1968-69 HK MONARO

Unique Cars - - MONARO 50 YEARS -

It’s a big thing to throw the cor­po­rate dice and go through the long and ex­pen­sive throes of de­vel­op­ing a new car. Plenty of mak­ers have done it and many have seen their plans turn to ash be­cause they’ve mis­read the mar­ket.

So you might for­give the GM-H folk if they were a lit­tle jumpy dur­ing the launch of the new Monaro. In many re­spects it was as sig­nif­i­cant for the lo­cal mar­ket as Ford’s Mus­tang had been for the USA.

It was to be a busy year, with some 147,200 cars sold, in­clud­ing all the HK range. The coupe was avail­able in three ma­jor mod­els: Monaro, Monaro GTS and Monaro GTS 327. With the avail­able mix and match op­tions for en­gines and trans­mis­sions, there were 19 vari­ants.

Sur­pris­ingly you could for a while or­der a base 161 with three-on-the-tree (no syn­chro on first), but the num­ber built was tiny. Up to 268 is the best fig­ure we can find (see Norm Dar­win’s ex­cel­lent book Monaro Magic) and the 186 was the six of choice for most.

From there you had three ma­jor streams: Monaro 186 or 307, Monaro GTS with the same en­gine ca­pac­ity op­tions, or Monaro GTS 327. The prices started at $2575 for the Monaro, $3078 for the base (186) GTS and $3790 for the 327.

The GTS 186 and 307 pack­ages in­cluded in­te­rior trim that was near enough to Premier in its level, with the ad­di­tion of a con­sole tacho, plus nu­mer­ous ex­te­rior de­tails. Per­haps more im­por­tantly, there was a real ef­fort made to tidy up the han­dling, with a quicker steer­ing ra­tio and up­graded sus­pen­sion.

The 327 mean­while scored wider wheels and track, plus a lower stance along with the me­chan­i­cal up­grades. From the rear, the big give-away was the row of four ex­haust pipe tips with their dis­tinc­tive bur­ble.

To­tal HK coupe pro­duc­tion reached 15,637.

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