50 Years of Holden Monaro, model-by-model:
Holden concepts, prototypes and specials:
1963 HR Holden coupe
THE spark that set the fire; the HR coupe was dreamed up before the previous HD had even come out. Englishman David Veltman sketched the car, drawing inspiration from contemporary GM designs such as the forthcoming Opel Diplomat coupe. A single, fibreglass prototype was built using a sedan base.
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1969 HV Monaro
Sharing the HQ’s front sheet-metal, the stillborn HV included a heap of revisions, including concealed wipers and Phil Zmood’s sleeker, GTR-X-inspired window line. Cost, along with cold feet on the HQ’s design direction, killed the car.
1971 HQ Monaro GTS350, aka ‘Old Man Emu’
The GTS350, dubbed ‘Old Man Emu’, was mocked-up to workshop what the top-spec production HQ GTS might look like. Stylists went a bit crazy, presenting it in bright teal on a set of wide alloys, wearing plenty of scoops, a ducktail rear spoiler and deep chin spoiler. Over the years, there has been speculation it ran a 400 or even a 454 big-block, but in reality, the GTS350 was just a full-size model.
Read next: The making of Holden Efijy concept car
1971 HQ Monaro GTS 350/Z
Following on from Old Man Emu, the GTS 350/Z was a running, driving car created from an early production GTS lifted from the line. The styling department got hold, fitting scoops, blackouts, a Pontiac-style split grille and an integrated air dam that deleted the front bumper. Sitting on a set of Pontiac polycast wheels, Holden attested it was used for aerodynamic experiments and featured it in a rare advertisement run only in a motor show programme.
1973 HQ 308Q
With fat flares, a smoothed rear bumper and a huge rear spoiler, the 308Q was a proper show car. Lowered suspension and cool stripes added to the look, but where it came from remains a mystery. Purported to be built to raise the profile of the four-door Monaro GTS, it did the rounds of the Aussie motor shows across 1973 and 1974 and was never badged Monaro, but it’s a pretty wild bit of kit.
1974 ‘Wilson’ HJ Caprice coupe
As area Director of the Asia-Pacific region, Max Wilson could get things done. An American with a penchant for Cadillacs but a dislike of formal sedans, he frequented Leo Pruneau’s office more than once requesting something special to drive. Three ‘Wilson’ coupes were built across 1974, 1975 and 1976, badged as Statesman Caprices. The coupes used HJ Caprice nose cones, wheel covers and bootlids, to create a very different, very special car.
1977 HX GTS Turbo
Another Leo Pruneau special, this groovy HX boasted custom duco, Firebird rims and a turbocharged 308 under the bonnet! Good for a reputed 360hp and low 15s over the quarter-mile, Holden boss John Bagshaw baggsed it for his personal transport after the car’s show life was over. It still exists, sans turbo.
1998 VT Commodore Coupe
The car that created a ruckus! Created from an automatic SS sedan and revealed at the 1998 Sydney Motor Show only minutes before Ford’s new AU Falcon, Mike Simcoe’s Commodore Coupe sparked a renaissance of Holden concept cars. Never intended to wear the Monaro name, the media and public who howled for its mass production would accept nothing else.
2002 V2 HSV HRT427
The projected price of $200k offset by the allure of a 420kw, 7.0-litre V8 in a road car with race capabilities attracted plenty of deposit holders for the HRT 427. HSV required 50 to be built to make the dollars stack up, but on-road homologation proved too big a hurdle; two were constructed, both by Garry Rogers Motorsport.
2002 V2 Monaro convertible
Developed by TWR on behalf of Holden, the Monaro convertible engineering study was ultimately too expensive and too late in the VT-based platform. Being embroiled in TWR’s financial collapse meant it also took two years before Holden even got their hands on it.
2004 V2 HSV GTS-R
Formed from the ashes of the HRT427 project, the GTS-R was created to spark interest in a possible one-make series. Powered by a 6.0-litre LS2, it also had bespoke suspension and AP Racing brakes. It wowed people at the 2004 Sydney Motor Show but the project did not get up.
2008 VE Coupe60
Though devoid of the Monaro name, the Coupe60, celebrating Holden’s 60th anniversary, returned to the original Monaro’s pillarless roots. The spectacular VE Commodore leant itself easily to the coupe shape, but sadly it remained a one-off and the final expression of Holden’s proud two-door heritage.