Video: LS3-powered HT Monaro versus 605ci Dodge Challenger

Part four in our series of chats with the 2021 Street Machine of the Year finalists is a Holden versus Mopar affair


Our Milwaukee Street Machine of the Year 2021 campaign is in full swing! We’ve already seen Broads and Marv chat with six of the 16 finalists, each with their own story, ideas and styles.

For the fourth instalment, we’ve got Dean Rickard’s stunning, technology-packed Monaro and Jon Mitchell’s ground-pounding ’70 Challenger.

Dean’s genuine HT GTS is yet another gem from Down Town Kustoms. Every part of the car was pulled down, inspected and modernised without sacrificing the first-gen Monaro’s gorgeous factory lines.

It’s underpinned by a full chassis designed by DTK, with bespoke IFS and four-linked rear suspension. Running gear is a plenty-capable 435hp LS3 backed by a T56 ’box, meaning it’s equally at home on road or track. “It’s something I can jump in and go down the street to get milk in,” Dean enthuses.

Each and every panel was massaged for perfect fitment before being coated in a custom PPG green.

Just like the bodywork, an enormous amount of effort was poured into the cabin. For example, the door cards are CNC-routed from solid blocks and held together with magnets. 3D printing was used extensively to create unique trim pieces, though the interior still retains a factory vibe.

What Jon’s ’70 Challenger lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in raw power. Up front is a 605ci all-aluminium Indy Maxx Hemi that no scoop can contain, making just short of 900hp.

Jon has been campaigning the genuine Plum Crazy car in Drag Challenge since the second-ever event in 2015, eating up countless kilometres around Victoria and beyond. So far he’s run a 10.2@137mph, and is now gunning for nines.

Despite the angry big-cube combo, the car eats up road legs thanks to rack-and-pinion steering, proper sound deadening and exhaust cut-outs.

Mopar purists may baulk at Jon’s transformation of a genuine Plum Crazy Challenger, but he’s got no regrets: “If I was to do it again, I’d convert another one!”

Check out the video for insights from both owners.