Monaro Myth + Trailer Queens + Bargain Benz - Mailbag 420

By: Unique Cars magazine

holden monaro holden monaro

Inside this month's Unique Cars mailbag...


Boiled Monaro

With your mailbag section you say "Sock it to us", so here goes.

Firstly, let me say I love your magazine and have bought virtually every issue since the first.

Your article on the Monaro’s 50th was generally an enjoyable read but my blood boiled when, once again, I read about how the HG350 had softer suspension that the HT350 and was slower – you are yet another magazine perpetuating this myth!

While the rest of the HG Monaro range DID have softer settings than the (main) HT Monaro range, the 350 in both HT and HG had identical suspension. Not only that, but when the original supply of 350 engines ran out in the HG, the replacement that GM-H sourced was more powerful (although advertised horsepower remained the same). So, the last of the HG350s (November ‘70 build) were the fastest of all the original Monaro series. As for a standard XU-1 being quicker than a standard HT or HG350, that is also so wrong, While an XU-1 might be quicker around a race track, in a straight line drag, an HT or HG350 manual is quicker.

I know you quoted Norm Darwin’s book for a lot of your article but there are errors and misleading information in that too. For instance, the acceleration time of 0-50 for the 350 Monaro he quotes (and you reproduced) from the July ’70 issue of Wheels magazine is for an automatic 350 which has the 275bhp engine. Not only that, but Norm states that it’s an HG when, in fact, it’s an HT!

I don’t suppose you will ever print this but I had to get it off my chest. I just get so angry when these same old incorrect ‘facts’ get rehashed over and over again. I think about newer, younger enthusiasts who read this stuff and believe it to be true. I am so passionate about the HK to HG series of Monaros – every true enthusiast deserves to know the truth about them.

Glenn Flinkenberg

ED: Ouch! Cool your jets there, Glenn, and thanks for picking us up on that. It highlights just how difficult it can sometimes be to untangle the detail from a distance of half a century. Anyway, you’ve given us good reason to go back and correct our digital files. Much appreciated.


Bargain Benz


Hi Unique Cars, enjoyed the latest issue (419 – Euro value guide) as always. All of the great suggestions had me searching for a good value European car. I searched through all the Boxter S, 944, BMW M car usual suspects.

Being a BMW fanboy and former E36 325 coupe owner I can give a surprising recommendation on a better choice than the Jaguar XK8 suggested in Guido’s editorial.

The praise heaped on the Mercedes-Benz CLK430 as a surprising performance car made me think of the CLK500, an almost E46 M3 competitor with a more effortless GT form and function.

It turns out that there is a 2003 CLK500 on offer with just 126,000 kilometres for $12,000. All it needs according to the owner is brake discs and pads. A US parts supplier, Pelican Parts, has discs and pads from OEM supplier ATE on offer for US $377. An elderly neighbour owner owns the same model and swears by its reliability, saying it’s only needed regular servicing, but she is a former Jaguar XKS and XK8 owner...

Lachy Brown

ED: You’re making way too much sense, Lachy. I’ve owned a few old Benzes and my experience is they hang together pretty well so long as you keep the maintenance up. So, did you buy the car?


Is there a Future?


With many jurisdictions around the world planning to ban vehicles with internal combustion engines by as early as 2030. It begs the question: How viable are collectable cars going to be in the future?

After all, much of the fun we derive from our hobby is the fact that we can still drive our pieces of history on public roads. Or even use them as our daily transport, in many cases. But will people be as keen to dedicate time money and shed space to Trailer Queens that can only be pushed around? And what will that do to the future values of the collectable cars we’ve stashed away for our retirement? Who’ll want them if they can’t be used?

Gary G Smith

ED: Really good question, Gary. I’m a little optimistic about the future but won’t be surprised if it looks very different to what we’re doing now. For example, will petrol stations all but disapprear and return to what they once were – a corner specialist store selling drums of fuel to enthusiasts? There’s much to discuss. Feel free to chip in with your thoughts, folks. What do you see as the future? (Drop us a line at


Stuffing Around

On the question of should club plate cars have to undergo annual roadworthy checks: Why would you want to stuff around with making it harder for classic car owners who spend a lot of hard earned on their money pits already? And not to forget rego and insurance for a car we may only use a dozen times a year.
Then there’s the time off work to get this annual check done.

You’re always going to have guys in shitbox cars no matter what and that’s no reason to penalise all old car enthusiasts.

Todd Green

ED: Yep, there’s a bit of a debate on this one, Todd. Glenn Torrens lives with the annual checks in NSW and thinks they’re a good thing. I live in Vic, which has no annual checks, and the idea of having to do them for all 20-something vehicles fills me with horror. Glenn says the checks up his way are quick and cheap, but in Vic a roadworthy is over $150 a pop and the crash stats don’t seem to point to an urgent need for annuals. That said, annuals do give people a reason to regularly check all the basics… it’s a tough one.


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