The Monaro Club of Victoria was founded by John and Judy Stephens. Here is their story.
After John, Judy and family enjoyed a day at Casey Airfield with friends from the Nissan Car Club, we were asked to join into the day’s events, when we arrived home we wondered was there a Monaro Club ?
I contacted C.A.M.S. and they informed us there wasn’t, we were told by CAMS no matter what meetings we had it all had to be sanctioned by them, they were helpful by advising us on how to interest other owners by listing in local papers and the motoring section of the Sun Newspaper.
We did this and attracted about 6 Monaro owners, we arranged to meet at our home on the 29.4.1973.
At this meeting we elected Mike Palmer as President, John Dalfonso Vice President, myself as Secretary and Adrian Grant as Treasurer, Peter McCormack, Ken Hill and T. Phillips as Committee members.
We can remember the above mentioned members plus a few more such as Maurie Pagram, Rob Carter also a young guy Paul..? who was quadriplegic and loved to compete in every event.
At the 1st meeting we designed a Membership card, not long after we redesigned it to make it a little more professional.
The club ran many events through the year, totally different to the club events of today, you have to remember our cars were our every work cars, so come event days at places like Casey Airfield or Tally Ho Boys Home we would play in the dust and mud, “no shine here”. Some of our rallies were throgh timber country in Gippsland, we had great outings at Sandown Raceway and at Phillip lsland.
Judy and I left the club in the early 1980’s when the great petrol shortage was hit and the V8 would struggle for fuel, so we decided to trade down to 4 cylinder car but that’s the way it was, we look back on those days of fun and family get-togethers, we would meet at Ken Hill’s place to watch Bathurst on the TV, our families having a great day.
Judy and I are elated to see how our small Club has grown and thrived over the past 40 plus years and is keeping the love of MONAROs alive, well done to your committee and members, our connection with the club will be continued we hope, by our son David who is rebuilding a HQ.
This is about all our memories can recall, we hope it fills in some blanks.
Best wishes John and Judith Stephens “Long live the MONARO”.
The Monaro Club of Victoria was founded in 1973 by a small group of enthusiasts when the HQ was the current model, displaying a very keen and very early interest in and affection for a car that has become an Australian icon. The Club remained a fairly small group with much interest in modifying the Monaro for improved performance - much the same as the present response to the third-generation CV series. In 1995 the Club moved its base from the Camberwell South Tennis Club rooms to the Chevrolet Club of Victoria rooms in Moorabbin, recognising the Chevrolet heritage reflected in the Holden marque ever since its debut in 1948. The Monaro Club has met there ever since, and this move coincided with a rapid growth in membership from a few dozen to over 100 (it has continued to grow, having around 400 members presently). At the same time, although many members still enjoyed modified cars, the trend shifted towards restoration, the oldest cars by then approaching 30 years in age.
In 1998 Holden celebrated 50 years of the marque, with a Holden-sponsored show'n'shine day at Albert Park in Melbourne, and a day at the Holden 'proving ground' at Lang Lang insouth-east of Melbourne. This high level of interest in Monaros saw a steep increase in the price good cars changed hands for - a trend seen in many like cars of other manufacture. Now, as well as restoration, the newer idea of conservation took hold, so that fortunate owners of unrestored examples in good condition began taking steps to preserve originality as far as possible, even to the point of learning to live with imperfections that could not be rectified without at least partial restoration - and this trend continues up to the present.
With the release of the CV series in 2001, the Monaro Club of Victoria took the initiative and contacted other Clubs interstate with a view of forming a loose confederation that facilitated liaison with the Holden Company (formerly GMH) at the release of the CV series. This resulted in Monaro Clubs being invited to a pre-release viewing of production prototypes, and also each new Monaro owner receiving an invitation to join a Monaro Club in their State. This resulted in an influx of new Monaro owners joining the Club, some of whom have acquired a classic Monaro as well.
The year 1998 also saw the first National Monaro event held in Wangaratta in Victoria, organised by the Monaro Club of Victoria, with strong support from interstate Clubs in NSW, Tasmania, SA, WA and Queensland. This was followed by similar events in 2000, and in 2002 this was enhanced by the buzz surrounding the CV series Monaro. National events have been held each two years since, in more recent years hosted by a different State in turn.
Today early 'Bathurst' homologated Monaros and same-specification models in good condition bring $100k and more, and even early models in poor condition suitable only for restoration can bring in excess of $20k, depending of the specific example. Rare cars built as one-off examples to demonstrate options or for a GMH executives also command high prices.
The announcement that GM will cease manufacture of cars in Australia has seen no decline in interest in Monaros; in fact, if anything, values of classic Monaros has edged up a little. Prices of used CV Monaros have also held up remarkably well, compared with their 4-door counterparts, with a good CV8 commanding more than double the price of a similar-optioned Calais or Statesman of the same year.
Classic Monaro wrecks that would have been considered unsalvageable only a decade ago are now occasionally being rescued. The cost and difficulty in restoring even such wrecks does not deter a new wave of enthusiasts, who are hungry for authentic parts, and we now see a parts reproduction and refurbishment industry growing up to meet this new demand.
It is certain that there will be no more Monaros, so the surviving examples are all there is, folks! Estimates offered of early examples still remaining are typically around 15% of generation 1 (HK-G), and 20% of generation 2 (HQ-Z), but obviously many more of the CV series will remain as few will have been raced as were early models, and there was early recognition that these cars were also 'special', so many have been looked after well.