JUNE 2016

LIKE a lot of us, Leigh Haintz was a teenager when he first frothed at the sight of a tough Monaro, promising himself that he would one day buy one just like the example he saw cruising around Geelong on a regular basis.

Ten years later, he was in the market when that exact car came up for sale. “The bloke’s brother had one too and these were known to be two of the best cars around back then,” he says.

Unfortunately, Leigh’s new purchase had its better days behind it; it was a solid, honest car, but tired. Sporting a 350ci Chev and nine-inch, the style was typical 80s – and it overheated on the way home!

Leigh pulled the radiator, then wanted to paint the engine bay; this resulted in a succession of engines up to the 8/71-blown 408 Chev you see here, pumping out the best part of 1000hp. Built by Spencer Race Engines, it’s full of fine metallurgy: AFR heads, Eagle crank and rods, JE pistons, Clevite bearings, Crower and Manley valvetrain and an Aussie Desert Cooler radiator to replace the mank job it came with.

Backing up the Chev is a 4000rpm TCE converter, a Tradematics-built manualised TH400 three-slot auto and a sheet-metal nine-inch filed with Truetrac centre and 3.9 cogs. The angry driveline, topped by an EFI bug catcher set-up, gives Leigh’s Monaro plenty of brutality; yet the soft silver hue adds a degree of elegance.

“The body was simple because it was in such good condition; it was that good, it was boring!” Leigh says. Disassembly and reassembly occurred in Leigh’s man-cave, but it was Cam Arkell of Cam’s Metal & Speed in Geelong who applied the lovely, foggy silver mix from PPG.

The interior is similarly cool, having been retrimmed to original by Qual-Trim. Up front there are a bunch of Auto Meter gauges and a Racepak dash, which interfaces with and datalogs the Holley management system.

Yet despite the 1000hp Chev, stalled trans, nine-inch, mini-tubs and Weld AlumaStars, this is no track weapon; this Monaro is about Sunday cruising with the family.


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