1969 Holden HT Monaro GTS 350 Coupe
Holden built on the success of the first Monaro when it released the improved HT model range in May 1969. The most obvious external change was the revised front and rear treatment while under the bonnet the HK's 327 V8 was replaced with a more powerful, Chevrolet-sourced 350-cid V8. Holden broadened the appeal of the GTS 350 by adding automatic transmission to the list of options, these cars having a slightly lower compression and detuned engine and were marketed as a Businessman's Express. In manual guise the 350 remained a real rocketship, with a 10.25:1 compression ratio and 300 bhp on tap, making this the most powerful Holden yet. Nobody is certain exactly how many HT 350s were made but the best estimate seems to be around 700. The GTS package added bonnet scoops, stripes and unique wheel trims, along with the option of houndstooth trim. Other mechanical improvements made across the HT range included the adoption of neoprene rubber front suspension bushes to replace the old steel bushings on the HK, resulting in a much more comfortable, quieter ride. The interior also came in for some revision, with a new seat design, door trims and revised instrumentation using more conventional round dials in place of the HK's old strip speedo. On the track, Holden called in Harry Firth to run the Holden Dealer Team operation for the first time. Colin Bond teamed up with Tony Roberts to score a fine win in the Mount Panorama enduro, while Des West and Peter Brock joined forces to finish third. Norm Beechey's famous yellow HT 350 GTS won the inaugural ATCC and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Aussie muscle cars. With the switch to the Torana as the frontline race weapon in 1970, the HT 350 was the last real Bathurst homologation Monaro built by Holden and as such, has always been sought after by collectors.