fathers best friend bought this HT Monaro
in late 1969 and even though as a young kid
I was a hardcore Ford fan. It was always a
special treat to go somewhere in the "Monaro".
In February of 1983 Eric called me and asked
if I wanted to buy the Monaro. He told me
the price and I agreed to it, and the night
before my seventeenth birthday, I picked it
up and my father drove it home (no driving
it as was on my I plates). The next day I
passed my driving test and I hit the streets
in the Monaro.
I drove it for a few years as a second car
and then parked it in 1986 and did other things.
In the early 90's I moved to New York city
and left the Monaro in storage. On an extended
trip home in 1983 I mechanically rebuilt the
car with a mild 350, top 9 inch ,HQ brakes
and upgraded suspension, with the intention
of shipping the car to New York.
By this time the paint had deteriorated from
a leaky garage and wet car covers. The idea
was to have the car painted and trimmed in
the US in case it was damaged in transit.
Due to various reasons it never left Australia,
but in 2001 I returned home after a divorce
and as a divorce present to myself I wanted
to paint the Monaro so the search began for
someone to restore it.
After years of hearing horror stories about
panel beaters and spray painters, poor quality
work and stalled projects, I was determined
to do my research and find the right person.
After several false leads and severely overpriced
quotes, through a mutual friend I was introduced
to Nick Sutic who impressed me with his enthusiasm
and knowledge of HKTG's. Soon after a deal
was struck with Sam and Rob from McNamara's
Smash which involved me stripping the paint
on all the hanging panels back to bare metal.
After a couple of weeks work at home in the
garage, the Monaro was delivered to McNamara's.
One of the first things they did was to remove
the windscreens where a little more rust than
expected was discovered in the rear window
sill, which was replaced with a complete section
of metal from rare spares. All HKTG Monaro's
have a rust problem in the rear quarter panel
below the small window but due to an accident
in the early 1970's this car had the drivers
side rear quarter panel replaced and the foam
that causes all the problem in these cars
was removed from this area on the passenger
side and obviously not replaced on the new
quarter, so this car only had a very small
amount of rust in this rust prone area in
HKTG's, but the bad news was the replacement
quarter from the 1970 was badly fitted and
caused the panel beaters much grief during
the fitting and gapping of the drivers door
(sorry about that Adam and thanks for all
the extra effort).
The process of the paint was then started
by Nick which involved several weeks of work,
while all this was happening I sent all the
chrome pieces including the bumper bars, door
handles, sill moulds off to the chrome platers,
while all the hundred plus feet of stainless
steel moulds were sent to a polisher Alan
McCoy for restoration and polishing with amazing
results. I then started to track down an all
new interior, with a trim kit coming from
Melbourne, which included door trims, head
lining and seat covers, carpet, sound proofing
which my girlfriend at the time and now my
wife bought me for a Christmas present.
The dash top, instruments panel and centre
console were sent to Adelaide for new plastic
chrome and fake woodgrain and reconditioned
The badges are a collection of the original
badges, NOS, reconditioned and reproductions.A
complete set of weatherseals,rubbers,gaskets,
bailey channels and seals were purchased from
I also set about locating new headlights,
front blinkers, rear blinkers and stop light
lenses. The rear taillight housing's were
also rechromed. The hubcaps had been giving
me trouble no-one in Sydney was interest in
restoring them, so I tried myself and was
not happy with the results. But while chasing
parts in Queensland I came across a retired
panel beater who did a fantastic job on these
hubcaps after unpicking the seams and hand
beating the outer edge back to perfect condition
and finishing with a correct colour match
on the painted surface.
I also was piecing together the Rallye stripe
dimension for Nick, after measuring and photographing
several cars that has subtle differences I
found the original strip dimensions on the
internet, which hopefully made life easier
for Nick and two weeks before Christmas 2003
Nick laid on the Kashmir white and started
putting on those big bold stripes that I think
make the car. Then process of putting that
jigsaw back together which came together pretty
And as the boys from McNamara were about to
sit down for their Christmas party, the Monaro
was rolling out on a tilt tray back home.
At home I taped up the body and repainted
the entire underneath of the car. And waited
for the interior pieces to be delivered or
returned. Then off to the trimmers where all
the pieces mentioned earlier were installed
as well as new chrome moulding on the bucket
Then back home when I carefully installed
the dash top, instrument panel, centre facias,
steering column, centre console and interior
At this stage I have to thank my good friend
Paul Westwell who spent many hours on the
finishing adjustments of the doors and those
tricky small coupe windows.And all those small
time consuming problems that come up at the
end of a project.
By this time it was September 2004 and I had
entered in the Monaro nationals in Bathurst.
Not really being into the whole car show scene,
I was entered more as a target date to get
the project finished. So on the Saturday morning
I picked her up from having a tune up and
straight to get a wheel alignment and then
home to put in a freshly painted grille that
Nick had restored last minute for me. A final
detail and polish and it was ready to go.
After a couple of hours sleep and a 4.30am
start in Surry Hills, it was down the M5 to
Liverpool to pick up my mate Brian who had
driven down from the Gold Coast especially
for the day, and onto Campbelltown to pick
up Paul and off to Bathurst we went. We refuelled
at Lithgow where we noticed a dramatic drop
in air temperature and not long out of Lithgow
we drove into a snow storm which was very
surreal and slowed our progress down, arriving
at Bathurst showground around 8.30am with
the gates closing at 9.00am for entrants.
By this time the snow, rain and wet roads
had temporarily taken its toll on that fresh
paint and polish so I pulled it from the judging
and parked her in the show area.
Only those of you who were there that Sunday
morning know how brutally cold it really was.
It was great to see Nick and Adam and their
partners make the trip up and show their support.
Even though they were in the middle of their
Jappa bike faze.
Unfortunately I don't drive it very much,but
its great to take it out on a nice sunny Sunday
and go for a cruise it makes all the hard
work and money worth it.
I have to thank my mate Paul Westwell the
boys from McNamara's especially Nick, Adam,
Sam and Rob also Dean Oakey from American
Auto Parts and my wife Kerrie. Who all played
a big part in getting it finished to the standard
that I have wanted for over twenty years!!