1969-70 HT MONARO
Incredibly, the HK had been on the market a bare 12 months when it was superseded by the HT. This was a whole lot more than just a facelift model, though there were the inevitable changes to trim and graphics.
However the big news was the new range of engines coming through. The US-sourced 307 was to be phased out, while the local 253 joined the line-up, eventually followed by the 308.
Thanks to the ongoing performance wars, particularly with Ford’s Falcon, a GM-sourced 350 V8 became the premium powerplant.
For many, the 253 was a revelation. Some 36 kilos heavier than a 186, it claimed 185 horses versus 145 for the S version of the six. The 308 meanwhile claimed 240 horses and the 350, when mated to a manual transmission, some 300hp.
The auto version of the 350 ran lower compression and some 25hp less. Despite the power drop, the auto was widely praised as a quick and easy-going road car.
Holden also got stuck into the chassis, with some changes intended to provide a smoother ride. Most significant according to the Holden release of the day was “the new Y-frame engine cradle which isolates the engine transmission assembly from the passenger compartment, and the new front end geometry setting which gives an improved steering feel and greatly improved directional control”.
Incredibly, the 161 engine remained as the base powerplant for the Monaro. As with the HK, the orders must have been few given the upgrade to 186 was not a lot of money.
A year had seen the prices rise a little, but not so much that you’d be picketing the factory gates. The base price was now $2651, while the base GTS with 186S engine and Opel four-speed manual was now $3183. The mighty GTS 350 with its distinctive bonnet ‘nostrils’ started at $3995 – substantial money but still something of a bargain.
Production numbers reached 14,172, including export cars.