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1973 Holden Monaro GTS 4-Door

published by Adrian Puyol August 11, 2023

I’ve had the car in its ‘finished’ state for about 10 years. I’ve had her for 13 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.

As soon as I got the car, 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.

With the body painted in Barbados Green, 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 2.5” 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 than 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.