Classic Carlectables 427 Holden Monaro

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Classic Carlectables 427 Holden Monaro

Post by Oldtimer » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:43 pm

If you watched the V8 Supercar Series from afar, as I do, and have fallen madly in love with those cars, and you collect diecast, then I have found that Classic Carlectables affords a collector ample opportunities to really share their disposable income. And if you, as I, observed the racing models created by CC, and appreciated racing as I do (having raced myself in the past), your collection has to include one-off's and controversial racers. Realizing that these are not V8 Supercars, but of all the CC's I have collected (now have close to 50 Holdens and Fords), one had escaped me, but I have just added it, and it's stable mate to my collection, and wanted to share them with you folks.

In performing research, I found this article:

Bathurst 24 Hour and Nations Cup

The GRM Monaros at the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour

In 2002 Holden Motorsport was looking at running a Holden Monaro in the Bathurst 24 Hour endurance sports car race against the likes of the Lamborghini Diablo GTR, Ferrari 360 N-GT, Chrysler Viper ACR and Porsche 911 GT3. After the Holden Racing Team reportedly turned down the job of building the Monaro, GRM accepted the job of building the car as well as running it. The car ran a GRM developed version of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R's 7.0 litre, 427cui motor which had taken numerous class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The GRM engines were built by the team's engine builder Mike Excel.

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The Nations Cup Monaro was controversial thanks to its 7.0 litre V8 as the road going Monaro was only equipped with the smaller, 5.7 litre Gen III V8. Many felt that the car should have been using the smaller engine, as all other cars in the Australian Nations Cup Championship were required to use production based engines of the same capacity as their road going versions. However, Nations Cup managers PROCAR Australia (founded and run by long time Dick Johnson Racing sponsor Ross Palmer of Palmer Tube Mills fame) wanted a local manufacturer racing in the championships top category (without just making up the numbers) and gave Holden special permission to use the 427 V8 in the Monaro in order to better compete with the 6.0 litre V12 Lamborghini and the 8.0 litre V10 Viper.

In its race debut, the 2002 Bathurst 24 Hour, Tander qualified the bright yellow #427 car (nicknamed the "Nuclear banana") in second spot behind the N-GT Ferrari F360 driven by John Bowe (one of Bowe's co-drivers Brad Jones had set the pole time in the Ferrari). After taking the lead at the start, the car suffered an early flat tyre which dropped it to second behind the Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 of David Brabham (the Ferrari had already suffered the first of 2 engine failures early on and was out of contention). Then, just a few hours into the race, the entire fuel cell of the Monaro needed to be replaced, dropping the car 13 laps behind the Porsche. The team overcame the fuel cell problem as well as the car becoming jammed between gears just before sunrise after Nathan Pretty was hit by the BMW 318i of Debbie Chapman in The Chase, which also caused damage to the driver's side door. The Monaro spun and stalled, jamming the gearbox, forcing Pretty to get out and rock the car back and forth to clear the problem. By the 18 hour mark the GRM entry had clawed its way back to second place only 3 laps behind the lead. The Porsche struck trouble with a broken half-shaft, causing the car to pit for 4 laps. The GRM Monaro re-took the lead, despite the Monaro pitting at the same time as the Porsche to replace rear suspension bolts that had broken away from the chassis. When the Porsche returned to the track, Allan Grice, told to drive as fast as possible, hit the wall on the top of the mountain while attempting to lap the Mosler MT900R driven by Park Pashley which broke the Porsche's rear suspension and took it out of contention. Upon its return to the track Darren Palmer put the car into the wall at Griffin's Bend with no steering, a legacy of the Grice crash. The Monaro, driven by Garth Tander, Steven Richards, Cameron McConville and Nathan Pretty, ran in the lead for the last five hours to win the race by 24 laps from the British entered Mosler of Martin Short. In the race, Tander's fastest race lap of 2:14.3267 was actually quicker than Brad Jones' pole time of 2:15.0742.

It was then widely expected that regular GRM V8 Supercar driver Tander would drive the car in the 2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship, and Tander himself stated that he would like to race the car. But it was former AUSCAR and part-time V8 Supercar driver Nathan Pretty who was given the drive instead. Pretty went on to score numerous race wins in the series, including round wins at Symmons Plains and Winton, but would finish third in the eight round championship behind the Lamborghini of Paul Stokell and John Bowe in the Ferrari.

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In 2003 GRM built a second car for the legendary touring car driver Peter Brock. Brock had driven the Bathurst winning Monaro at the Nations Cup support racing at the 2003 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne (the car ran with Brock's famous #05 rather than its usual #427), winning all four races after battles with Paul Stokell. He then drove the new car (painted red and, until late in the series without the team sponsorship of "Just Car Insurance") in the Nations Cup Championship alongside Pretty, though he did not win again until the final round at Surfers Paradise. Pretty and Brock finished third and fourth in the 2003 Championship. It was this second car which won the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour with Jason Bright, Todd Kelly and Greg Murphy sharing the driving with Brock. The winning car from 2002, driven by the same four drivers as the previous year finished second, less than one second behind after 24 hours of racing. With seven minutes to go in the race, and with the two Monaro's running nose to tail, Garry Rogers gave the drivers (Murphy and Tander) permission to race each other to the finish, with orders to respect the work put into the event by the team and not to take each other out. Tander was all over Murphy in the final four laps of the race and set the races fastest lap of 2:14.489 with just three laps to go (Murphy's corresponding lap time was a 2:14.499, #05's fastest lap), but his last chance at snatching victory from Murphy with a last lap lunge into Murray's Corner was thwarted due to yellow flags on the last lap forcing him to stay behind and finish second.

For Brock, the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour would be his last ever win at Mount Panorama, and would be seen by some (including himself) as his 10th Bathurst win, despite the race not being the traditional Bathurst 1000 where he had scored his nine other wins dating back to 1972.

After the team’s 1-2 finish in the 2003 Bathurst 24 hour, Garry Rogers told in an interview with "Australian Muscle Car" (AMC) magazine that with the restrictions that PROCAR forced them to have on the 427 V8's (induction and rev limits), he believed the cars would actually have been faster using the smaller Gen III production based engine which would have been almost restriction free (as seen with the Mosler MT900R which used the 5.7L Chev motor). He also refuted that having a professional team such as GRM made the car unbeatable at Bathurst, stating that had anyone built a V10 Viper to at least the same standards and had professional drivers like the Monaro's instead of part-timers and gentlemen drivers, then "Nobody would have seen which way they went" as during the Nations Cup Championship, Greg Crick's privately entered Viper had shown on a small budget that it was capable of beating the Monaro's.
Ten years later in a late 2013 interview with AMC to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour and GRM's switch from Holden to Volvo in 2014, Rogers proclaimed that winning the two Bathurst 24 Hour races and finishing 1-2 in 2003 was the crowning achievement for his team during their 25 years running Holden's which spanned from 1988 until 2013.

One more Monaro was built in late 2003, with Peter Brock and his son James to run as Team Brock in the 2004 Australian Nations Cup Championship, the championship also included a new contender, the 5.5L V12 Ferrari 550 GT. Peter Brock drove his Bathurst winning car alongside James in the new car, with GRM running the original car for Nathan Pretty. Of the three, Pretty had the best championship run, finishing second behind the Lamborghini of Paul Stokell. James Brock finished the series in fourth place while Peter Brock finished the championship in sixth place despite not contesting all rounds.

The GRM built Monaro's have the distinction of winning both the first and last races they competed in. After the debut victory in the 2002 Bathurst 24 Hour race, James Brock drove his Monaro to win the last race of the 2004 Nations Cup at the Mallala Motor Sport Park in South Australia. It would prove to be not only the Monaro 427C's last win, but the last ever race of the Nations Cup Championship as Ross Palmer could no longer afford to fund the series and PROCAR was disbanded after failing to find a major sponsor. The series was replaced in 2005 by the return of the Australian GT Championship where the Monaro's with their 7.0 litre 427 engines were ruled ineligible due to the lack of a road-going 427 Monaro.

The 2002 Bathurst 24 Hour winning Monaro currently resides as the National Motor Racing Museum located at Mount Panorama in Bathurst. The 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour winner is currently owned by a historic car racing enthusiast, while whereabouts of the Monaro driven by James Brock is currently unknown.

As to the model, it is the usual high quality/high detail that I have come expect from CC. The other factors that intrigued me was that it differs greatly from the Commodores that raced contemporary with the 427's, and I really like the differences. One other factor, my son has a 2004 Pontiac GTO (Monaro) and my wife and I used to drive Pontiac G8's (Commodores). It's just kinda all in the family.

Now, some comparison pictures.

Monaro versus Commodore Engines

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Monaro versus Commodore Chassis

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Monaro versus Commodore Body Shape

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Sorry about the photo quality, I'm a collector not a photographer, but hope you enjoy.

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Re: Classic Carlectables 427 Holden Monaro

Post by [KRAFTIG] » Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:00 pm

Wow great story. I can't say I appreciate V8 Supercars or the racr series but I do appreciate Classic Carlectables great attention to detail.
And if you, as I, observed the racing models created by CC, and appreciated racing as I do (having raced myself in the past), your collection has to include one-off's and controversial racers.
Totally agree, any serious collectors owns it to themselves to own at lest one piece. I own two, though not at the detail level as to some of their livery masterpieces, but I enjoy them for what they are, cool and unique! They include the Elfin MS8 Streamliner and Holden EFIJY Concept car.

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Re: Classic Carlectables 427 Holden Monaro

Post by StratosWRC » Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:32 pm

Thanks for the article, it was a good read. I haven't had a chance to follow V8 Supercars, but I follow their page on facebook and watch race highlights here and there and try to keep up with who's who. It's always a close and physical race. The cars are extremely primitive and keeping them steady must take some serious skill. I got my first CC model recently (Z28 Camaro) and I'm extremely impressed. Definitely feels like there's lots of passion and soul behind the brand. Congrats on the addition!

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Re: Classic Carlectables 427 Holden Monaro

Post by Gavin » Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:44 pm

Great addition...I remember seeing detailed pics of these Coupes when they came out. really well done model.

Congrats, Jim!

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