Holden Monaro

GM HOLDEN has revealed the finished Project Monaro prize car that has been transformed by the company’s designers, engineers, tuning partners and test drivers into a one-off resto-mod with more power, improved handling and beefed-up brakes.

Offered as star prize in a promotional giveaway for customers of Holden dealer service departments and buyers of genuine Holden or ACDelco parts, Project Monaro features a long list of upgrades and money-can’t-buy modifications.

The five-month project started with the purchase of a 2004, three-owner VZ Monaro CV8 with 214,000 kilometres on the odometer in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, and ended with testing at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria.

Job one was removing and tearing down the 5.7-litre LS1 V8, which was then treated to a full rebuild by the principal of the ACDelco Pro Slammer Monaro drag racing team, Maurice Fabietti.

The cylinder head was ported and polished and its combustion chambers equalised while the block was decked and honed, with the factory camshaft replaced by a Chevrolet Performance item supplied by Eagle Auto.

Making the most of improved gas flow through the heads is a freer-breathing and noisier US-spec Pontiac GTO exhaust system, while the increased engine outputs are handled by upgrades – to global GM specifications – applied by FluidDrive to the original four-speed automatic transmission.

GM Holden aftersales product marketing manager Chris Payne told GoAuto the type of modifications applied to Project Monaro’s reworked engine usually yield a 20-30 per cent performance boost over the factory outputs of 260kW and 500Nm. 

“Based on what we’ve done to it, I would say it’s in the order 20-30 per cent improvement over stock,” he said. “One day we might dyno it and get a real number.”

During this open-heart surgery the Monaro’s body was taken to Holden-certified B&A Motor Body Repairs for its satiny Panorama Blue Suede paint finish, developed by coatings specialist PPG.

To complete the look, Holden’s in-house design team came up with a of one-off body kit comprising bonnet scoops, a front splitter, a boot lip spoiler and a fuel filler door that were 3D-printed by HP-EVOK3D, which also supplies custom parts to the Red Bull Holden racing team.

LNI, which has supplied Holden with vehicle badges and graphics for years, created a set of bespoke decals, build plates and wheel centre-caps for the project.

Holden designers worked with trimming specialist Auto Image Interiors to bring the Monaro’s tired cabin back to life with a plush three-tone design incorporating the exterior colour scheme across new leather, Alcantara and carpet plus a smattering of repainted plastic highlights on the centre console and instrument panel.

When everything was bolted together, Triple Eight Race Engineering and Sachs Performance designed and fitted a sports suspension setup along with a set of big AP Racing brakes similar to those used on contemporary HSVs.

Before Project Monaro was lowered off the hoist, a set of 19-inch alloy wheels with Bridgestone S007A high-performance tyres were bolted on.

GM Holden lead performance engineer Rob Trubiani completed final refinements, tuning and sign-off of the Project Monaro package at Lang Lang before handing it over to famed race driver Craig Lowndes for a trip around the proving ground.

“Some of the tests we put Project Monaro through were similar to the tests our talented engineers put the original VZ Monaros through almost 20 years ago,” said Mr Trubiani.

“It’s a great car to drive and someone is going to be very lucky when they win it.”

Unveiling Project Monaro at GM Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters yesterday, Mr Lowndes described the prize car as “a one-of-a-kind Holden Monaro”.

“Following five months of dedicated work, the finished Monaro is truly a unique creation – and a lucky Holden customer is going to soon be handed the keys to this very special prize car,” he said.

“I wish I could take it home myself actually. It really is a one of a kind Holden Monaro, and it drives incredibly well.”


To be in with a chance of winning Project Monaro, customers in Australia and New Zealand must spend at least $100 (plus GST) on servicing or genuine Holden or ACDelco parts from Holden dealership.

Entries can also be made with purchases of ACDelco batteries valued at $100 (plus GST) or more from Holden dealers or authorised ACDelco battery resellers.

Runner-up prizes include Holden and Craig Lowndes memorabilia – including tool sets, car cleaning products and man cave furniture – and vouchers for Red Bull Holden Racing Team merchandise.

A series of build videos tracking Project Monaro from conception to completion has been published on the GM Holden YouTube channel.


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