The good life, the young life, Monaro. The most flattering accessory a beautiful woman can own
Here’s Brocky giving the new HQ GTS a flog, in front of a whole bunch of NSW coppers no doubt itching to give him a ticket for having a fake number plate
Holden Monaro – the mightiest will lead.
Jonny Udy’s late model twin turbo Monaro. From the GT1 Race Series in Taupo Dwayne Carter’s ex-V8 Supercar BF Ford Falcon. We catch up with young top alcohol dragster Todd Vincent
Jonny Udy’s late model twin turbo Monaro. From the GT1 Race Series in Taupo Dwayne Carter’s ex-V8 Supercar BF Ford Falcon. We catch up with young top alcohol dragster Todd Vincent
This car features a custom SQPbuilt WarHawk block 402 running the LS7 port ETp cyl heads, Ross pistons, Oliver rods, Callies crank, in the LS2 block, MWS custom made supercharger system using a Vortech V7ysi compressor, Twin plate cerametallic clutch, 2″ headers and a twin 3.5″ exhaust and a super tough 4L80e transmission with a Yank high stall and lots lots more. Dyno run was with a manual fitted.
From burnt out wreck to tyre-frying streeter, this genuine GTS Monaro has come a long way
Black cars always catch your eye. They stand out for many reasons but black cars either look bloody fantastic or decidedly average, and the difference is usually in the preparation stages before paint. If the panels aren’t 100 per cent perfect, every little imperfection stands out like dogs’ balls. This genuine Holden Monaro HQ GTS is one of the stunners.
The HQ is, and always will be, a sought-after Holden model, let alone the top shelf GTS variant. I can remember lusting after one when I was first getting into cars as a late teenager. There used to be a gold four-door I saw frequently in Upper Hutt. It looked cool with the then period Trident mags, louvres on the rear screen and the typical 350 Chev with turbo 350 and Ford nine-inch diff. Couple all that with bench seats front and rear and you had a cool street cruiser that had a good level of performance and room for all your mates. And that was just the base model, not a two-door GTS with factory 350 Chev already in place.
A Good Base
Given the popularity of the HQ series of racing, many a car was gobbled up to build and repair race cars. As a result there aren’t that many good examples seen on the roads any more. Mind you, a slight rust problem didn’t do the model any favours either, and if and when you do see one on the street it tends to stand out. If you couple that rarity with the sparkling black paint on this example, it’s a recipe for a cool car that will definitely get noticed and admired by all who see it.
Des Pollington of Lower Hutt got his hands on this car around seven years ago and set about a 12-month rebuild. I had heard of it without ever actually seeing it, but people others spoke very highly of the HQ. They had peered underneath and were impressed by how it was mint in every regard.
A few weeks later I got to see the car for the first time. It looked just as described: a mint original car that had been lovingly repaired and was now a knockout in an understated way.
While living in New Plymouth Des had always wanted an HQ, and saw an ad for a genuine GTS ” with the paperwork to prove it ” for sale in Auckland. Not wanting to miss out, he raced up to find, yes, a genuine HQ GTS with all the right pedigree documents. But¦
There’s always a but, it’s just the size of the but that changes, ask any guy. We are always asked to comment on the size of butts. So how big was the but? Think Jennifer Lopez; she has plenty of junk in her trunk.
A Flaming Mess
The car as Des viewed it had been bur-not out, the front had been bastardised by the attachment of HZ panels and the interior was pretty much poked. Thankfully the price was right, as one would expect of a basket case with papers.
After the burnt-out shell had been sent to New Plymouth, Des started the rebuild. The process began with the car being stripped down to the bare bones to see how bad it really was. Let’s face it, you have to start from scratch if black paint is to be used. Well, that and a car that’s been burnt out usually means a full strip-down and disassembly is in order.
But wait, there’s more. No, not a free set of Ginsu knives, but a phone call from Des’s sister. She knew of the HQ and that it was to be rebuilt as a minter and she wanted to use it as a wedding car. No problem. Except that the wedding date was only 10 months away. You can’t keep a girl waiting at the altar, let alone waiting for the car to get her to the church on time, so Des had to burn a little midnight oil in the garage to ensure he didn’t miss the
Among all this Des moved down to the Hutt Valley, so the HQ was dropped off to Classic Auto Restoration Services in Upper Hutt to have the body straightened out and restored to better than it was 35 years ago. With the HZ front clip removed, the rest of the dings the years had inflicted were fixed before an HQ Premier front was fitted. It was then that painter Basil laid on the coats of beautiful black paint. That black shows the quality of workmanship in the prep and repair stages, and the paint job is outstanding. Very subtle, not over the top but clean, understated and worthy of more than just a passing glance.
Rare Spares in Christchurch sourced a number of replacement panels and parts, so many that the car looks new again, as if it has just rolled off the assembly line at the General Motors plant. All the lenses, chrome and fittings are perfect. This isn’t some half-arsed, close-enough-is-good-enough level of finish.
Underneath, the chassis is standard, But it’s all been cleaned up and detailed so the underside of the car doesn’t look out of place. There’s nothing worse than a great-looking car that looks like a pile of crap when it’s up on a hoist.
Keeping It Real
While the body was getting stripped to the bare bones the engine was pulled out and delivered to Rob Low, of Arthur & Low Ltd in New Plymouth. There the factory 350CI four-bolt main block was stripped and given a 60-thou overbore. A set of Badger pistons was put back on the factory 5.7-inch connecting rods and the rotating assembly was slotted in along with a crank from a 307.
In keeping with the original iron theme of the engine so far, next came a pair of 64cc Fuelie heads that received a good match porting job before being fitted with standard-sized stainless valves. The heads also received a set of roller rockers, which are operated by a flat tappet cam.
Sitting on top of the heads is a dual-plane inlet manifold that hosts a Holley 650cfm double pumper carb fed a steady diet by a mechanical pump from the factory fuel tank.
The ignition was given an upgrade in the name of performance and reliability by adding an MSD system, including high-energy 8mm leads. Of course, breathing in is one thing, but you soon fall over if you never exhale. The HQ does that nicely via a set of Pacemaker headers leading into a twin 2.5-inch system. To keep the old girl cool there’s a four-core radiator, and hiding at the opposite end of the engine bay, behind the 350 engine, is a freshened-up Turbo 350 auto trans with a 3000rpm stall converter. The only departure from stock is the fitment of a Ford nine-inch LSD with a set of 3.25:1 gears, which although frowned upon by purists is a sensible, peace of mind upgrade.
The suspension is pretty much taken care of with stock springs and Monroe shocks, and the whole lot has been finished off with the fitment of neoprene bushes all round, which is in keeping with Des’s wish for good handling.
The Centerline rims give the car that old school look while still retaining some period perfection about the whole deal. The mags measure 15×8 inches at the rear and 15×7 at the front.
Again in keeping with the older school modification theme, the tyres are the same as they wore in the ’80s: BF Goodrich TA radials measuring 215/60R15 at the front and 245/60R15 on the back.
The interior has been left standard but with new upholstery, carpets and trim panels, while the factory GTS steering wheel was retained. The dash was unmolested and the only real departure from stock inside is the fitment of the B&M shifter. Okay, I lied: the colour-matched fluffy dice weren’t a factory option back in 1972. Maybe they should have been.
Much to his sister’s delight, Des did manage to get the car finished on time and it drove her to the church as requested. After working flat out on the car for10 months, what more is there to do other than enjoy the fruits of your labour and cruise? Mind you, the GTS has been known to smell a little like smoke now and then. Thankfully, these days it’s all tyre and not fire.
Des Pollington – 1972 Holden Monaro GTS
Age: 40-something and counting
Previously owned Cars: HT Monaro, Ford T Bucket, 1938 Plymouth, various HT and HQ Holdens
Dream car: 1963 Corvette Stingray
Build time: 10 months
Length of ownership: Seven years
DEs Thanks: Basil Gowenlock at Classic Auto Restoration Services in Upper Hutt, Nick Trethewey Mobile Upholstery, Rob Low from Arthur and Low Ltd New Plymouth, the lads at Rare Spares Christchurch, Gary Cawthra at AV8 Performance Centre Lower Hutt
ENGINE: Small block 350ci (5735cc) four-bolt Chevrolet, 307 crank, Badger pistons, iron Chevrolet 64cc Fuelie heads, stainless valves, roller rockers, dual plane manifold, Holley 650cfm double pumper
DRIVELINE: Turbo 350, 3000rpm stall, Ford nine-inch diff, 3.25:1 ratio
BRAKES: Stock disc/drum
SUSPENSION: Monroe shocks, Neoprene bushes
WHEELS/TYRES: 15×7 and 15×8-inch Centerline rims, 215/60R15 and 245/60R15 BF Goodrich T/A radials
EXTERIOR: Gloss black/stock
INTERIOR: B&M shifter, stock GTS
Words: Allan Blithe Photos: Quinn Hamill
The 18-month build of this stunning HQ Monaro was made all the more difficult ” everyone involved was sworn to secrecy
It’s a sad but very common story: a car is purchased as a project, stripped to bits, and then never sees the light of day again. Richard Bloemendal had been in this situation before, when a previously good HQ sedan ended up being a disaster. Once Richard and his wife, Jayne, decided they would dip their toes in the modified car waters again, the first thing agreed upon was the fact that it had to be a complete secret until the car was finished. With Jayne keeping close tabs on what Richard said, somehow that aim was miraculously achieved. And when you consider the build took 18 months it, was no easy task.
Although Rich and Jayne weren’t really looking for a project, while on forced leave from work Richard stumbled upon the bones of one, a ’72 Monaro with plenty of new parts to go with it. However, the owner was unable to complete the build. The body shell looked okay, as did the engine, so a deal was done and the Monaro dragged home.
Having had a previous good experience with Prism Panel and Paint, the car was delivered there in order to be stripped and panelled.
After a week or so the good news was that the stripping had been done well. The bad news was that it had exposed the fact the body would require major repairs for it to be any good. If it hadn’t been for some serious determination not to let the project fall on its face, that may well have been the end of it. Obviously the decision was made to carry on, albeit with a new body shell. Monaros aren’t the easiest thing to find these days, but lady luck was obviously on the Bloemendal’s side, as a six-cylinder base-spec one was on Trade Me for a decent price. It was a nervous time for Richard watching the auction, knowing that on one hand a shell would be hard to find, but on the other, it wasn’t worth paying too much. Luckily, they got the car.
Also luckily, the neighbours didn’t mind lending their garage to the cause, as the second car was stripped and their garage resembled a scene from Monster Garage. The second shell was dropped to Prism and the first back to the neighbours’, where it was slowly pieced together with the worst parts from both cars and put up for sale. It was lucky that the car (known as Frankenstein) took so long to be sold, as parts ended up being pulled back off it.
Meanwhile At The Paint Shop
Back over at Prism, the main car was taking shape while both Richard and Jayne were scouring the countryside for bits and sorting out the rest of the package. It turned out that motor, which had looked good upon purchase, was full of water, adding to the list of dramas during the build.
Rather than mess around with a rebuild or an unknown setup, DC Trading was called upon to supply a crate motor. The 350ci small block Chev has a bit of extra fruit on it these days in the form of an Edelbrock intake manifold, Edelbrock carb and HEI ignition system. While not a wild package, it should be good for around 350 to 400hp, which in a lightweight car like the Monaro is more than enough to get into trouble. Speaking of trouble, that’s exactly what was going on over at the panel shop. Glen, the owner of the business, was called away unexpectedly, and the front guards would not fit. Old Frankenstein happily donated guards to the cause, and after many hours of prep the door jambs and engine bay were the first to be treated to the stunning PPG Vibrance Sunset Orange paint.
The colour needs to be seen in person to be appreciated properly, though getting it to look this good proved a bit of a stumbling block, through no fault of anyone in particular. In the end it was all sorted, with a huge debt of thanks to PPG. Sharp eyes may have noticed the subtle stripes on the bonnet, a neat look that is reminiscent of a stock Monaro, albeit much more modern. Losing the horrible vinyl roof didn’t hurt, either.
Between trips to the paint shop to check on progress and pick up and deliver parts, Richard found his way to Arrow Wheels, where Lance sorted him out with some new feet for the Monaro. Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dogs measuring 17×8 inches now take pride of place on each corner. Up front the chrome rollers are fitted with 235/40 rubber, while down the rear traction is provided by slightly wider 245/45s.
Over And Under
Before the flash new wheels could be fitted, a diff was constructed by using the best parts from both Monaros and even the original HQ sedan. Once pieced together it was sent off to HPC for some everlasting colour treatment. Before being fitted back to the body shell, the vehicle’s underside was sprayed in stone chip-proof matte black, and a host of stainless fasteners were purchased. After doing the maths on what it would cost to get the bolts coated compared to buying new ones, the decision was an easy one.
While all the body work was taking place, the interior was also well under way. Kelly and the team from Stitches Upholstery were the ones entrusted with the task, and what a great job they did. Since Richard is in the colourant industry, he purchased the black leather and left the rest up to Jayne.
One of the final things to be sorted was the custom centre console, which wraps perfectly around the B&M shifter.
It’s All In The Detail
At the start of the build Rich and Jayne were lucky to have met one of the car’s previous owners, a chap called John Morse. It turns out John is a dab hand at wiring cars, and his attention to detail bordered on obsessive. Needless to say the workmanship is flawless. This attention to detail extends throughout the vehicle, with the suspension, diff and undercarriage now looking every bit as good as the top side does.
Speaking of suspension, due to the use of Koni adjustable shocks, King springs, Nolathane bushes and an oversized sway bar, the handling is far removed from what it was when the car left the factory all those years ago.
After an 18-month build period both Rich and Jayne are no doubt delighted to have the car on the road. It would have been all too easy to give up when the going got tough, but thanks to some serious determination on the part of this couple, that was never an option. When asked what was the hardest part of the build, the answer was obvious. “Keeping the whole thing a secret. It was right under our friends’ and families’ noses the whole time and they didn’t know,” Richard says. “At one stage we were sitting at the traffic lights with a body on the trailer, and saw John [Jayne’s uncle]. We thought we were busted for sure, but luckily he didn’t notice us.
“We thought he would recognise our tow vehicle, being directly opposite him at the lights. I mean it’s not often you see someone towing an early model Monaro on a trailer; most blokes would have a gander, wouldn’t they?”
There was no shortage of other funny ” or should that be learning? ” experiences throughout the build. Times like when Richard sold the good coupe boot lid thinking the sedan one would work, then had to chase the guy who bought it to get it back. Luckily the new owner had found it didn’t fit his sedan, or else there could have been another setback.
So would they do it again? I don’t think it will be any time soon, but now they’ve proved they have what it takes to build a stunner, and all the contacts needed to complete one. Who knows what may happen in the future?
1972 HQ Holden Monaro
Engine: 350ci (5735cc) small block Chev crate motor, alloy dish top pistons, four-bolt mains, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold, roller rockers, Edelbrock 650 AVS Thunder Series carb, braided fuel lines, Delco HEI HP distributor, Mallory leads, Pacemaker headers (Procoated), 2.5-inch exhaust, Edelbrock 304 stainless mufflers, twin electric fans, custom loom
Driveline: TH350 transmission, high stall converter, HPC-coated 10-bolt Salisbury LSD, custom driveshaft
Suspension: Koni adjustable shocks, King springs, Nolathane bushes, oversize sway bar
Brakes: Slotted discs, standard callipers and rear drums
Wheels/tyres: 17×8-inch Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dog rims, 235/40R17 and 245/45R17 Hankook Ventus tyres
Exterior: Partially de-chromed, PPG Vibrance Sunset Orange paint
Interior: Full leather re-trim, Hurst shifter, GTS steering wheel, HQ GTS optioned, custom centre console, JVC head unit, Soundstream amp, 12-inch Soundstream subwoofer, two-way speakers front and rear
Performance: Approx 350-400hp
Richard and Jayne Blomendal
Age: 45 and 39 respectively
Occupation: Both in sales
Previously owned cars: ’74 HQ V8 sedan, ’64 Falcon
Dream car: Dodge Challenger 440 RT (him), ’69 Fastback Mustang (her)
Why the HQ? “Wife decided to give me something to do whilst moping at home one time,” says Richard
Build time: 18 months
Length of ownership: 24 months
Richard and Jayne thank: John Morse for excellent electrics, Glenn Lunn and the team that was Prism Autocolour, Mark Brearly (PPG), Steve Matich for engine and drivetrain etc, Kelly and the team at Stitches, Lance (Arrow Wheels), Dale (Sayers Holden spares), Todd (STA parts), Kwikstrip (Avondale), and bro Dave for the help dismantling.
Richard would also like to thank Jayne for being as passionate about the project as he was.