The first-generation Holden Monaro, inspired in design and performance by the popular American muscle cars, arrived on the scene in 1968 and took a dominant position in the Australian car market.
Its unique look was inspired by the designs of American cars in the GM stable including the Camero and Corvair. First introduced in July 1968 as a two-door pillarless hardtop design, it was available in three models: Base, GTS and GTS327.
The GTS versions had the full instrumentation installed which included a tachometer mounted on the centre console. This proved to be a bad location, as the driver’s knee would obstruct the view and it often rattled.
Now on display at Shepparton Museum of Vehicle Evolution, this beautifully restored version first made its debut at the 2020 Victorian Hot Rod Show.
In its day, the Monaro could be ordered with a choice of a 161 cubic inch, straight six, a 186 cubic inch straight six, a Chevrolet 307 cubic inch V8 engine or the bigger, Chevrolet 327 cubic V8 producing 250hp (186kW).
The HK Monaro GTS327 gave Holden its first victory in the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500 at the hands of Bruce McPhee and co-driver Barry Mulholland. While 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.
In early 1969, the HK Monaro range was awarded Wheels magazine’s Car of the Year for 1968.