Holden Monaro CV8 out of hibernation - Our Shed

By: Mark Higgins - Words & Photos

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holden monaro cv8 2 holden monaro cv8 2

Feeling crook and a little sorry for yourself? A Monaro will make it better

Eighteenth birthday parties are meant to be memorable.  I know mine was.  I was in bed sick as a dog, in isolation with the flu and not one named after a car.

This year marks the 18th birthday of my Holden Monaro CV8, affectionately known as Big Red for obvious reasons.

Like me with the flu, Big Red was in isolation for several months while I made the move back to Melbourne from Brisbane.

With a few issues of Unique Cars to pump out, the Christmas break and an annual pilgrimage to Warrnambool for the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic, there wasn’t time to retrieve Big Red.

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However that changed recently when I arrived at the storage facility and whipped the covers off. Despite his hibernation he started immediately.

After letting the engine idle over and warm up my first stop was a servo for a big sip of 98 RON, a check of all fluids and a reset of the tyre pressures. A wash and detail would have to wait. I wanted some wheel time. While Big red was sleeping I scoured a bunch of trash and treasure shops searching for cassettes. While the Monaro was built in 2002 it still has a cassette player. 

There is also a boot-mounted 10-stack CD player that was never pressed into service by Shirley, the original owner, and after peeling the tape off the stacker cover and inserting CDs into the carrier, it refused to work. So while I find someone to repair it I went hunting for some cassettes. Like most of you I had a stack of them that got the boot many years ago. Bugger.

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Same idea, across different decades and continents

Anyway, after checking it was all systems go at the servo the plan was a quick spin around the block and home to drive the keyboard and punch out another yarn for the mag.

Immediately noticeable was the out-of-round tyres so the first few kays were like being in the Fred Flintstone car. To fix it a few extra kays needed to be done.

The next thing I found myself on the freeway heading to the Mornington Peninsula and enjoying a bit of 100 km/h motoring.

A perfect time to try the cassette player.

I must admit to a dose of trepidation as I inserted the cassette.

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Maestro casette player, with my road trip companions

Will the machine eat it? Will I have metres and metres of tape spewing out of the dash? Do I have a pencil to spool the tape back or do I do what we did back then and piff it out the window with skinny brown tape flying into the distance.

Success, it worked!

Then I discovered that while the sound system was the finest in the General’s lineup at the time, the Maestro Series compared to today’s systems is bloody awful.

After a short while I’d had enough of peering through dirty windows so rocketed into Magic Hands car wash at Frankston.

Like most of you I refuse to Big Red through a coin operated car wash. I’m not going to have its red duco hammered by giant bristle covered rollers followed by a battering with a mechanical chamois.

While waiting for the wash and brush up I got talking to a fellow customer about the joy of owning big beefy two door coupes. His was a 2018 Bullitt Mustang, a personal favourite of mine. Turns out he had a soft spot for the Monaro so there was a degree of mutual back slapping going on. We said our good-byes and off I went. Ten minutes later, still heading away from home, and the keyboard, alongside slips Mr Bullitt. It was a great feeling to share the road with another iconic muscle car from another church.

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Crawl and Chisel?! Jeez...

Soon after Mr Bullitt peeled off I ran out of road. I had driven all the way to Portsea at the end of the Mornington Peninsula.

So much for a quick spin around the block.

A quick stop for a few photos and it was back into Big Red and home.

I covered around 200 kilometres that morning. And every single one had me grinning from ear to ear. I made a mental note I must do this more often, for both mine and the car’s sake.

Right now we can’t all get in our toys and go for a spin around the block due to the lock downs.  But boy won’t the roads look great when everyone and their special cars get out on the road once more.

Meanwhile I’m off to find some decent music cassettes and find someone to fix the CD stacker.


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