1976-77 HX MONARO
If the market for and the future of the Monaro brand seemed a little shaky with the HJ, the HX did little to alleviate those concerns. The coupe continued to be relegated to also-ran status.
In the meantime Holden (and others) was struggling to meet then new ADR27A emission requirements without strangling the performance and economy of its powerplants. Road tests of the day marked this with a note of disappointment.
For example Motor Manual published, in January 1977, that its GTS test car had, “Flashy looks, lots of options, big burbling V8… and vague handling, poor fuel economy, bad finish, and lazy engine.” Ouch! Now before you stalk outside and set fire to your HX, keep in mind that was then. The fact is most people would now be very happy to have one of these beauties in their driveway.
Clearly inf lation had struck as GTS sedan pricing now started at $7016. The base model had a 253 with four-speed manual, though you could option the M21 manual or Trimatic with that engine. If you opted for the 308, you got the M21 or Hydramatic 400.
Adding some depth to the offering was the LE Coupe, available with 308 and Hydramatic 400 only. It was framed very much as a personal luxury car. The story goes that Holden had 627 coupe bodies left over and wanted to see them used. Legendary designer Leo Pruneaux (the ‘father’ of the SS) was called in.
He ended up combining the distinctive maroon and gold paint scheme with the top-line drivetrain (including LSD) and rich internal fittings that included some Statesman inf luence. The LE Coupe clearly showed its roots, but didn’t have a Monaro badge on it, any where. It was also pricey, at $11,119.
In the end 580 Le Coupes were built plus 2079 GTS sedans.