Allan Moffat made the Monza name famous on Australian racetracks in the 1970s, the following decade it was Peter Brock through his HDT Special Vehicles operation who tried to bring it to Australian roads. Same name, but very different car.
Brock was loaned an Opel Monza when in Europe to race in the Le Mans 24 Hour in June 1981. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder may well have been suitable for the German autobahns, but Brock’s thoughts were on the opportunities for an Australianised V8 version.
This was very early days for HDT Special Vehicles, but the seed had been planted. It wasn’t until late 1983 when the plan finally made some serious progress with a single Anthacite Grey car arriving into HDT’s workshop. The independent rear suspension that set the car apart from the Commodore range remained, but the rest of the mechanicals were removed.
As the car shared the same basic floorpan as the Commodore, the Holden K-frame/ suspension, complete with rack-and-pinion steering to replace the Opel recirculating ball system, was a bolt-in job. A VH Group 3 engine was fitted, backed by a T5 five-speed gearbox. Front brakes were upgraded which included the fitment of Corvette calipers that Australian company Girlock were exporting to the US, while the standard Opel discs remained at the rear.
Brock envisaged a low-volume production with 25-50 cars annually suggested, with the car to be pitched as a powerful yet refined alternative to the European brands. This prototype made its public debut at Canberra’s motor show in March 1984 (right), and despite production not being confirmed, the order bank began to build.
Further public interest was generated when the car appeared on the May 1984 covers of both Wheels and Modern Motor magazines. Speculation exists regarding the reasons – sources close to Brock have been quoted as saying this was the first time Holden said ‘no’ to Brock – but the car never went into production.
So, what price do you put on a unique prototype that represents an unfulfilled dream of Peter Brock? We’ll have the answer when that very car goes under the hammer at Shannons’ Sydney auction on May 30.
In the meantime, Shannons has auctions scheduled for Melbourne (February 22) and Sydney (March 14). Of special interest in the first Victorian auction of 2016 are a 1974 Torana SL/R 5000, a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 and a range of numeric numberplates. Fast Fords headline the March 14 Sydney auction, namely a 1965 Cortina GT 500, a 1970 Mach 1 Mustang and a 1969 Torino Talledega 428.