Iconic Holden Monaro

By: Dr John Wright & Guy Allen, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Iconic Monaro Iconic Monaro
Iconic Monaro Iconic Monaro
Iconic Monaro Iconic Monaro
Iconic Monaro Iconic Monaro
Iconic Monaro Iconic Monaro
Iconic Monaro Iconic Monaro

One of the greats

Whenever the phrase Holden HK Monaro GTS 327 comes into my mind, I instantly picture Bruce McPhee, arguably one of the last of the old-style racers.

McPhee developed his Warwick Yellow race car painstakingly, having thought things out better than any of his rivals in the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500.

He was the team manager, main driver (co-driver, Barry Mulholland, was only allowed to do one ‘lunchtime’ lap), and self-taught mechanic.

He drove the car from his home town of Wyong on the New South Wales Central Coast to Bathurst and drove it home again.

By making legal modifications to the Monaro’s inadequate drum/disc brakes, to shift more bias towards the rear and hand finishing the aluminium piston in the master cylinder, as well as using extremely hard pads and linings, he set up his car to be the only Monaro to run 500 miles without mechanical attention to the brakes.

He also relied more on engine torque to conserve fuel. Plus he used buffed Michelin XAS road tyres, having worked out that by buffing the tyres they would not deliver better grip but would last longer.

While rival Monaros were in the pits, McPhee just kept going. He made two stops for fuel to every other Monaro’s three or more.

Of course he was a gun driver into the bargain but this is a great story of one man’s determination and ingenuity. To beat Harry Firth’s team of XT Falcon GTs was very impressive.

The following year Firth went to Holden where he ran a trio of Holden Dealer Team Monaros.

These were the HT GTS 350s. Colin Bond and Tony Roberts duly won the 1969 race and Des West and Peter Brock (in his first Bathurst drive) finished third.

See our full feature on the iconic Holden Monaro in the current issue of Unique Cars magazine, issue #405 on sale now.

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