rear spoiler and rear diffuser. The GTS-R was powered by a modified version of Chevrolet's LS2 V8 engine producing 335 kW (455 PS; 449 hp). Other features included carbon ceramic disc brakes, rollcage, side-exiting exhausts and 19-inch ROH alloy wheels. The concept never reached production.[35]

2008 Coupé 60[edit]

2008 Holden Coupe 60 concept car
Main article: Holden Coupe 60

This VE Commodore-based concept was presented at the Melbourne Motorshow in 2008 to celebrate Holden's 60th anniversary. It cost A$2.5 million to build[41] but never reached production.

2013 VF project[edit]

In 2013, the Australian media became aware of a "VF Monaro" digital rendering posted online by design firm, Dsine International, which also saw the input of Holden designers, Simon Gow and Peter Hughes. It remained only a rendering with no production prospects, thanks to the existence, at that time, of the larger volume selling fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro, which was based on the same Zeta platform of the VE-VF Commodore.[42]

Motorsport[edit]

A pair of Monaro GT racecars powered by an Australian built version of the 427 cu in Corvette C5-R engine was built by Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM) to compete in the Australian Nations Cup Championship and won the 2002 and 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour races. This car is often confused for being the 'track' version of the HRT 427, but the racing program headed by then-Holden Motorsport Manager John Stevenson was announced many months before the HRT 427 was revealed to the press and public.

In fact, the first GRM-built car in 'nuclear banana' yellow underwent shakedown laps at Calder Park before a half day's testing at Winton wearing the race number "427". It was then shown to the media and public at the Bathurst 1000 race a week before the HRT 427 was unveiled at the 2002 Sydney Motor Show. Much to the displeasure of V8 Supercars event organisers, Garth Tander drove a lap of the Mt Panorama circuit in the rain, as part of Holden Motorsport's buying track time to promote the 'rival' 24 Hour race event. So as not to preempt the HRT 427's launch the following week, for its sneak Bathurst 1000 unveiling, the yellow Monaro wore the GRM race number "34", reverting to "427" for the 24 Hour race.

The HRT 427 won both the first and last races it competed in. Garth Tander, Steven Richards, Cameron McConville and Nathan Pretty drove the car to a debut win in the 2002 Bathurst 24 Hour, while James Brock - son of legendary driver Peter Brock - drove the third and last 427 Monaro built by GRM to victory in the final race of the 2004 Nations Cup at the Mallala Circuit in South Australia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ewan Kennedy: Holden The Classic Models. Marque Publishing Company, Blakehurst 1997. ISBN 0-947079-55-6, p. 53-90.
  2. ^ Norm Darwin, Monaro Magic, 2010, page 39
  3. ^ Spotlight on Holden Monaro by Tony Davis
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  8. ^ Norm Darwin, Monaro Magic, 2010, page 153
  9. ^ Norm Darwin, Monaro Magic, 2010, page 163
  10. ^ Holden HX Limited Edition sales brochure H591 of July 1976
  11. ^ Norm Darwin, Monaro Magic, 2010, page 154
  12. ^ The GTS Lives On, Motor Manual, May 1978, page 32
  13. ^ a b c Holden HZ GTS sales brochure H666 of September 1977
  14. ^ a b c d Norm Darwin, Monaro Magic, 2010, page 169
  15. ^ Dowling, Joshua (2006-03-03). "Ford man buys last Monaro". drive.com.au. 
  16. ^ a b c "4-midable credentials". news.com.au. 23 July 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "VY Coupe GTO". Holden Special Vehicles. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  18. ^ Glenn Butler, HSV GTO & GTS Coupe, Saturday, 1 December 2001, www.motoring.com.au
  19. ^ a b c d e HSV V2/VZ Coupe GTO (2002-06), February 2008, www.motoring.com.au
  20. ^ HSV GTO Coupé Series 3 Press Release, www.hsv.com.au Retrieved on 20 February 2014
  21. ^ a b "Holden HSV Coupe 4". The Australian. news.com.au. 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  22. ^ Norm Darwin: Monaro Magic. Hand Publishing, February 2013
  23. ^ Holden Monaro Now and then History As archived on 20 February 2014
  24. ^ "Coupé signs off with a Signature". HSV. 7 August 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  25. ^ Farago, Robert (2007-09-03). "General Motors Death Watch 144: Nolo Contendere". The Truth About Cars. 
  26. ^ Sean Mattingly. "ULTIMATE PONTIAC GTO PICTURE SITE Monaro news #10". Ultimategto.com. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  27. ^ McKinnon, Bill (2005-02-18). "New Car Road Test Holden VZ Monaro". 
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  29. ^ [1] Greens of Rainham
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  31. ^ "Vauxhall Monaro VXR 500 vs Jaguar XKR". 
  32. ^ Kenwright, Joe. "VH Monaro SS: Holden's Stillborn Supercar". Australian Muscle Car (Lane Cove: Chevron Publishing Group) (40): 34–44. ISSN 1039-4516. 
  33. ^ a b "HSV HRT 427 Concept". supercars.net. 
  34. ^ http://www.quickstep.com.au/newsMedia/media/hsv1.pdf
  35. ^ a b "HSV Concept Cars". Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  36. ^ "Prototypes and Concept Cars > Holden HRT 427". Hot Rods Down Under. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  37. ^ "Urban legends". MOTOR (Sydney, N.S.W: acp magazines) (August): 6. 2010. ISSN 0026-8143. 
  38. ^ http://www.carsguide.com.au/site/news-and-reviews/car-news/350k_snares_holden_hrt_427?from=ms
  39. ^ "2004 Holden Monaro Marilyn Concept". Seriouswheels.com. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  40. ^ "Marilyn - Holden's Convertible Monaro". Web Wombat. Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
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  42. ^ "Holden VF Monaro coupe would look like this". AutoBlog.com.au. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 

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