71 Monaro a love-hate job
THE Holden Monaro has come a long way since its conception in 1968 as an auto show prototype.
Developed as Australia's first real sports car, it saw Holden finally become a viable competitor in motor racing.
An intrinsically Australian car, the Monaro was actually influenced by automotive trends in the USA.
Its roofline was modelled on the front-drive Oldsmobile Tornado coupe, a car that made a sensation when it was introduced in the USA in 1966, and also features the same rear pillars as that vehicle and more.
At Bathurst the Monaro encouraged the Ford versus Holden mentality with its stylish good looks and fast track speed.
In 2003 Holden decided to update the Monaro and put it back on the sports car market with more power, more rigidity and more luxury.
The Monaro look was maintained but bettered and it has since sold like hotcakes.
Following its Australian success it was exported to the USA.
By ROXANNE MILLAR
BRETT Hutcheson has always liked a challenge, but never did he imagine a car could cause him so much frustration.
The Murwillumbah man has spent the past 12 years restoring a 1971 HG Monaro GTS into perfect, pristine condition.
The challenge to get it to meet his exacting standards saw him give up on the project several times in anger, and other times he was forced to stop in dismay when money ran short.
"I wish I had never started it. I look back and think I could have spent the money on something different," he said.
"Cars are the biggest money pits out there and everyone knows that."
Mr Hutcheson bought four rolling shells to help reconstruct the Monaro, which was a shell when he got it in 1993.
He decided to have it painted hot pink for "something different" and even shopped for its parts in America.
But his blood, sweat and tears paid off recently when he won a prestigious award at the biggest car show in Australia.
Only days after having it registered, which signalled its completion, it was accepted as a late entry into the Brisbane Car Show where he won the Street Machine component for vehicles built from 1971 onwards.
"It was amazing. I had a great spot on the floor after being accepted four days before the opening," he said.
"There were some beautiful cars, some that obviously never get driven, because if you got a stone chip you would just cry."
But Mr Hutcheson is nowhere near as precious with his vehicle and is counting down the days until he can take it drag racing at the Willowbank Speedway.
"I'm just waiting for the engine to be run in. I can't wait to see how fast it goes," he said.
"And my sons love to ride in it. I just make them dust off their feet before they get in!"