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Holden to Go, But Their Muscle Cars Live On


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SYDNEY – Feb 13, 2014: ‘Holdens’ will soon no longer be made in Australia, but the great Muscle Cars that proudly bore the nameplate in the 1960s and 1970s will live on, with nostalgia expected to drive up values of these iconic models in years to come.

This theory will be put to the test when a 1969 Holden HT Monaro GTS 350 ‘Bathurst Special’ goes under the hammer at Shannons Melbourne Late Summer Classic Auction on Monday (February 17).

In manual guise the 350 was a real rocket ship, with its Chevrolet-sourced 350-cid V8 modified with a 10.25:1 compression ratio to produce 300 horsepower (223kW), making it the most powerful Holden to that date.

Nobody is certain exactly how many HT 350s were made but the best estimate seems to be around 700.

This Monaro GTS 350 is believed to have a racing history in the 1970s and according to the vendor, was modified by Harry Firth for an independent race team, possibly in New Zealand.

However after a crash at Sydney’s Warwick Farm, the team sold the car to an employee of the sponsor.

The Monaro was then modified in the 1970s by a subsequent owner into a street machine, which included fitting it with a bored and stroked 400-cid V8 and a Turbo 400 automatic transmission.

Painted white, the Monaro remained in this guise until recently, when it was recognised as a highly desirable ‘81837’ body code 350 GTS and the decision was made to restore the car back to more authentic configuration, with manual transmission.

As part of its rebuild, the Monaro was repainted in its original and distinctive Daytona Bronze metallic, with black upholstery and now sits on a set of period 14” Torque Thrust style alloy wheels.

As the last real Bathurst homologation Monaro built by Holden, the GTS 350 has always been sought after by collectors, with Shannons expecting this restored, example to sell in the $75,000-$90,000 range at Monday’s auction, potentially representing good investment value.