To many, they may seem like just your average ’70s coupe.
For more than 200 Monaro owners that gathered in Launceston this weekend, they represent family memories, nostalgia and hold a special place in their hearts.
It’s been 50 years since the original Monaro was released, making this year’s Monaro Nationals gathering extra special for those connected to the Australian classic.
The Examiner spoke to some of the owners attending the nationals about their Monaros to learn about their cars and why they fell in love with them.
Justin Marthick, Smithton
- Model: 1972 HQ
Justin Marthick has only owned his HQ Monaro for six years, however he has been a HQ nut ever since he was a kid.
“[I] grew up in them, parents had them, grandfather had one, I’ve always wanted a coupe but never could afford one,” he said.
“I just jumped at it, before the kids go off to uni I thought, ‘well I’m gonna have a coupe’.”
Mr Marthick recalls taking the Monaro for a drive around Tasmania a few years ago, during a scorching summer with 30 degree days.
“Cruising along, just in a singlet, took me back to when I was 18,” he said.
“My beautiful wife sitting beside me it was great, reliving the golden days.”
A lack of air conditioning was all part of what made the Monaro so charming to Mr Marthick.
“The HQ coupe is the world’s sexiest car ever built,” he said.
Arthur Patras, Melbourne
- Model: 1968 Type 1 HK
A recovery from a serious health scare prompted Arthur Patras to purchase an original 1968 Monaro.
“I got better 12 years ago and my wife goes, ‘let’s go around the world now’, and I said, ‘I’m not borrowing money to go around the world, I want to buy a Bathurst Monaro and restore it’,” he said.
“And she goes ‘honey you do whatever you want’.”
Mr Patras only finished his restorations on the car one and a half years ago in time for his daughter’s wedding.
He said it was not something that you could throw thousands of dollars at, and that it took time to make the car as authentic as possible.
“When I was 17 to 20 years old I drove a different model Monaro, it’s something I’ve always wanted. It’s the best thing I’ve done, I grab my wife and we go out for a drive and I feel so happy.
“I know it’s probably silly that a car can make you happy in life, everyone’s got either their golf, pokies and footy. Everybody likes something, I like this.”
Kerry Poynton, Ulverstone
- Model: 1973 HQ
Kerry Poynton is the original owner of his Monaro, and has kept the car in good order ever since purchasing it in 1973.
“I actually went to the first Monaro Nationals in ’98 and we came back and formed the Monaro Club of Tasmania after that event,” he said.
For Mr Poynton, the 50th anniversary of the Monaro has served as an occasion to share his love for the car with like-minded enthusiasts.
“It’s been a great thing catching up with all the memories with people you’ve met over the time plus new people,” he said.
“It’s always something I would’ve loved to see done here [Tasmania] and the current committee have done an excellent job getting it done.”
In Mr Poynton’s time with his Monaro, the car has clocked up just over 480,000 kilometres.
Over the years, he has had many fond experiences with the car.
“Dare I say I taught my wife to drive in it quite a few years ago, it was a daily driver,” Mr Poynton said.
Catherine and Phillip Charlesworth, Devonport
- Model: 1970 HG
Catherine and Phillip Charlesworth journeyed all the way to New Zealand just to purchase their HG Monaro.
“We’ve just always loved the Monaros, we wanted one for a number of years we found this one for sale in New Zealand, so off we went and bought it,” Mrs Charlesworth said.
“We only went for five days just to make sure it was an actual car. We took it for a drive and brought it back.”
The Charlesworths hope to now have the Monaro in the family for generations to come, passing it through as a very special heirloom.
“It will be our car forever, I’ll sell the house before I sell the Monaro,” Mrs Charlesworth said.
Mrs Charlesworth said she was also excited for the nationals, and has spent the three mornings before the event welcoming fellow Monaros in Devonport coming off the Spirit of Tasmania.
“It’s great to actually be a part of it all,” she said.
Tom and Michael Stevens, Deviot/Sydney
- Model: 1970 HT
Tom Stevens and his son Michael have had a passion for Monaros their entire lives.
Tom Stevens purchased an original 1968 Monaro, however he sold it in 1992.
“That was the family car so two kids in the back and mum and dad up front,” the younger Mr Stevens said.
Both father and son tried searching Tasmania for their family Monaro, even journeying interstate to try and reclaim it.
During their travels they discovered their current HT Monaro in South Australia.
The owner they purchased it from even kept his original trade in receipt from 1970.
“He [the owner] got it for $417.95,” the younger Mr Stevens said.
“I don't know the last time I'd ever seen a car traded in for that much.”
Mr Stevens senior said their original car was a workhorse, and buying the HT was about as close to reliving taking the kids to go surfing around Tasmania as it got.
“We didn't buy it to show the car, we enjoyed having a two door car as a family,” younger Mr Stevens said.
Murray Austin, Wollongong, NSW
- Model: 2005 VZ
Murray Austin is from the NSW Monaro Club, travelling from Wollongong in his VZ for the 2018 nationals.
Mr Austin prefers not to take his Monaro on the road, to keep it in as good a condition as possible.
“It just lives in the garage, I don't take it out anywhere,” Mr Austin said.
Like many at the nationals, his love for the car stems from his childhood.
“I’ve always wanted a Monaro ever since I was a kid, never ever had one,” he said.
Mr Austin was excited to drive on Tasmania’s roads after the nationals, but said he’ll be doing that in his ute.
“It [the Monaro] is for show.”
Bill Heinrich, Rainbow, VIC
- Model: 1973 HQ
Bill Heinrich had only owned his 1973 HQ for six months, after upgrading it from his HJ Monaro.
“I've always been a Holden man,” Mr Heinrich said.
“I had a HT when I was growing up in the younger years.”
But, responsibilities and parenthood forced Mr Heinrich to put his love for Holdens on hold.
“Now the kids have left, so I’m getting back into enjoying what I used to enjoy,” he said.
While he enjoys the nationals, Mr Heinrich’s favourite part of the meetups is being able to tour around local roads.
“That’s the best part,” he said.
“You meet a lot of nice people, we’ve got the same interest and we get on well.”