DRIVE MONARO

JOHN BOWE

“OH SHIT – I forgot it didn’t have synchro on first!” regrets JB to owner Leigh as he accidentally grinds the cogs coming to a stop.

“Sorry!”

“This takes me back to my youth: I was at Devonport High School and I used to work after school at the Holden dealership, Motors Proprietary Limited; they were the state-wide Holden distributors. I used to ride my bike down after school and do general work such as clean the cars in the showroom.

“These were new, then.

And when the Monaro came out, it was like an event – everyone came to see it at the showroom. It was big news.

“Sure, Ford had had the Falcon coupe a few years earlier, but back in the day, Holden sold a heap more cars than Ford. It really was Australia’s own car. To be reunited with a car this nice… this one is in great condition.

“It has a lovely torquey, drivable engine. You can leave this in top gear a lot of the time and it just chugs along. It’ll do about 80mph flat out.

“It drives so tight – honestly, I reckon the NVH in this is better than a lot of new cars! This is the entry level Monaro but it’s surprising how comfortable it is. It’s very planted and stable – Aussie cars of the time never had that yank tank feel about them.

“Really, it’s a better drive than a Mustang.”