MONAROS ON THE TRACK
The Monaro GTS 327 began to be hurled around Australian racetracks with sensational success not long after the first Monaros hit the streets. A first-up win by Tony Roberts and Bob Watson in a GTS 327 Monaro at the 1968 Sandown three-hour endurance race set the scene for Bruce Mcphee and Barry Mulholland to pilot their Warwick Yellow Monaro to victory in the ’68 Hardie-ferodo 500 at Bathurst. Named for its 327-cubic-inch (5358cc) Chevrolet V8, this intrepid performer boasted a Chevrolet Saginaw four-speed manual transmission, wider wheels and tyres, a larger 164-litre fuel tank, and improved engine cooling. The first Great Race proved a clean sweep for the Monaros, with the combinations of Jim Palmer / Phil West and Tony Roberts / Bob Watson claiming second and third, respectively, for a classic all-holden, all-monaro podium finish. The following year, Monaro again proved its mettle, with Colin Bond and Tony Roberts claiming victory and the young Peter Brock, also driving a Monaro, finishing third. In 1969, the first year under Harry Firth, Holden Dealer Team Monaro 350s came first (Bond/roberts) and third (West/brock) outright in the Hardie-ferodo 500 at Bathurst. HT GTS motor sport victories in 1970 included the Surfers Paradise 12-hour race (Bond/roberts) and the Australian Touring Car Championship (Norm Beechey). Although virtually retired from competition duties — replaced by the XU-1 Torana — the Monaro still managed an amazing year on the track in 1970. Beechey’s Monaro won the 1970 Australian Touring Car Championship, the first victory for a Holden driver in the championship.