1972 Holden HQ Monaro - Toybox

Photography by: Ernest Litera

Impeccable experience, lots of patience and some great mods have created a very special Monaro.

1972 Holden HQ Monaro - Toybox
The Monaro has a fabulous body shape

What happens when a bloke who helped build the Holden race cars that took Peter Brock (and others) to Bathurst wins and national championships decides he wants a piece of the Aussie muscle car action for himself? This, basically.

What started as a father and son project back around 2005, soon became a bit of an obsession as a solid, straight but slightly ropey 1972 HQ Monaro GTS morphed into this stunning piece of engineering and top-notch build quality. Ernest Litera is the father-end of this story, and while his son, Alex, would eventually drift off on to other four-wheeled pursuits, Ernest kept chipping away at the GTS, eventually replacing the entire interior, running gear, every bush, bearing and grommet, and even the roof panel in his quest for his idea of the perfect HQ two-door.


Formerly a spanner at Harry Firth’s HDT back in the glory days when driving a HDT Holden often meant winning, Ernest knew cars like the GTS backwards. But he was also smart enough to know that radical modifications would not only make the car less useable, but would also be the wrong thing to do with a car that, even though prices hadn’t gone stupid, was already considered GMH royalty. So, the first thing that happened was a laying down of the ground-rules. As in: No cutting the body and no drilling a single extra hole. Modify, sure, but make it all reversible and keep the integrity of the car intact.

Better than new, is the theme.

To achieve that, the integrity first had to be restored by removing the dinky, dorky, flip-up sunroof (yeah, we all did it back then). After a months-long search, a replacement roof skin was found in a paddock, unstiched and installed on the GTS. Frankly, you’d never pick it. In fact, if anything, the quality of bodywork here is better than Holden ever managed at the factory; straighter HQ flanks you’ve probably never seen. Ditto the paint, and the pearly-purple is absolutely stunning in the daylight.

A crate 350 Chev was next, hitched up to a fully reconditioned TH400 tranny and a HZ front end was rejuvenated, powder-coated and flung under the small-block. The entire undercarriage also received the same level of attention to detail. Better than new, is a recurring theme here. Ernest also took his HDT knowledge and copied Brock’s own road-car of the time, adding a full Bilstein coil and shock set-up. To say this car handles and steers better than the Holden version is an understatement.

350 Chev power with TH400.

Inside, the Autometer gauges replaced the sketchy originals and the whole lot was wrapped in lovely leather with a BA XR6 Ute donating the front chairs. Even stuff like the heater controls have been relocated to the centre console (out of sight) and a Bluetooth head unit lives in the glovebox.

Restomod includes a slick interior.

Take a peek at the online adverts and some weeks, you won’t see a single HQ GTS two-door for sale anywhere, let alone one as sharp as this one. And yet, for Ernest, it’s time to move the car on after almost 20 years and 12,000km cruisy kilometres around Melbourne since the rebuild. Which means, here’s your big chance. Sensible offers can be directed to ernest.litera@gmail.com Oh, and the original, matching-numbers 253 engine and Trimatic box are part of the deal. 

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