Happy 50th Birthday Holden Monaro

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Monaro 50th birthday LEAD Monaro 50th birthday LEAD

Yesterday marked 50 years since the very first Monaro rolled off the line

A home-grown hero and one of the most celebrated Aussie muscle cars ever hit a milestone yesterday, and marked 50 years since very first HK Monaro rolled off the production line.

With the HK developed and intended to win at the Australian Touring Car Championship, the Monaro was destined to be an Australian sports car mainstay. It burst on to the market with a bang, winning our sister mag Wheels’ Car of the Year in its debut year.

Monaro -50th -birthday -HK

With engine choices spanning from six-cylinders, to the 5lt 307ci V8, to the top of the range GTS 327, the Monaro was an instant hit.

The soon-updated HT saw the 327 replaced by a 350, and introduced the Holden 253 and 308s.

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Just 12 months later, the HT was further updated as the HG, representing the last of the original and iconic Monaro shape.

The second-generation HQ Monaro released in July of 1971. With a retail price of just $3500 on the road, it was extremely affordable and, in equal measures, capable.

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With an initial run of just 1500 cars, dealers couldn’t keep up with orders. Even after a second run of 1300 cars, Aussies around the country couldn’t get enough.

The HJ shared the same body of the HQ but gained a stouter square front end. The HJ also saw out the 350 Chev, which to this day, renders HQ GTS 350s incredibly sought after.

The HX debuting in mid-1976 saw the iconic coupe body shape sent on hiatus with a limited run of LEs, using up the remaining coupe shells.

Monaro -50th -birthday -HX

The sedan-only body offerings continued throughout the succeeding HZ, until 1998 when the curtain dropped on Holden’s drop-dead gorgeous Coupe concept.

5 years later, the Monaro finally released to the public, based off the VX Commodore. The supercharged CV6 only available with an automatic gearbox was pulled from the lineup after just one year, leaving only the Gen III V8s. The CV8Z marked the final run out in 2005, ultimately leaving the Monaro name as a bygone icon of the Australian auto industry.

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With a long and storied timeline, that to this day, bears extremely desirable cars throughout every generation, Monaro’s 50th birthday causes for much for celebration.

It’s also tinged with bitter-sweetness as we remember them; given the current state of Holden as a full-time importer (and a struggling one at that), we’re unlikely to ever see a new Monaro again.

Vale Monaro…

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