1974-76 HJ MONARO

Unique Cars - - MONARO 50 YEARS -

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).

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