(first posted 9/5/2014) One of the truly fun aspects in writing for CC is finding a car and then being able to tie various experiences or observations to it. The fun twists itself in a savory challenge when setting out to write about a car that you have never seen nor have any prior degree of familiarity.
image source: www.gmauthority.com
Sure, I have seen Holden derived products. The Chevrolet Caprice PPV is making some minor inroads with law enforcement.
Even the Monaro derived Pontiac GTO is seen with some degree of frequency. However, I have never viewed any car with an actual Holden nameplate.
Holden is not a name commonly heard in these parts. Being a resident of the incomparable State of Missouri, Holden is a name that is only heard with mention of former governor Bob Holden. Since he was defeated in his re-election bid nearly a decade ago, the Holden name is starting to fade from memory.
The only other times I ever hear the word “Holden” are when I’m exposed to those unknowingly practicing Mangled English™; examples would be such things as “quit holden the cat by its tail” or “this bra ain’t holden me the way it used to.” It’s just not a commonly heard word.
In that parallel automotive universe known as Australia, the word “Holden” is as commonplace as is “Chevrolet” in North America.
Holden was founded in 1856 as a saddlery manufacturer by James Alexander Holden, an English immigrant to Australia. Established in Adelaide, Holden became a part of General Motors in 1931 and is currently based in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Holden had sold one million cars by 1962 and would sell another half-million in the next six years, employing nearly 25,000 people by 1964. The Holden brand has long been a fixture in the Australian and New Zealand markets (although it didn’t start to export vehicles to New Zealand until the 1950s).
While Holden is a word with a definite source, what in the world is a Monaro? Yes, that purple car is a Monaro, but what does “monaro” mean? As I learned, it is not a simple answer, but it certainly points in a particular direction.
We all know the Aboriginal people have been in Australia infinitely longer than any European and many places in Australia have names reflective of this influence. The official story is GM named the Monaro for the Monaro District in New South Wales. As spelled it means “high grassy plain” or “treeless”. However, it also appears “monaro” is a derivative of the Aboriginal word “maneroo”. While Maneroo was the name of a 19th Century Aboriginal leader in what is now the Monaro area, the word “maneroo” can also refer to a woman’s breasts or the temperature reactive parts thereof.
Knowing this puts a different spin on this advertisement touting the Monaro as being, amongst other things, “one of the most flattering accessories a woman can have”. Whoever wrote this ad copy is either quite naïve or profoundly sly.
Production of the Monaro is modest in comparison to North America, where tens of thousands of any given car model may be sold. The combined population of Australia and New Zealand is quite comparable to the State of Texas and Monaro HG production of 6,147 seems rather healthy in this smaller scale market.
The Monaro seen here is the third and final series of the Monaro’s first generation. The Australian car market does not use model years so much as series and generations of cars; these lettered attachments make for such a rich and unpredictable alphabet soup. In an effort to clarify the Monaro, I am providing a way (of sorts) to remember Monaro nomenclature. Take it for what you will as we all have our way of remembering things, but it has certainly done me favours in remembering the generations.
HK Monaro: The original, introduced in 1968. Upon getting the red-light for production, one co-worker looked at another and asked, “Kicking in for some amber fluid, mate?” Thus the use of the letter K.
The HK was introduced two years after Holden became the first manufacturer in Australia to install seat belts on all it models.
image source: www.wikipedia.org
HT Monaro: This replaced the HK in June 1969. The T stands for “Ta”, Holden’s way of expressing appreciation for the initial success of the HK Monaro.
HG Monaro: This replaced the HT in July 1970. If you look at this Periodic Table, Hg is the chemical symbol for mercury; Mercury is the patron god of financial gain and the Monaro line helped deliver such to Holden.
The unaccustomed, such as myself, need to find a way to make sense of it all. For further immersion on this brew of names, Scott McPherson has a terrific explanation of the process used for the Holden Commodore here.
The primary external physical differences amongst the three series are grille and tail light treatment with the GTS badging on the HG not having the red insert in the badging. The original HK GTS gave the choice of an upgraded 186 cubic inch straight six and a 307 cubic inch V8. The GTS 327 had a Chevrolet sourced 327 cubic inch V8.
Later GTS models would make use of a 350 cubic inch V8 and an Australian produced 308 cubic inch V8.
Apparently, seeing an HG Monaro GTS in a natural state (as opposed to some hideous enhancement, over-restoration, or clone) is as frequent as finding a blue lobster. Plus, what makes this discovery even richer is this particular Monaro GTS isn’t equipped with some predictable V8. No sirree, this goddess in non-original purple is sporting the base offering 186 cubic inch straight six! This was not just any ordinary six banger; no, this 186 is one of the upgraded 186S engines, a power plant that is rare among the ranks of the Monaro GTS legion.
This S makes for a stupendous, savory, seductive symphony of straight-six sound sure to stimulate salivation. Australia knows how to make a durable and powerful straight six; having only about 500 ml of oil in the crankcase likely wouldn’t stop this old girl from making a blazing trail across the Outback. Combine this durability with it being a General Motors engine, where maintenance schedules are merely an idle suggestion, and this 186S engine is appealing on a number of levels.
Take such mechanical goodness, wrap it up in a curvy and attractive shell; it’s no wonder the Monaro GTS is viewed so fondly by our friends in Australia. The reason for the fondness is quite obvious.
One of the best elements about being involved at CC is the profound exposure to cars from other countries combined with the cornucopia of experiences everyone has had with them. An ongoing theme is the resemblance of cars from North America to those from Australia – and vice versa. However, where I will find an Australian car to have design influences from multiple North American manufacturers combined with unique traits, this Monaro does not seem to mimic anything from North America.
Examination might produce a quick whiff of something, like the shape of the window curving toward the C-pillar might momentarily resemble a ’72 Olds Cutlass. Yet as soon as the resemblance is there it quickly disappears. The chrome trim around the headlights may give off a Nova vibe but then it quickly morphs into Dodge Aspen lite, only to morph again into something unique to my eye. The engine emblem, seen above, is undeniably GM derived, but it is still special unto itself.
I find myself drawn to this Monaro much like a koala is drawn to a eucalyptus tree. Fawning over a car isn’t something I do very often, so this Monaro certainly appeals to me in unexpected ways.
If I ever get to Australia, I want to drive the tar out of a Monaro be it a GTS or plain-jane base model. If I can learn to shift with my left hand, that is.
(Special thanks to Don Andreina for providing pictures of this Holden Monaro.)
There’s also some resemblance side and front-on to the contemporay Opel Reckord coupe http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/43733/autowp.ru_opel_commodore_a_coupe_2.jpg
though the back looks more like a cross between the Vauxhall Viva HB and Victor FD.
Basically they sawed an Opel Commodore in half lenghtways widened it and installed the Opel Admiral powertrain which was from Chevrolet along with a few styling changes that was the HKTG model range we had wagons as family cars back when they were new 186 3 on the tree,
The rear end of the purple car reminds me of a AMC Hornet (70 thru 72). The side view contains OPEL Reckord elements (considering this is a GM product, this seems natural). I still have not placed the front end, maybe Chevy Nova, but not Dodge Aspen.
It would be nice if a civilian V6 version of the Chevrolet Caprice was available state side. I realize that the current Impala is also available with a V6, but there are certain advantages to a rear wheel drive platform.
The Hornet is the first thing I thought of when I saw the rear as well.
Yes, definitely Hornet-esque rear. Is it a case of convergent evolution , or espionage? And if the latter, which way, since they are apparently from the same time period?
Same here. Serious Hornet vibe going on with that back end.
Hornet was the first thing I thought as well. Though it could easily be convergent evolution of sorts…
Holdens are pretty thin on the ground in the UK though we had the Monaro coupe and still have VXR8 4 door and wagon sold as Vauxhalls.A few turn up at shows now and again,I’ve not seen as many Holdens as Australian Fords and Chryslers in the UK
I’d like to see a few more Australian and South African cars,there were some interesting cars being made(V8 Capris,Granadas and Sierras from South Africa) and straight 6 Cortinas and Marinas from Australia(despite Bryce’s warnings I have an unhealthy interest in them!)
Gem, I do have another Australian car for which Don sent me pictures. Stay tuned.
Thanks both,looking forward to it
The advert wasn’t ‘ naive ‘ it was 100 % contemporary in 1968 .
I’d love to give this Coupe a go ~ I love I6 powered vehicles .
Is that _Lacquer_ paint ? .
In the 1990’s when the Chevy Impala was huge , I was @ The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles right at dawn and saw a Holden Test Mule being driven by an Engineer who was none too pleased to have been caught out with it and didn’t think I knew what a Holden was .
The car was a finished test mule that had a footlocker sized box in the back seat with a 3/4″ cable snaking from it , up between the split front seat and disappearing under the dashboard .
This was one of those GM full sizers with the skirted rear wheel wells , a beautiful car if ever one was made .
You are correct, the ad is quite contemporary for 1968. My point was that given the origin of the Monaro name, the author of the ad copy either knew the history and was quite sly in how he wrote it or was completely naive as to the origins of the name. I never said the ad itself was naive; in fact, this advertisement does a terrific job of capturing the time.
It captures the time in more ways than just the content. The fact that it’s in black and white is a reminder that Australia was one of the last major industrialized countries to get full-time nationwide color TV. That happened in 1975.
1968 was the year Aboriginal people gained Australian citizenship I often wondered if that had anything to do with the naming of that car, Ive driven the Monaro highway its a high altitude plain oddly enough in a HQ Holden panelvan with a 186 S motor they had a high nickel block same as the 179M, steel crank,highlift cam, factory twin branch header, twinchoke carb, pull well and rev hard, the wrecker in Cobram I sold the remains to didnt want that car untill he opened the bonnet and saw a money 6.
Paul’s comment below about the similarity to ‘Camaro’ is part true. ‘Monaro’ was suggested by a design staffer named Noel Bedford who saw the name on a municipal building whilst on a driving holiday. Apparently early clays were called ‘Torana’.
68 is when the HB Viva based Torana was released GMH was quite busy renaming its entire range the 4 door family hacks got suburb names Kingswood and Belmont, Premier stayed and the new Torana and Monaro debuted and lets not forget the Brougham already laughed at on this site
Brougham. The Kim Kardashian of Holdens. Hehehe
Yes, that close up certainly looks like old lacquer, with all of the scratches. GM used lacquer in the U.S. into the very early 80s, so it would not be surprising that they used it in other markets as well. I once worked for a busy funeral home that ran its vehicles through an automatic car wash almost every morning. After 2 years the silver lacquer paint on the vehicles looked badly worn from the constant beating of the car wash brushes.
It would be lacquer- the ads used to boast about Holden’s Magic Mirror finish.
“It would be lacquer- the ads used to boast about Holden’s Magic Mirror finish”
That is far from original paint. Most likey lacquer, as it was generally used for repair in Austrayla up until around the early 90’s.
Whenever I see old Australian cars I think of Mad Max.
Mr. Shafer, your lack of knowledge of cars not produced in the U.S.A. is truly staggering. Everyone knows that this is not an HG Monaro, but an HG Welles, which would explain how it appeared in Missouri so mysteriously and suddenly.
Personally, I would be so much more impressed if you found one of the older, rarer HE Monaros. Better known as the HE Mon, it was an extremely sturdy, if austere car. It was quite a bit more luxurious, though, than the super low trim HE LL, which was really a horrid place to spend any time at all.
For a brief time, there was talk of a Monaro based wagon, much like the Corvette or Camaro wagons that have been envisioned at various times in the past.
Referred to as the HO Series, the different models were for different trims – they wanted to keep people’s attention. There was the non-air conditioned HO TT, the high performance HO GG, and the broughamy HO LE. Some bean counter in Port Melbourne axed the idea, thinking the HO nomenclature sounded too much like a model railroad. Lost opportunites, indeed.
Had the Holden Monaro based wagon came into fruition, it might probably appear almost identical to the Opel Commodore/Rekord based Chevrolet Opala Wagon.
I want that wagon!
There is a Holden wagon, basically the same as the late sixties Monaro. Here is me with mine in 1976
OOPS! it didn’t work. Here is the link
It looks like your wagon had quite the life!
is not the same car … Australian manufactured their cars in their own way , according to their means , because as their market was little they need to leverage tools and use existing parts Jas … the Brazilian Chevrolet Opala is equal to the German Opel Rekord C , but with a more enhanced suspension and Chevy engine
see in http://oldholden.com/node/56724,
a good response about the subject
“68-70 Monaro;s are a rebadged OPEL rekord C coupe …”
“By aussiblue 13/01/08@11:26
Engines: 1492 cc, 58, later 60 hp (DIN), 1698 cc, 60, later 66 hp (DIN), 1698 cc, 75 hp (DIN), 1897 cc, 90 hp (DIN), 1897 cc, 106 hp (DIN), 2239 cc, 95 hp (DIN)
Kerb weight 2265–2585 lb
Top speed 81–108 mph
How do those dimensions compare to a Monaro’s?
By aussiblue 13/01/08@11:33
Monrao Specs – it was slightly larger and heavier…… and much more powerful.
Length – 4699mm, Width – 1816mm, Wheelbase – 2819mm
1,300kg, 1,333kg (GTS), 1,495kg (GTS 327)
Wheelbase Monaro – All 111in.
Overall Length Monaro – All 184.8in.
Overall Height (At Kerb Weight) Monaro – All 54.9in.
Overall Width (Maximum) Monaro – All 71.8in.
Front track Monaro – All 57.12in.
Rear track Monaro – All 57.12in.
Kerb weight Monaro 2866 lbs
Monaro GTS 2940 lbs
Monaro GTS 327 3295 lbs
Turning circle Monaro and GTS 36.5 ft
Monaro GTS 327 39.5 ft
Clearance, Exhaust System to Ground (at load design) Monaro 7.2 in.”
Holden hg did come as a wagon base model called a Belmont , mid range called a kingswood flagship was called brougham. Engines started with a 161 ci6 186 ci6 253 civ8 308 civ8 350 civ8
If I had to guess I would say this car may have been caught in a hail storm judging by the damage on the roof, and repaired poorly. The 186 was an upgrade from the base 161 engine.
Having read the explanation between different Monaro models, I can only say that the old Packard “____ series” nomenclature is simple by comparison. And logical.
If I had to guess I would say this car may have been caught in a hail storm judging by the damage on the roof, and repaired poorly. I dont think it this is a factory color either.
The 186 was an upgrade from the base 161 engine. Another point is the production number illustrates how poorly coupes sold in Australia – it was part of 155,000 total production of all Holdens in the 12 month run of the HG model. This was twice as many Ford Falcons and three times as many Chrysler Valiants.
To add to the background, the first Holden car was not built until late 1948. Prior to that Holden built other GM products with locally-built bodies.
I didn’t think it was a factory colour, either. All the GTS cues are there including the interior but talk above of lacquer paint makes me think this was a respray before even Street Machine got a hold of these. Those dog dishes are the only other thing that throws me. Either they were available on the GTS or replaced (stolen?) at some point.
Holden began using acrylic laquer ‘Duco’ in 63 on the EH the cracking on the leading edge of the roof lines up with the dents in the bonnet its flown up at speed sometime. Holdens also began using bog to dress seams instead of lead for less reaction with paint EH has one C pillar in lead one in bog the lead one always cracks
I reckon the dog dishes are replacements – I seem to recall the GTS had a pressed styled full cover. Of course, this car could just have GTS badges …
Don’t recall the Monaro badge on the rear pillar.
Yep it could be a non-GTS, but the black quilted drivers seat visible in the roof pic tells me its a GTS. Common for someone to cut in the gills and replace the bonnet, but going to the effort of a GTS-correct retrim doesn’t fit with keeping it a 186.
Theres an outfit in Sydney that will press GTS gills into anything you bring in
Bear in mind the correct HG dog dishes have red centres white for HT and black for HK, just sayin
Very nice write up, Jason. Looking at our cars through the eyes of the world gives them sort of a second life for me. And an opportunity to learn more. Maneroo, huh? Never knew.
It’s amazing what one can learn through research. I’m just trying to make the world a cheerier place.
Perhaps an Australian take on an American car is in order?
Appropriating Aboriginal words can be a bit of a mine field- Melbourne had the Moomba Festival. “Moomba ” was supposed to mean ‘ Let’s get together and have fun’ .
It really meant ” Let’s get together and have sex”.
Bryce gives you a Kiwi take on American cars all the time Jason! 😉
Holden Caulfield? Catcher in the Rye?
Actually Holden Hawthorn. Caulfield is a suburb about 10km away from where I shot this. Hehehe.
Do Stalag 17, The Bridges at Toko-Ri and Network ring a bell?
Speaking of Holden, the following photo montage compilations here were Four Door Sedans which were 1968-72 Nova sized Chevrolets two of which were Holdens and the other was an Opel available in other countries. Besides the 1965-69 Chevrolet Corvair 4 Door Hardtop – US and Canada (Top Photo Center) they are as follows: 1970-72 Chevrolet Nova 4 Door Sedan – US and Elsewhere (Second Row Left), 1968-70 Chevrolet Kommando (Holden HG Kingswood) 4 Door Sedan – South Africa (Second Row Right), 1968-73 Chevrolet Opala (Opel Commodore) 4 Door Sedan – Brazil (Bottom Row Left) and 1971-74 Chevrolet Kommando (Holden HQ Kingswood) 4 Door Sedan – South Africa (Bottom Row Right).
That’s a rare array you’ve prepared there. Never seen a South African Holden in the flesh.
Thank you for the 411 and YES I made this photo montage compilations of the 1968-72 Chevrolet Nova sized Chevrolets available in other countries because it seems that these were popular sized cars around the world at least for compact/mid-size car categories. The Holdens and Opel based Chevrolets would be considered large cars elsewhere. Holdens were badged as Chevrolets there during the late 1960s to early 1970s.
New Zealand got South Africa Chevs (ironically built in OZ) sold through Chevrolet/Vauxhall dealers not Holden stores the HQ Statesman Chevs were quite popular 350/350 and 12 bolt rear end right out of the box, my Dad had several customers who wouldnt be seen dead in a shit box Holden but happily drove Chevvy powered and badged examples
Exactly the Opel Rekord/Commodore-C series which among the Chevrolet Opala/Comodoro and Holden Monaro had wore the RANGER name as well, a short living GM brand…based on the same Rekord/Commodore-C. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranger_(automobile)
It sounds like the Opel Rekord/Commodore was the GM World Car of that era because the Chevrolet Opala was actually badged equipped from its Opel cousins mentioned while the Chevrolet Kommando/SS (Two Door Hardtop Coupe version) were based from Holden HG series version only Kingswood/Monaro (since the Monaro was a Two Door Hardtop Coupe version of the HG Kingswood series) had a slightly longer and revised body design but nevertheless still used those same Opel chassis. Lastly the South African Holden HG Monaro Coupe based Chevrolet SS and the Brazilian Opel Rekord based Chevrolet SS (a special edition coupe of the Chevrolet Opala line) were technically the same cars altogether but only slightly different trims and designs to appeal to each of their targeted markets.
man, no ” similarity ” between them , are just ” like in the drawing “…
and more, see the engine bay of the Chevrolet Opala / GM Ranger / Opel Rekord C: it’s very different that the engine bay of the Monaro / HR (sory for my bad english)
The Monaro was the first Australian car I was really aware of. It came out when I was 15, an age when the brain is like a sponge, in more ways than one.
I assumed at the time that Holden was trying to imitate the word “Camaro”, and have somehow held on to that notion. So thank you Jason for setting me straight. As a 15 year-old, I would have related to the “Maneroo” explanation much better.
Learning the origins of Monaro makes me wonder if I need to research car names a little more often.
The Holden Torana was the first Aussie model I heard of as a kid, mentioned in a big but thin illustrated book on cars.
I am almost certain that the Monaro was named after the Monaro Plains district of the state of New South Wales. At the time Holden were naming car lines after Australian locations. The aboriginal origins do apply to the name of the Plains. Derivatives of local aboriginal-language names (there are hundreds if dualects) are often used in Australia. Case in point, our national Capital, Canberra, is derived from a similar sounding aboriginal word that means “meeting place”.
One of the more famous Monaros was a 1974 Monaro HG GTS which gained fame for saving its owners when the Tasman Bridge in Hobart Tasmania collapsed due to a ship striking it in 1975. This car nearly went over but thanks to a low transmission pan was saved due to the trans pan getting caught against the edge of the bridge.
It is still owed by the same owner today.
That’s the same colour as the LS I had.
Leon, that is pretty interesting stuff. And the owner of the car is named Frank Manley! I suppose that’s appropriate. I did a little digging, and I see it’s in a museum now. Very good to see it preserved for posterity. Good-looking car, too. In profile, Mr. Manley’s Monaro looks like a ’71 or so GTO, and that’s a compliment. Yes, his name is Mr. Manley…
Fascinating (and tragic) bit of history that I wasnt aware of.
The next photo montage compilations of those same cars that I had posted earlier but now shows the side profiles which were scaled to their scaled actual sizes if placed side by side. With the exception of the similar sized 1969 Chevrolet Corvair 4 Door Hardtop, the Holden and Opel based Chevrolets will show clearly how they also resembled in design and size with the 1970-72 Chevrolet Nova 4 Door Sedan. That’s just based on my opinion though. For more 411 on these cars you can just Google them for stock photos posted by others and/or check Wikipedia.
Am I the only one that remembers the actor William Holden??? Sheesh….
I’m in your corner, Roger. You have me in a mood to watch Sunset Boulevard.
I mentioned several of his films earlier. Network is my favorite of the lot. Along with The Running Man it’s one of the most prophetic movies ever made.
Is he the one who was mad as hell? Curious, I had to look him up on Wikipedia; he died in 1981.
It was Peter Finch who played ‘mad as hell’ Howard Beale – same film, ‘Network’.
He was Howard Beale’s boss and best friend of 25+ years. Left his wife for Faye Dunaway’s character who was half his age.
Speaking of the wife, the actress who played her (Beatrice Straight) still holds the record for the shortest performance ever to win an Oscar. She won Best Supporting Actress for appearing in Network for just over five minutes.
The “Mao-Tse Tung Hour” brilliantly anticipated Reality[sic] TV.
Peter Finch was a great Australian actor and Network is a film everyone should see.Network is as relevant today as when it was released,the corruptive power of concentrated media ownership and its unhealthy influence on the governments of many nations.American,English and Australian people have witnessed the control of a former Australian and now US citizen,Rupert Murdoch.
Of _course_ not Roger ! .
We just didn’t want to bore the kiddies ya know .
To hell with the kiddies 😀 ! They don’t know what a great actor is!!!
The 1968 Monaro’s chassis had been borrowed from the Opel Rekord/Commodore-C Coupé with minor stylish/optical changes that I think is bringing it closer to the then popular Oldsmobile Cutlass/442 appearance… The engine range is a different story… IL6’s and V8’s… Any Holden is a rarity in Europe. I actually discovered one in Serbia (!!!) BUT in very poor condition. The engine is IL6, 3050 ccm… I ain’t sure about the transmission…if it has manual or automatic!?
63 Opel Commodore coup’e sawed in half and widened fitted with OZ powertrain sssh dont tell the Aussies they think its indigenous
Still trying to pass your BS off as facts I see.
Actually if you learned to read you’d see two other posts saying the same thing yet on those you are silent. troll much
Looks very similar to me
Bryce, the Opel Rekord C/Commodore A and the HK Holden are not the same car. The HK was based on the HD/HR and was hastily widened and lengthened to combat the bigger XR. Although the US had basically taken styling away from us after the EF debacle, by the time of the HK’s development it was Peter Nankervis under the aegis of GM-H Chief Stylist (ex-Pontiac and designer of the ’59) Joe Schemansky. The Opel was designed under Opel Chief Stylist Clare M. MacKichan, another US transplant.
You have to expect some similarity from these stablemates; it would be naïve to believe Schemansky and MacKichan weren’t keeping each other informed and that they weren’t subject to the dictates of a higher power within the US who wanted global styling consistency wherever possible, but they are separate pieces of work. There is no proof the HK was a widened and lengthened Rekord C. In fact all the evidence suggests we were developing our own car, admittedly under the auspices of the US. Below is one of our HK prototypes before cokebottle was canned. It’s not an Opel.
Nicely put Don.
Thanks for bringing it to my attention,Bryce I’d missed them. You and they are still wrong though.
Sure there are common styling cues, but the same chassis ? No.
If you look at the side window arrangement on the opel coupe it is nearly an exact replica of the Monaro never mind the early styling clay look at the finished products
If Holden was going to introduce a V8 to Australia, why did they not use the 327-prepped 1967 Opel Diplomat instead? Why did they go to all the trouble of cutting up a smaller platform and making it bigger?
Notice the Diplomat’s similarity to the clay? Not the same car, but certainly the same styling cues (although ours coincidently features headlight and bumper treatment from the 64 Pontiac). Germany had a higher priority than Australia in the GM hierarchy, so it’s more than likely we took our styling cues from them, rather than the other way around. There’s no surprise our cars look similar to theirs.
None of the engineers have discussed it in retrospect. None of the stylists have discussed it in retrospect. None of the door shutlines match. None of the dimensions are shared. There is no embarrassing secret. There is no conspiracy theory.
If you think they look very, very similar; fair enough. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But please don’t try to pass it off as fact unless you have proof.
You could get both automatics and manual at this time. I think the auto was a version of the Powerglide? A three on the tree and a four speed floor shift manual were available.
I think that is correct on the Powerglide version. Oldcarbrochures.com has a brochure on an HK Monaro and it was a wealth of information. There was nothing on the HT or HG.
I find uniquecarsandparts a good start for researching specs.
It is now bookmarked!
HT introduced voided bushes in the suspension for a quieter ride hence HKs actually handle better, new dashboard and upholstery this was right across the range my father had new Kingswood wagons in HK & HT he didnt bother with the HG as he knew a new much improved model was underway and actually ordered a new wagon at the factory during the NZ dealers tour the HQ was touted as all new however even as a kid it was easy to see all the carry over stuff having been surrounded by it for several years
So what was carried over? The V8 engines, some transmissions,
diff centers on 6 cyls?
Body? Nope. Nothing there.
Chassis? Even the wheels have a different PCD. Ball joints are the same!
Engines? Nope. the sixes were enlarged, V8s carried over.
Brakes. Rear drums at best.
Power glide on the HK/HT models 3 speed tree shift or Opel derived 4 speed which was weak and broke easily the HG debuted the new 3 speed trimatic which this car is fitted with( badge on left rear of bootlid)
Is the TriMatic the TH180? I’ve always been confused by that one.
Not sure it came behind 6s and V8s but doesnt cope well with the 308 engines THM350s were also around behind 350 small blocks and later 308s trimatics are best avoided if you have the larger engine option but a THM wont interchange the bolt pattern is different
Heart of the Lion by John Wright describes the Tri-Matic as Australian. His note at the end of the chapter reads:
‘The Tri-Matic was a very advanced unit that did give some trouble in the early years. With characteristic eagerness to keep its customers as uncomplaining as possible, GM-H frequently repaired transmissions at little or no cost to the owner after the new car warranty had expired.’
(Pub. Allen and Unwin, 1998)
I think so Aaron
The Trimatic is not Australian my god you Ozzies are ignorant when it comes to cars its used throughout the Vauxhall range before Holden had it,Its fitted to cars youve never seen in Australia and GMH sure as hell had nothing to do with, GMH deliberately removed any inhouse competition to its homegrown cars but only in Australia NZ got them all and the Holdens were bottom of the pile they only took the market in the end based on price, they were cheapest,
About a month ago, the SO was playing with one of those online photo-merge things where you can merge the features of one celebrity with another. The HK Monaro looks like what would happen if you did that with a ’66–’67 GM A-body and a second-generation Nova coupe.
Although both the 1971 Chevrolet Nova 4 Door Sedan and the Holden HQ Kingswood 4 Door Sedan were in the same size class range 189.4″ for the Nova and 187.5 for the Holden with bolted on Subframes, their Unitized Body Constructions and Floorpans were very different from each other especially since the Nova had rear leaf springs on both sides of the axle, the Holden only used coil springs with trailering arms on both sides of its rear axle. The Nova’s front Subframes were even thicker and narrower at the Engine Cradle compartment compared to the Holden’s thinner and wider Engine Cradle compartment.
I’ve heard that about the Holden car vs. our Chevy Nova. But until I saw the picture showing the two cars together, I never thought they were the same size. I could easily drive either car.
These were the only versions and years made when the Holden and the Chevy Nova were nearly identical in sizes.
The top picture is the Chevy II Nova. I’m thinking 1970 through 1974. The bottom pic is the Holden HQ. Whether it’s a Premier or a Kingswood, it’s hard to tell from this distance from the cars.
The Chevrolet Nova on top were actually models built between 1970-72 due to larger front fender marker signal lights. The Holden HQ was a Kingswood since the Premier was top of the line with a more squarish design and a bit larger than the Nova above.
HQ Premier was the same body as the HQ Kingswood and Belmont. The Premier had four headlights, the others only had two. The squarer front end came in with the HJ and continued with the HX/ HZ. The easy tell is the post-HQ sedan had taillights in the rear quarter panel, the HQ’s were set in the rear bumper.
The only time different bodies were used between the Premier and the Kingswood/Belmont was the HK; the subsequent HT eliminated the Kingy body and put all three in the HK Premier body. The difference was most visible at the c-pillar and rear quarter and IIRC it was something to do with the HK Prem having flow-though ventilation.
Once again Bryce is wrong. The TH 350 NEVER came out in Aus behind a Chev 350.
It was Powerglide( in the HG series, not sure about the HT series)
Then the TH 400 in the HQ Holdens equipped with the Chev 350.
When the 350 was dropped here, the TH 400 was mated up to the Holden 5 litre/308 V8. Holden actually changed the block casting to suit the TH 400 bell housing.
Some time in the very late 1970s or early ’80s the TH 350 was introduced behind the Holden 5 litre/ 308,but it never came behind a Chev 350 here in Australia.
So sorry The 350 engined HG didnt get the feeble THM 180 like the rest and kept the powerslide most of the examples Ive seen are manuals,
The Chevy HQs we had got all chev running gear and were favoured over the traumatics because of it so it was the 400 whateva.
Great post Jason, and great photos Don! Cheers for the shout-out too! Part two of the Holden Family Tree is underway, as is the Chrysler Valiant Tree. Being a Ford man in the eternal Ford vs Holden battle, I should probably start the Falcon Tree too!
A former customer just sold the HK Monaro he’d had since the 80s, got some serious coin for it too – good Monaros of this vintage are very sought after and often fetch prices upward of NZ$50,000 (although same vintage Aussie Falcon GTs can double, triple and quadruple that…). I like that the posted car is still the straight-6 though. Yes, the V8 made them get up and boogie, but the honesty of a 6 is refreshing.
Scott have you read Aaron’s (ateupwithmotor) articles on the Australian Falcons? http://www.ateupwithmotor.com/model-histories/australian-ford-falcon-part-1/
Yes I have – not for a year or so though. It’s exceptionally well-detailed (as with all his work).
Shown on the left is an 1968-73 Opel Rekord C/Commodore A based 1974 Chevrolet (BRAZIL) Opala 2 Door Hardtop Coupe and on the right is an 1968-70 Holden Monaro HG/HT based 1976 Chevrolet (South Africa) SS 2 Door Hardtop Coupe. When the Opel Rekord/Commodore was redesigned in 1972 and the Holden Monaro in mid-1971, they have now inherited different designs and therefore newer different chassis for both models which the newer Holden Monaro HQ no longer shares any similarities with the Opel Rekord D/Commodore B nor with their rebadged Chevrolet (overseas) version. As a matter of fact, the redesigned 1972-77 Opel Rekord D/Commodore B became a little over an inch longer and they very much looked like a shrunken version of the 1975-79 RWD X-Body NOVA Group at least for the 4 Door Model version. The 1971 1/2 Holden Monaro HQ meanwhile had grown about 3″ in length with almost having a similar design as the much larger 1970-72 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Besides the South African 1976 Chevrolet SS, the Brazilian Chevrolet Opala also had a specialized SS 2 Door Hardtop Coupe version as well.
What I find to be unforgivable is that there doesn’t seem to be any more Australian cars that are actually built in Australia. All the cars are being built in China, Korea, the Middle East. I refuse to buy any car that was built in either of those countries. I’d rather the car I buy were made here in the USA, Canada, Germany, or Australia.
@ Pedro: Thank you for the information. I didn’t know that. But then I’m not from Australia. I’ve seen pictures of the Holden HQ, but I’ve never seen one in person. The Chevy Nova, on the other hand, I’ve seen lots of when I was a boy.
@ Jason, you welcome.
I’m originally from Trinidad in the Caribbean, I used to own a Holden Kingswood SL sedan…awesome Aussie cars!
I’m a bit of a scratch builder of model cars( actually an RC addict lol)…
Here’s my Holden HX Sandman Panel Van that I built!
Lol…thanks man…! Here’s a link to the build thread!
Interesting to see this piece back again. A GTS 186S would be really rare these days, as the street machine guys put V8s in everything. But is it a real GTS?
We’re agreed it’s an older repaint. This car is lacking the black paint on the lower body and around the wheel arches, and across the tail panel between the lights. On an HG GTS the bonnet scoops would be black, and there would be stripes along the upper body. This car has none of that. Incidentally, it also has HT chrome on the boot lid; the HG’s strips are wider to match the chrome on the taillights – according to GMH’s ad photos anyway; most HG GTSs seem to run these narrower strips, leaving the wider ones for the sedans only…….
So is it an older one-colour repaint without the black trim to save money? Probably, yes – but why on earth would someone put dog-dish hubcaps on a GTS, which came with sporty-looking wheel covers as standard? I could understand that in America, but in Australia our muscle cars came fully trimmed with all the goodies, and dog-dishes belong on sedans. Or non-GTS Monaros, if there are any left!
BTW, the Aboriginal peoples throughout Australia have hundreds of distinct tribes with many different languages. The ‘Maneroo’ derivation, while amusing, is from a Northern Territory language, half a continent away from the Monaro district of the Ngarigo people.
I have no doubt about there being many different languages among the Aboriginal people. Knowing absolutely nothing about any of this, I remember taking a deep dive into learning about the origin of the Monaro name. What you read is what I found on Australian websites. I figured those more familiar have first-hand input – and it sounds like you do.
Had this not been six years ago I would have happily told you the sites, but I’ve slept since then! 🙂
Oh dear – I’m sorry if it came across as personal, Jason. I didn’t mean that at all. I’m not Ngarigo, by the way.
When GMH publicised the name, they just mentioned it as being ‘Aboriginal’. White Australians seemed to accept it as that. These days there is much more recognition of the diversity of Aboriginal tribes and culture and language. Nowadays a company would acknowledge the prior custodians of the land, be sure to name the tribe they got the word from, and probably need to consult the elders of that tribe for permission to even use the word, for all I know. I had to dig to find which tribal language the word was from.
There have been many changes in that area of Australian life over the past fifty years. As I imagine there have been with Native Americans too. 🙂
No worries, I didn’t take it as personal at all; it was more a statement of my having relied on websites closer to the source!
What you say about the relationship with Aboriginal people over the last fifty years certainly has some parallels with what has happened here with Native Americans.
As an aside, when my daughter was quite small she was given a CD of world music. One of the songs is of “Waltzing Matilda” sang in an Aboriginal language. It’s a delightfully infectious song.
Fifty years ago, the first Australians were at best a mild curio on the edge of the societal outlook, mostly to be pitied. Changes have indeed happened across those years, perhaps the most fundamental being legal recognition by our highest court of prior ownership of (some of) the Australian land in 1992, but it is truthfully only in the last 10 years that any true idea of the real history under white rule and the many horrors within that have come to any sort of attention for the majority of us.
In this, the 2014 of this post is a long time ago. And in, 2020, no maker would even think of taking an Indigenous name for a car.
Ofcourse, in 2020, after 80-odd years of local manufacture, there IS no whitefella maker here to do so.
Which is probably not an enormous surprise to those who’d been here for the 49,920 years beforehand
“Holden was founded in 1856 as a saddlery manufacturer”? I did not know.
This gives them an even better “How did you go from horses to cars?” story than the wagon-building brothers Studebaker.