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SMOTY-winning blown 1968 Holden HK Monaro FAT68 - flashback

By Roy Velardi | Photos: Richard Mortimer & Simon Davidson, 07 Aug 2020 Features

SMOTY-winning blown 1968 Holden HK Monaro FAT68 - flashback

A classic 80s machine reborn for the new millennium

PARKING a blown black HK Monaro outside the most famous strip club in Sydney’s Kings Cross is always going to get you attention. Bouncers and tourists, junkies and drinkers, street kids and freaks all stop to gawk, take photos, ask questions and maybe try to cadge a smoke. Cousins Donny Kevric and Adam Barberesco handle the attention with aplomb and are clearly having a Good Time. And why not?

This article was first published in the June 2006 issue of Street Machine

Holden HK MOnaro GTS

The best-looking ride on the strip. The jet-black HK looks perfectly at home ‘up the Cross’

For Donny especially, the Monaro is the fulfilment of a childhood dream. He was still in short pants when family friend George bought a black HK two-door. It was the quintessential 80s streeter — kidney bean mags, velour trim, fat rubber — and it made a big impression.

Read next: Summernats Grand Champion-winning Holden HQ One-Tonner - Flashback

Soon Donny was offering to wash the Monaro for George on a weekly basis. More often than not he dragged Adam, his cousin, along too. Interest grew into obsession and when the time came for George to sell the car, Donny was waiting with a fistful of cash to take it off his hands.

Holden HK Monaro front

At first Donny was content to cruise in his dream car. Later he added a blower, and that, says Adam, was when the trouble started.

Read next: 615ci Pro street Holden HK Monaro - PRO HK

“Donny loved driving the thing — hard. Then the engine blew in a big way and I said: ‘Right, we should do this thing properly.’ It just went from there. Cars like this dictate their own destiny.”

Holden HK Monaro side

Adam wanted to be in on the build and came on board as co-owner. He’s no stranger to building tough cars (we featured his ground-pounding XB coupe back in Jan/Feb 2000), so he had some idea of what they were in for. But the result was far beyond the boys’ original expectations.

Read next: Restomod 434-cube Holden HK Monaro GTS

From the beginning they decided to retain some signature styling cues: the flared guards, roof-mounted aerial and, most importantly, the Brougham front and rear treatment. It’s no simple bolt-on, though. There was some serious metalwork grafting on the extended boot, but the boys reckon that’s what gives the Monaro its unique identity.

Holden HK Monaro onroad

You can almost hear the blown V8 booming back off the tunnel walls

The car was stripped to a bare shell for the panel and paint work, and sent to Chatswood Auto Body. As well as the Brougham morph, everything was straightened to perfection, the fuel filler was hidden, and the flares were reworked to be smoother and fit even more rubber. Once the panels were ready for paint, Donny and Adam chose Glasurit’s Jet Black, the ultimate test of the panel-beater’s craft!

Read next: Brendan Cherry's twin-turbo 1968 Holden HK Monaro

Donny entrusted Phil & Tony from Pro Built to put together a new motor that would be tough as well as streetable. They filled a Chev 350 block with proven gear: Ross pistons, steel crank, Dart II heads, Crane cam and Manley valves. There’s a Newby manifold on top of which a 6/71 supercharger, polished to perfection, pumps 9psi into a pair of 660 Holleys with K&N filters.

Holden HK Monaro grille

The fuel comes from a custom sumped and baffled Bathurst tank via a Barry Grant 280 pump, and the ignition is IC&E. A set of HPC-coated Pacemaker four-into-one headers is followed by dual three-inch mandrel pipes with Hooker mufflers. The Aussie Desert Cooler five-core aluminium radiator is surrounded by no fewer than three thermo fans!

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“This is my first supercharged engine, and I’m impressed with the power [about 515hp at the treads] so far,” Donny said.

Holden HK Monaro engine bay

The Powerglide ’box has a 2800rpm Dominator converter, and is manually shifted using a B&M Pro Stick shifter. An oversize tailshaft leads to a 10-bolt 3.55:1 LSD. The diff has handled the power so far, but there’s a Ford nine-inch waiting for when the inevitable occurs.

Donny and Adam went to Master Auto Trim for the interior, starting with four customised LS Recaros retrimmed in beige leather and suede with a custom design moulded into them. The theme continues into the doors, dash and parcel shelf. The doors have custom solid billet pulls, levers and window winders, while the dash got the billet treatment with a strip around the glove box lid.

Holden HK Monaro engine

Silver-faced Auto Meter gauges and original-style GTS badges add to the classy, clean look, and a beige leather-covered Drag Specialties billet tiller and a billet rear vision mirror complete the picture.

The carpet’s also beige — straight from the Rolls Royce catalogue — and even the boot copped the beige leather and carpet treatment.

Holden HK Monaro interior

To say the interior finish looks factory is an insult — no HK rolled off the production line as good as this

The seatbelts were sent to a company in WA to be re-made with beige webbing, but they disappeared in transit. The same thing happened with the bonnet vents, just three days before Summernats 18. Fortunately a mate came through with some replacements to enable Donny and Adam to get to Canberra. Another mate, Johnny, installed the Pioneer sound system, with concealed parcel tray speakers and boot-mounted amps.

The suspension was dumped three inches front and rear, using Pedders coils and reset leaves. Shocks are Koni adjustables, and Nolathane bushes were fitted throughout. Front brakes are DBA ventilated and cross-drilled discs, with original drums in the bum.

Holden HK Monaro dash

Just as well the boys planned the big wheel/tyre combo from the start. Rims are Showwheels Intro Vistas wrapped in Nankang rubber — 18x7s with 225/40s up front, 20x10s with 275/30s out back.

Donny and Adam completed the HK with hours to spare before Summernats 19, and their efforts scooped Top Judged Street; they took the same title at the Sydney Car Festival and Powercruise 6, but they want to refine it further before embarking on another project.

Holden HK GTS Monaro doortrim

“We would’ve liked to have rear discs for Summernats but they’ll be on soon. 20s on the front would look pretty good too!” Donny said.

George passed away before the Monaro was finished, so Donny and Adam put a photo of the car in all its glory at his final resting place as a tribute.

“We think George would be happy with how the car turned out,” Donny said. Amen to that, fellas.

Holden HK Monaro seats

LUXO EL CHEAPO

IF HOLDEN had built a luxury version of the first-generation Monaro, it might well have looked something like Donny and Adam’s car here. From the outside at least. Their HK has the quad-light grille, tall tail-lights and stretched boot from the upmarket ’68 Brougham.

Holden HK Monaro boot

If you’ve never heard of the Brougham, let alone seen one, you’re not Robinson Crusoe. It was Holden’s belated answer to Ford’s highly successful 1967 Fairlane, which was basically a long-wheelbase version of the top-spec Falcon Fairmont. But the HK Brougham was luxo el cheapo. Instead of a longer wheelbase, it only had a longer boot! As if the hard-to-pronounce name wasn’t bad enough, buyers weren’t fooled by the engineering short-cut. The model was a sales disaster.

Holden quickly replaced the Brougham with the long-wheelbase HQ-based Statesman but the damage had been done. The Fairlane went on to dominate the local luxo-barge market for the next 20 years.

DONNY KEVRIC & ADAM BARBARESCO
1968 HOLDEN HK MONARO

Colour: Glasurit Jet Black

ENGINE
Type: Chev 350
Heads: Dart II
Pistons: Ross
Crank: Steel
Cam: Crane
Induction: Twin 660cfm Holleys
Inlet manifold: Newby
Blower: Newby 6/71
Ignition: IC&E
Exhaust: Pacemaker four-into-one headers, three-inch dual pipes

DRIVELINE
Gearbox: Two-speed Powerglide with shift kit, manual valvebody
Converter: Dominator 2800rpm
Differential: 10-bolt LSD, 3.55:1

UNDERNEATH
Suspension: Three-inch lower Pedder’s coils, reset leaves and Koni adjustable shocks (f&r)
Brakes: DBA vented and cross-drilled discs with HQ calipers (f), drums (r)

ROLLING STOCK
Wheels: Showwheels Intro Vista 18x7 (f), 20x10 (r)
Tyres: Nankang 225/40 (f), 275/30 (r)

THANKS
Master Auto Trim; Phil Bond & Tony Andrijich at Pro Built for the engine; Paul and Chris at Showwheels; Pedders, Brookvale; Chatswood Auto Body; Cant Stop Towing; Diamond Towing; and our mates Steve Byrnes, Steve Xuereb, Johnny and Joe Monaco

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