1973 Holden Monaro GTS 4-Door
Adrian Puyol | Repco Nunawading Customer Service and Sales
I drive a 1973 Holden HQ GTS MonaroHow long have you owned your Monaro?
I've had the car in its 'finished' state for about 7 years. I've had her for 11 years in total. My parents where kind enough to gift me with a one-owner, plane-jane, White on Gold HQ Holden Kingswood as an 18th birthday present. It's quite a funny story. Working through my final year of High School, I would see this old HQ Kingswood at the end of the street, parked out the front of an older gentleman's home, Ken. I brought up with my folks 'Have you seen the old HQ out the front of Ken's home? I might knock on the door and see if he is interested in selling it!'
My dad proclaims 'Oh I spoke to him, he isn't interested in selling. It's a lost cause Adrian'. The months roll by, I'm studying hard through my final year of high school, and then my birthday rolls up. As a gift, my family gave me a model of a Holden HQ GTS Monaro. My parents, with shifty smiles on their faces tell me to 'look at the model, really look at it!' So, I begin to open up the miniature doors on the model car and see a set of old keys inside. I'm then told to go out to the garage. As a family, we open the garage, and behold, it's the car from down the street months prior! It turns out my folks had purchased the car from the original owner, in Melbourne's outer east, and stored it out the front of Ken's house until it was my birthday. The plot for me wanting to buy it from Ken was just the icing on the cake!
Currently, it's running a Small Block Chev. This was the largest engine available in the HQ range at the time, and thus doesn't require engineer certification for road worthiness. The engine was purchased as a new turn-key crate engine from the US in mid-2011, when the dollar was very favourable from Australian's purchasing US goods. New GM cast-iron SBC block, bored and stroked to 383ci. Forged crank, rods and pistons. Alloy AFR heads, Edelbrock RPM Air Gap manifold, 880cfm Edelbrock Thunder AVS carb and polished serpentine system.
As soon as the veil had been lifted, so to speak, I began plotting on what my plans were going to be for my HQ. Pretty early on, I knew I wanted to transform this plane Jane Kingswood into a GTS with all the bells and whistles. I really love the look of 4-door GTS Holdens. The out-there colour schemes, the thundering V8 sound and their road presence really appealed to me. So, with a goal in mind, I (along with my father) began tearing down, documenting through photos and bagging/tagging each individual part right down to the bare body and chassis.
Working part time at Repco whilst finishing high-school and then later through University, I would save up, and then purchase components and hardware. Some more expensive than others. The body, panels, chassis and all suspension components were soda blasted. The chassis and suspension were powder-coated, and the body was layed in epoxy primer whilst a suitable body shop was chosen to tackle the works we were after. The body colour selected is called Barbados Green, only offered by Holden in 1973. Its sort of a yellowish lime green, and I think it just time stamps the early 70s perfectly, I love it!
With the body painted, the chassis was reinstalled on the body with new body mounts and suspension components, sitting a little lower then factory. The brakes were completely redone with PBR rebuild kits. Larger front and rear sway bars fitted, and wheels were sourced from the states, being 15x7 with 215/60/15 on the front, and 15x8 245/50/15 on the rear. Transmission (Stage 2 shift kitted TH400, 3000rpm stall) and differential (Ford 9inch, 3.7) were sourced, and a custom tail-shaft and universal joints were made. The exhaust was custom made, twin 2.5in with Lukey performance mufflers. Then ceramic coated silver, with the tips coated black to merge into the black lower portion of the car. A completely new wiring loom was made from scratch, and it neatly hidden away , meaning that the engine bay is left to look extremely neat and tidy. Battery was relocated to the boot also.
With the body and panel repair complete, and modified, it was a rolling shell and was time for the interior! Originally a three-on-the-tree car with a bench seat, we had to source sedan bucket seats, a centre console and make other necessary changes in order to make the T-bar auto shifter work. The interior is all redone, with black vinyl with white/black houndstooth inserts. GTS steering wheel, GTS dash board and Black venetian blinds. The car was finished in 2013 during my IBL year of university, meaning I was earning some money that could then be spent on my Holden. Its now on the Victorian Club Permit Scheme and is mainly used as a weekend driver on day trips or weekends away.Where do you work on your car?
All my work is done in the garage at my parent's home. My Dad used to run his own Auto Mechanical Repairs business from home, and a relic of that business is a 2-post hoist, so that comes in handy for me, and all of my car obsessed siblings.
I work on my car (and all my mechanical toys) with solely Repco tools. I began with an empty Repco 7 drawer Trolley and 9 drawer Repco tool chest, and slowly acquired tools as the need came for them. With the Holden, an AF set of tools was needed, and I can safely safe, that every nut/bolt was wrenched with a Repco Socket Set or Repco Spanner.How does the car drive?
The car drives quite well considering its nearly 50 years old. I have had a few more mature individuals drive the car, and they have commented that this car drives significantly better then HQs that they remember from years past. Even though this car has been completely rebuilt, you still must consciously remember that you are driving a 50-year-old design. This car must be respected in how it is driven. All your inputs have to be considered when driving, throttle, brake, steering input etc.
It is not like driving a modern car, where the car drives you. In driving this car, you have to work the car to get it to do what you want. She is very comfortable to cruise around in however. The best explanation I can think of is its like sitting down on an old couch at your grandparent's house. You know it's not good for your posture, but you're still very comfortable. She likes to drink too. At last estimate, on the highway, I calculated that she consumed fuel at a rate of 25L/100km.What oils do you use?
I always use Penrite fluids on all my wheeled vehicles. The quality, range, and technical support that they offer is unparallel in my opinion. I used
My daily drive is a 2012 Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo. It's big and comfy and has plenty of power to keep me occupied. Its good on longer drives, is easy and cheap to service and has been nothing but reliable for me. Although not car related, my other wheeled friends are motorcycles! I recently built up a 1973 Honda CB175 as a project, and I'm now working on a 1980 Yamaha XS250 to keep me mechanically occupied. I also have a Royal Enfield Interceptor that ill use for weekend rides or commute to work in when the weather permits.
Thanks Adrian, this is a really mint aussie car, the barbados green with the black stripes is one of the best colours on the 70's GM Holdens. A great story about your parents getting this for your 18th birthday, i'm sure many of us would want it for our 48th birthday let alone our 18th birthday nice to see you putting the immense effort into a classic car and giving it a completely new lease on life. We dig it and this is exactly what we enjoy seeing. Car people showing off their passion for their project cars and adding their own style and aesthetic, whether it's a classic Holden, modern day Focus RS or low powered 3 cylinder Kei car, we all have our own taste and reasons for modifying our chosen vehicle and this Monaro GTS is a perfect representation of that. Enjoy your weekend drives and hopefully you find a way to tackle the 25L/100km fuel economy.