1974-76 HJ MONARO
Asignificant swing in the market, away from coupes saw Holden concentrating its efforts on the four-door for the next generation Monaro, the HJ. Launched in October 1974, the coupe had the American-inf luenced squared-off front treatment but still carried the HQ-era rear end. However the sedan was HJ front and rear.
Despite the two distinct body shells, the range had been trimmed back drastically. Gone was the base model range, plus the previous stars of the show – the 350s. The rationale for the disappearance of the big powerplant was the local 308 could be developed to make as much power and didn’t carry the tax penalty suffered by an imported engine.
So now your choices started with the Monaro LS coupe range starting at $4816, the GTS coupes at $4906 and the GTS four-doors at $4804.
Trimatic autos were standard equipment on LS 202 sixes and 253 V8s, while the 308 came with a Turbo-Hydramatic. Standard in the GTS was the 253 with a four-speed manual. You could of course upgrade to the full five litres and/or auto.
Making life confusing was you could in fact accessorise a Kingswood up to GTS appearance and spec, though it made no sense as the ‘real’ package was cheaper. However the ease of conversion means that there are a fair number of Kingswoods that have been retrofitted with the good gear.
The GTS series did run stiffer suspension, which seemed to be a mixed blessing, depending on who was doing the review. It tidied up the handling in some circumstances, but it was less popular over rough roads. If nothing else, a GTS sedan with the spoilers and the distinctive graphics looked like it meant business.
Production numbers reveal a huge swing away from coupes, a trend that started late in the life of the HQ, with just 943 HJ two-doors being built and 4574 sedans (5517 total).