1969 Holden HT GTS Monaro 350 Coupe
Result: PASSED IN
Holden’s original sports coupe, badged the Monaro, proved so popular in its original HK guise there was no question it would continue when the facelifted HT model was announced in May 1969. The most obvious external changes made to the HT were the plastic grille and squared-off rear sheet metal with distinctive stacked tail lights, while the interior also came in for some revision, including redesigned seats and door trims, while the instrumentation saw the HK’s strip speedo replaced with conventional round dials. Most Monaros were equipped with the more prosaic 186 six-cylinder or 308 V8 (once stocks of the imported 307 dried up) and automatic transmission gained in popularity – not every Monaro owner was looking to go drag racing and even GTS 350 models were available with the Powerglide. 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. Taking the fight to the Falcon GTs, Holden homologated the 350 in time for Bathurst in 1969 and, with Harry Firth masterminding the Holden Dealer Team operation, Colin Bond teamed up with Tony Roberts to score a fine win in the Mount Panorama enduro, while Des West and a young Peter Brock joined forces to finish third. The HT Monaro went on to enjoy a stellar motorsport career, with Norm Beechey taking out the inaugural ATCC in his famous yellow 350, widely regarded as one Australia’s greatest race cars. The HK/HT/HG Monaros are reaching new levels of popularity with collectors, as they become properly appreciated for their place in Australian motoring history.