Classic Holden sells for record price at auction

Monaro falls short of magic million mark.

The car credited with being the first factory-built Holden racing car has failed to meet its $1 million price expectations at auction while still achieving the highest price for an Australian Holden sold under the hammer.  

The 1969 HT Holden Monaro GTS 350 was sold by Lloyds Auctions to an Australian enthusiast who paid $750,000 for the significant piece of Australian automotive history, according to Lloyds.  

Before the auction Lloyds had predicted the Monaro could sell for up to $1 million, which would have doubled the previous record for a Holden vehicle sold at auction, the company said.  

The race-liveried Monaro, which debuted at the 1969 Sandown 300, was prepared by motorsport legend Harry Firth, who is credited with launching the Holden Dealer Team (HDT), which went on to dominate local touring car racing during the ’70s and ’80s. 

Later that same year Colin Bond and Tony Roberts claimed victory at Bathurst in another HDT-prepared HT Monaro GTS 350, setting the scene for the decades of intense Holden versus Ford rivalry that lingers to this day. 

The car’s significance was reinforced by a rumoured last-minute Australian Government export ban, which would have prevented it from leaving the country if sold to overseas interests, although the overseas sales scenario failed to eventuate.

“We are extremely excited that the car will remain within Australia; this important Holden achieved the highest price for a road-registrable Australian Holden ever sold at auction,” said said Lee Hames, Chief Operations Officer for Lloyds Auctions. 

“There were seven bidders on the Holden Monaro which came down to two Australian enthusiasts who fought it out, both with the intention to keep the car within Australia.”

The winning bidder, who wishes to remain anonymous, was the biggest player in a five-hour online auction that was streamed to bidders and interested parties around the world. 

“The auction had a 95% sell-through rate of cars, all with very strong prices showing that the market is as strong as ever,” said Mr Hames.

In addition to the record-breaking Monaro and strong interest in other Australian-made cars, good prices were achieved for American and European Luxury cars, in a sign that the classic car market remains buoyant despite the economic impacts of the coronavirus, according to Lloyds. 

“The strong bidding and prices achieved for these cars and even the bikes, in particular, were great,” Mr Hames said.

“I think it is fantastic that the majority of bidders were Australian, meaning the cars remain on Australian soil.

“This car is a significant piece of Australian motorsport history, not only shaping the success of Holden as a company, but also setting the stage for the domination by Holden and Peter Brock for the following two decades.  

“While we’re seeing rare classic cars like Holden Toranas and GT Falcons selling for hundreds of thousands (of dollars), none have the colourful back story or cultural significance of this Monaro, which is what makes it so rare and special.”