AS THE quality of elite cars has improved over time, it has meant that even street cars are now often finished to a similar standard and detailed to the nines. Ricky and Tanya Allen’s ’69 Monaro is a case in point. It isn’t the Brisbane couple’s first cool old Holden, but the sweet coupe is definitely their nicest so far. Their previous FX and FJ were far from dungers, but the HT is what you could call ‘street elite’.
The smooth styling of the Allens’ Monaro draws plenty of admiration at car shows, but the injected 304-cube iron lion donk and comfy interior also mean that it can pound out miles on the road without fuss – or extreme fuel bills.
“You build cars to drive them, don’t you?” Ricky says. “Tanya takes it to car shows, takes the kids to school in it and just cruises around in it if she feels like it. She drives the Monaro more than me, as I work seven days a week!”
Ricky is the first to admit that he and Tanya weren’t responsible for the bodywork or original injected motor transplant. Previous owner Danny Brian put the HT together in Nowra, NSW. McGuire’s Smash Repairs in nearby Bomaderry smoothed off the swoopy body, preparing it for the rich Glasurit Pearl Red paint. To make this Monaro stand out against the others, McGuire’s also deleted the factory trim, shaved the aerial, rolled the wheelarches and added two-inch mini-tubs so that fat 18×8-inch front and 18×9.5-inch rear wheels could tuck under nicely.
Danny then installed the injected five-litre using an HG 308 sump and Pacemaker Tri-Y headers, coupled to a Commodore T5 five-speed manual. Finally, a custom tailshaft hooked the power up to a Ford F100 nine-inch diff.
Danny got the car finished in time for the 2010 Monaro Nationals in Warwick, Queensland, and this was where Ricky and Tanya clapped peepers on it for the first time.
“We were [there] with Tanya’s father, who has his own Monaro,” says Ricky. “On the show ’n’ shine day we were having a look around and we saw this car. Danny had driven it straight up from Nowra.
“We took 15-20 photos and said if the car came up for sale we’d buy it. I then saw it for sale a few months later so we sold our FJ and FX, flew down to Berry and drove it home.”
While the Monaro was already a killer ride, the Allens wanted to personalise it, as any self-respecting street machiner would. At the same time, as Ricky explains, “we didn’t want to change it too much as we were getting good fuel economy out of it, it was good to cruise and it already had the full injection system on it.
“We’ve redone the interior, changed the wheels to these 18s, got the centre console made, built the boot, and added the individual throttlebodies.”
While the long motor remains standard, the throttlebodies, exhaust and Haltech Platinum Sport ECU all added up to make 340 horses at the treads. It wasn’t as easy as just bolting on the new top end, though.
“I wanted to do something different with the intake and my friend Andrew Ruhland from Bliss Custom Machining made this set-up for me,” Ricky says. “It took him about 10 months to build as he was doing it part-time after hours, and mine was his first.”
Why change the manifold? “The throttle response is just instant,” Ricky offers. “You’ve got eight throttlebodies instead of a single one, and it takes off with just a quarter-inch of throttle.”
While neat, the interior was a bit basic for Ricky and Tracy. “It had VR SS Commodore bucket seats, no arm rests or console and the stereo was in the glove box,” Ricky says. “I think Danny wanted to keep it a bit plain in there.”
Thankfully, they knew from past experience that Dave Britton from Annvid Upholsterers could handle any job they could possibly give him.
“We had it retrimmed, put the screens in the back for the kids so they can watch DVDs and put the glove box back to a normal storage unit, which is handy to have,” Ricky says. “Dave even made a covering panel for the pedals and fuse box under the dash.
Ricky reckons the throttle response from the small block is instant
“We also finished off the boot,” he continues. “It has been filled in with a floor hiding the spare wheel and tools, plus there are lockable boxes in the boot, so if Tanya wants to lock her purse in the boot, she can.”
Ricky has been busy refining a few other areas of the car, too. “I’ve gotten rid of the standard cable bonnet release and have a lever which can open the bonnet from the outside. I’m trying to tidy the engine bay up a little bit more and I have a few more chrome pieces to put back on.”
And then, it’s showtime!
“We try to get to as many shows as we can; we love driving this car,” Ricky enthuses. “We’re taking it down to the Monaro Nationals in South Australia in October and are going in a group of around 10 of us. We’ll all cruise down together and back for the three days of the Nationals. My father-in-law takes his HT Monaro out three-to-four times a week!”