Holden was the last of the General Motors’ divisions to market a pillarless hardtop coupe. All of its US divisions had been producing coupes for many years and during the 60s Opel ventured into the coupe market with its large Admiral coupe that could be had with a Chevrolet 283cid V8 in its top version. Smaller Opel coupes followed. Even arch conservative Vauxhall had coupes long before Holden.
The European and Japanese companies successfully began selling coupes in small but consistent numbers from the mid-to-late 60s; Holden’s great rival in Australia, Ford, introduced the Falcon hardtop coupe with its XP range and while initial success was had, buyer interest waned and Ford also lost interest.
Adding the Monaro to the HK range knowing the way the Falcon had blossomed and died must have taken guts. We, the motoring enthusiast of Australia, thank the executives who backed the decision and the talented people who made it happen.
That the third generation should have been called Monaro was quite remarkable. Mike Simcoe was against the name but the dealers and the media had christened it Monaro from the get go once they had seen the Concept Coupe and public opinion in a way forced Holden to go with the name.
The excitement that the Concept Coupe generated for Holden was remarkable, buyers only too willing to place large deposits with their dealer which put an enormous amount of pressure on Holden who in some ways seemed reluctant to go with the coupe. The deal with Pontiac was really icing on the cake and assisted in gaining international exposure for the Holden product but more importantly for the talented people who were able to show that they could design and manufacture a new model in a fraction of the time and cost that it would have taken in America.
It was that ability that gained them the role in developing the new Chevrolet Camaro which shared so many attributes with our Holden.