Holden Monaro

The Holden Monaro is an automobile that was produced by GM Holden Ltd, an Australian subsidiary of General Motors, between 1968 and 1977 and between 2001 and 2005. Since 1968, three generations of the Monaro have been produced.Named after the Monaro region in New South Wales (although pronounced differently), the Monaro was introduced in July 1968 as a two-door pillarless hardtop coupe available in three models: the basic Monaro coupe, Monaro 'GTS' coupe and Monaro 'GTS 327' coupe. The GTS versions had "full instrumentation" which included a tachometer mounted on the centre console. This proved to be a bad location as the drivers knee would obstruct the view and it often rattled (Spotlight on Holden Monaro Page 6-7). The cars could be ordered with a choice of six cylinder engines of 161 cu in (2,640 cc) capacity (base only) or two versions of 186 cu in (3,050 cc) capacity (GTS with the uprated 186S only), or a 307 cu in (5,030 cc) capacity Chevrolet-sourced V8. The exclusive 'GTS 327' model was powered by the 250 bhp (186 kW) Chevrolet 327 cu in (5,360 cc) V8.HT series Monaros were assembled in South Africa from imported parts by General Motors South African (GMSA) at the Port Elizabeth assembly plant. Later the HG series Monaro was assembled and sold in South Africa badged as the Chevrolet SS. At this time GMSA had made a decision to market most of its products as Chevrolets. The Chevrolet SS had revised front styling unique to that model, incorporating four headlights and large turn indicators in the front edge of the fenders above the bumper. The Holden Monaro and Chevrolet SS models were both available with Holden 308 in3 (5.0L) and the Chevrolet 350 in3 (5.7 L) engines. South African sales totalled 1828 Monaros and 1182 SS models.


A completely new generation body design emerged with the HQ series in July 1971, including the new Monaro 'LS' (commonly believed to mean "Luxury Sports") model. There were no longer any six-cylinder versions of the Monaro GTS, just 253 or optional 308 V8s or the top level GTS350 coupe. The base model Monaro standard engine was enlarged to 173 cu in (2,830 cc) whilst the Monaro LS had a broad spectrum of engine options from a 202 cu in (3,310 cc) six to the 350 cu in (5,700 cc) V8. The new coupe design had a much larger rear window and a squarer rear quarter window; it was somehow seen as not as sporty looking compared to the earlier HK-HT-HG series, but is often now considered one of the best looking body designs to come from an Australian producer.A heavy facelift and some model rationalisation was applied to the HJ Monaro, which was released in October 1974. The 350 V8 engine option and the base Monaro coupe were both discontinued. The Monaro GTS continued to be available as a coupe or sedan with 253 cu in (4,150 cc) V8 power, or the optional 308 cu in (5,050 cc) V8 engine. The GTS sedan was now a model of its own - in HQ the GTS sedan was an optioned Kingswood. The Monaro LS coupe also continued within the range, but still with the 3.3 litre six-cylinder engine as its base power unit.New emissions regulations heralded the mildly facelifted HX Monaro GTS sedan, announced in July 1976. The HX was quite distinguishable, with liberal splashes of black paintouts contrasted against a range of bold body colours, and a choice of traditional chrome or body painted bumper bars.Holden found that it held more coupe bodyshells than could easily expended as "spare parts". The solution was the Holden Limited Edition, or 'LE', which was released on 27 September 1976. All were painted an exclusive metallic colour called LE Red. The LE was not badged or officially referred to as a Monaro. The LE was an amalgam of prestige and surplus parts (including an eight-track cartridge player well after cassette tapes were common), in effect a combination of Monaro GTS and Statesman Caprice components. The LE had a price tag to match: $11,500. The cars were built at the now-defunct Pagewood (Sydney) plant. Production totalled 580 vehicles. The distinctive honeycomb wheels fitted to the LE, which resembled those of the second generation Pontiac Firebird, were plastic hubcaps fitted to steel wheels.

Some 20 years had passed before the Monaro reappeared in the form of a Holden Commodore Coupé prototype, codenamed 'Matilda', that was shown at the Sydney Motor Show in 1998. Using the existing Holden Commodore, already based on the Opel Omega B modified chassis, Journalists quickly christened it the Monaro, encouraging Holden to build it. Public interest in the car grew and orders came flooding in. Eventually, Holden took the Matilda and redesigned it for production and by 2001, the V2 series Monaro was launched after General Motors spent A$60 million over a 22-month gestation period (although 12 to 18 were targeted). It was available in CV6 (production ceased in mid 2004) and CV8 models with a supercharged 3.8 L V6 and a 5.7 L Gen III V8, with a choice of a 6 speed manual or 4 speed automatic gearbox. A series 2 model debuted in early 2003 with a revised dashboard from the VY series Commodore, a new wheel design and some colours dropped and new ones added. The CV6 model was dropped after disappointing sales (reputedly 10 times as many Monaros were built as CV8s) when a Series 3 model appeared in 2004.Two special edition CV8-R Monaros were released, the first in a grey colour and the second in a more muted red. Each had special wheels and other distinguishing features.A HSV version (not called Monaro, but simply Coupe) in 'GTO' 255 kW (347 PS; 342 bhp) through 297 kW (404 PS; 398 bhp) and 'GTS' 300 kW (408 PS; 402 bhp) tuned by Callaway) versions debuted soon after Holden's release of the V2 Monaro editions. Due to high cost and low sales, the HSV 'GTS Coupe' was later dropped, but in its place in 2004 there appeared a 270 kW four-wheel drive version called 'Coupe4'.The third generation Monaro was exported to several overseas markets. It was sold as a (right hand drive) in South Africa as the Chevrolet Lumina. It was also sold, in left hand drive, in the Middle East as the Chevrolet Lumina Coupe, and in the United States as the Pontiac GTO, reviving another classic muscle car icon. However, at least one commentator has described it as a 'flop' because of its poor US sales. It was withdrawn from the US market in 2006, although a few were still on dealers' lots in 2007.The Holden Monaro convertible, codenamed 'Marilyn', was built as a fully operational one-off in 2004, and was never intended to reach production. Unusually for a Holden-badged concept, it was left hand drive.


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