This car has an interesting history, particularly for me since it was bought from Manthel Motors in Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. My Dad worked there at the time! It still has the Manthel Motors sticker on the back window from new.

All 2-door Monaros in New Zealand were imported from Australia fully built up. The sedan models were assembled in Trentham, Upper Hutt.

First registered on the 24th April 1972 in Wanganui, it would have been one of the first HQ Monaros cruising around New Zealand. It started life as a Luxury Sport model or LS Monaro. The factory 253 V8, Trimatic and a cream coloured vinyl roof is not particularly fashionable now but for its day, it had quite a few sought-after options like tinted windows, tacho, clock, electric windows, power steering, power brakes and additional LS stainless steel trim along the wheel arches and sills as well as the (at that time) ubiquitous vinyl roof. It was rebuilt completely when still a relatively new car and was destined to have every possible bolt-on added early in its life. 

The early history of this Monaro is a bit murky but some details have emerged recently. Mike Scanlan was manager of Manthel Motors in Upper Hutt and he bought it from a lady in Wanganui and used it as his company car for a few months. Peter Silk owned it for a while before selling it for $17,000. Peter might have been a bit surprised when he got the ownership papers to find it already had a few owners. He would have kept it but it was a lot of money at the time and sold it for $10,000 more than it cost new! He was pleased when Robin Silk bought it as he had fond memories of it and it went to a good home. Robin Silk is a well-known drag–racer who was an employee at General Motors, Trentham in Wellington and is now working in San Diego at the SoCal Speed Shop. 

A long list of factory accessories were installed on the car. It was fitted with GTS option gauges on the LS woodgrain dash, glovebox light and vanity mirror, bumper over-riders, door handle protectors, boot (trunk) light, interior chrome door pullers, electric aerial, electric clock, electric windows, rear window demister, tinted glass, GTS steering wheel and rare original switchgear for the electric aerial and rear window demister. Many options of this type are standard on cars now but in the 70s, this was luxury! The car was displayed in several car shows but many of the bolt-ons would be considered bloody awful now – imagine a Monaro with a big chrome roof rack!

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350SB Chev, TH350 Auto, 9” Diff

350SB Chev, TH350 Auto, 9” Diff

Mark Coffey aquired the car in August 1987 around about the same time I got my 57 Chev and he looked after it for another eight years until i bought it in 1995. Mark was responsible for the 454 big block Chev and TH400 that found its way in there and the car was drag raced for several years. The engine combination was pretty serious and ran low eleven-second passes on DOT Hoosiers when these first became common in drag racing around the late eighties/early nineties. Most of this racing was at the now defunct Thunderpark International Dragway, Highway 50, Hastings. The car also had several trips to both the New Plymouth and Port Road Wellington Street Drags.

I remember following Mark while driving up to Hastings in my blown small block 57 Chev...aaah...those were the days – had to stop TWICE for gas to get from Wellington to Hastings. Mark was also responsible for painting over the green, with a custom silver with a dash of blue tinter.

The trim tag shows it’s a 1972 HQ Holden Monaro LS - a pre-September 1972 V8 coupe, the 21992nd car assembled at the Pagewood plant in Sydney.  I bought her in September 1995. By the time I got her, the big block was gone. That motor was destined to be installed in Marks 34 Chev sedan only to be replaced by a 2006 GM big block 572 cubic inch monster. Anyway, the Monaro had a stock small block Chevy "runner" motor when I first got her and a TH350 with a shift kit. I used it as my daily driver for a year and she had to cope with the rush hour traffic for at least 40 thousand kilometres. By 1997 the motor was very second-hand, having done an unknown number of miles prior to purchase so it was time for a rebuild.  During the rebuild, it was discovered that the block had a stock bore but a very bent crank so a new crank was bought and Russ Clark decked and bored the block out 30 thou. A lot of work was done to make sure the motor looked as good as it goes.  I updated the wheels (Simmons FR18), replaced the brakes (drilled and slotted DBA Gold rotors) and HPC coated the suspension. A new paint job in Holden Quicksilver Mica was the last change.

The trim tag shows it’s a 1972 HQ Holden Monaro LS - a pre-September 1972 V8 coupe, the 21992nd car assembled at the Pagewood plant in Sydney.

I bought her in September 1995. By the time I got her, the big block was gone. That motor was destined to be installed in Marks 34 Chev sedan only to be replaced by a 2006 GM big block 572 cubic inch monster. Anyway, the Monaro had a stock small block Chevy "runner" motor when I first got her and a TH350 with a shift kit. I used it as my daily driver for a year and she had to cope with the rush hour traffic for at least 40 thousand kilometres. By 1997 the motor was very second-hand, having done an unknown number of miles prior to purchase so it was time for a rebuild.

During the rebuild, it was discovered that the block had a stock bore but a very bent crank so a new crank was bought and Russ Clark decked and bored the block out 30 thou. A lot of work was done to make sure the motor looked as good as it goes.

I updated the wheels (Simmons FR18), replaced the brakes (drilled and slotted DBA Gold rotors) and HPC coated the suspension. A new paint job in Holden Quicksilver Mica was the last change.

A few pics from today…

A few pics from today…

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Engine Specs 

Chevrolet Small Block 350cu. in. bored 30-thou over (355cu.in.)

TRW flat-top cast pistons installed at zero deck height results in about 10.5:1 compression.

Resized standard rods with ARP bolts

Decked block, no align bore, new (standard spec) crank

Heads: Edelbrock Performer RPM Part #6071 aluminium heads (2.02in. 1.6ex.) angle plug 72cc combustion chambers

3/8" rocker studs, no porting other than original CNC finish, FelPro #1010 head gasket, FelPro intake gasket, Redline exhaust gasket

Intake: Holley 3310 780cfm vac.sec 72 primary jets, 76 secondaries

Weiand 7503 intake manifold port matched to the heads assembled with ARP stainless steel bolt kit.

Crower 00903 Street Beast hydraulic,grind #278H Intake duration 278 degrees .461 lift. Exhaust duration: 284 degrees .468 lift. Intake centerline: 108 degrees installed straight up.

1.5:1 Iskenderian roller rockers.

Competition Cams stock length hardened pushrods with Edelbrock hardened valve guide plates

Pacemaker headers 1 3/4" primaries with 3" collectors HPC coated to a polished 3" stainless steel exhaust with one 2-chamber Flowmaster. great sound!

JP high volume oil pump in a stock sump and pickup using Mobil 1

Stock balancer rebuilt.

Transmission

The GM TH350 trans was completely rebuilt in 2006 with heavy-duty sprag, competition clutches, heavy duty input shaft, stage 2 shift-kit, stock converter split and rebuilt to 2500rpm stall.

Mallory Unilite electronic distributor with Accel 8.8mm leads on Champion 12YC, about 14 degrees initial advance and 32 total degrees of advance.

A Hella 1000cca heavy-duty battery was installed in the boot using 0 gauge welding cable and heavy duty soldered connectors.

Other accessories include a 2kW gear-reduction 11-tooth starter motor from Road Runner, 14"x3" K&N filter, billet aluminium pulleys, billet valve covers, billet trans dust cover and trans sump, aluminium flexi-fan, Commodore cross-flow radiator and custom radiator support shroud and trans cooler. Earls braided hoses are used for the fuel and water with a fabricated stainless-steel top hose for the radiator.