Holden Monaro History
Identify Holden Monaro cars. While looking for information on my old Holden, I realised that data on original equipment and model specifications was hard to find. At the same time, photos documenting original Holden cars on the internet are rare. To this end, I have put together an image library of GM Holden cars from 1948 to the present day. Some pictures copyright GM.
The HK Holden Monaro was a massive step forward for Holden in terms of classic American sports car styling as well as a huge set of options that each car could be ordered with. The base-model Monaro was available with a puny six cylinder motor but things got racy with either the 5 litre (307 cubic inch) Chevrolet V8 or the top of the range GTS model which could be ordered with the mighty 327 cubic inch small-block Chevrolet engine.
In concept, the HK Monaro was sketched in 1964 by Peter Nankervis including the full-width tail lights. An image of this is on the cover of the 1968 Holden Annual Report.
Of course, no single designer was responsible for the cars of that era. The HK was designed by a team while Joe Schemansky was GM-H Director of Design. Joe's first project at Holden was the HR Holden when he was asked to quickly revise the HD. Interestingly, Schemansky came from GM in the US where he designed the 1959 Pontiac; check that out in Google. Totally radical!
Early clay models were labelled Torana and it wasn't until late 1967 that the Monaro name was chosen. It was named after a region in New South Wales, Australia and was developed to help Holden win the Australian Touring Car Championship including the famous race at Bathurst.
The HK Monaro was updated quickly to address performance improvements in the competition so it came with a host of upgrades. This also makes the HK Monaro highly sought after because they were both very expensive at the time and were only made for eleven months.
The 327 was replaced with the 350 Chev V8 and the Holden 253 and 308 cubic inch V8s were introduced. HT Monaros were also assembled in South Africa and sold as the Chevrolet SS and were available with both the Holden 308 and Chevrolet 350 V8 engine options there.
Updated after only twelve months, the HG Monaro was introduced a few subtle changes to the trim, stripes and badging and also brought improvements in braking performance.
The HQ Monaro started the second generation body style and could be optioned with the aussie Holden six cylinder and V8 engines as well as the 350 Chev motor, albeit in slightly less performance-oriented form. At this time the factory team was developing the Holden Torana for Touring Car racing so development was minimal and features were emphasised over sportiness.
The LS model included luxury options like tinted glass and an electric aerial. The GTS 350 was the top of the range in terms of performance and price.
The HJ continued to use the same body as the previous HQ model but used the new front sheet metal from the HJ. The cowl, dashboard and interior were all updated in line with the new model and it could be optioned with both front and rear spoilers. The 350 Chev engine was discontinued making the HQ GTS 350 very sought after by collectors due to it's rarity.
Very few HJ coupes were ordered and the aussie tradition of high performance four-door V8 sedans continued with the HJ. The HJ could also be ordered with black out stripes on the bonnet but in a new wider pattern than the HQ.
The HX Monaro was a minor update but sales of the 2-door coupe models were slow. The practical four-door sedan was the clear favourite with buyers so to clear the remaining stock of coupe bodies, Holden released a limited edition Monaro coupe designated the LE.
The LE used parts from various prestige models including Monaro and Caprice models and strangely, Pontiac-like honeycomb wheel covers.
Most HX Monaros were sold as 4-door sedans labelled the GTS. Body-colour painted bumpers were available as an option.
HZ Monaro (GTS)
The coupe was discontinued with the HX so the HZ was only available in sedan form. The HZ Monaro was not actually called a Monaro, it's official title was the Holden GTS sedan.
At least it finally handled like a performance sedan should; the addition of radial tuned suspension (RTS) across the range, helped the handling immensely.
It wasn't until the popularity of the VT Commodore in the late '90s that GM Holden had sufficient funds and sufficient demand had built up to justify several different body shell variants of the very popular new Commodore. Most interesting was the Monaro but there was also tray-back and four-door utilities as well as 4-wheel drive station wagon variants.