Classic Cars

Unearthed: 1976 Holden Monaro GTS

Australians have loved their small-block V8s for just about as long as Americans have.

If you've ever been to Australia or happen to know somebody from the land 'down under,' then you may be aware of the fact that Australians are just as crazy about cars as Americans are. While we're not questioning the fact that Europeans and countless other nations are also full of true gearheads, but both the U.S. and Australia have plenty of something many other countries don't: wide open spaces. So it makes sense that Australians are also fond of V8-powered muscle cars.

In fact, GM's Australian subsidiary brand, Holden, has built plenty of wonderful models that Americans would love to have. Besides from launching the 'ute in 1951 along with other models that could handle the harsh off-road conditions of the Outback, Holden also built muscle cars. Years before they developed the platform for the current Camaro (which is really a shortened version of the four-door Commodore/dearly departed Pontiac G8), they also built a car called the Monaro. First launched in 1968, it was originally a two-door hardtop coupe that was offered with a variety of engines, such as 327 and 350 cu in small-block V8s.

The second generation was launched in 1971 and Holden continued to offer V8s. A sedan variant soon followed and by 1973, the Monaro GTS sedan became one of the most sought-after V8 sedans on the Australian market. To make the GTS stand out against the base six-cylinder Kingswood sedan, Holden added some bold contrasting paint colors on the hood and blacked-out the front grille. This 1976 Monaro GTS was bought by its current owner back in 2006 and he soon began a complete restoration. The owner claims the car was the victim of some 1980s and 90s add-ons and his goal was to bring it back to its original stock condition.

Besides from completely repainting it, the owner also replaced every panel from the wing mirrors forward, re-sprayed the trunk and added new carpet. He also detailed the engine bay, added new indicator lenses, front grille, GTS badges, and other new bits of exterior trims. The interior was also given a major refresh and cleaning. And to keep the car as period-specific as possible, the owner removed the stereo and speakers with a stock AM deck. The only original factory options include an automatic transmission, front and rear spoilers, and herringbone seat inserts.

Powered by a 253 cu in 4.1-liter V8, this reborn Monaro GTS sedan is a true muscle car gem from another small-block V8-obsessed nation. Photos courtesy of SILVRMXSIK

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