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Loud Projects Offline
#1 Posted : Saturday, 4 January 2020 7:13:46 PM(UTC)
Loud Projects

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Hi Everyone.

Thank you for this excellent website. It’s an amazing source of information and has some exceedingly knowledgeable contributors. For many months I have been using your posts to gain information to help me with some research.

I bought the “Barn Find” HK Monaro GTS ‘327’ at Manheim Auctions in Perth last year. The one without tags.

Thanks largely to your posts I think I’ve worked out what the tags were.

Here are the results and research. This would seem the best place to have them tested - I'm only human and am not an expert, I have simply interpreted available data (and have made hard copies just in case). Once you’ve read through everything please feel free to comment on my work however you see fit.

Genuine or Not

Records

Mr Ben Stewart of Holden Historical Services has confirmed that the Engine Number and the Chassis (Vehicle Serial) Number left the factory together - it has the original engine. He has confirmed that the stamped numbers/letters on the engine and firewall are original. It is, as he put it, “the real deal”. He is apparently unable to help with the tag information.

The Department of Transport WA have the vehicles records on their computer system and these details date back to 07/01/1977. It remained registered until 2015. They confirm that there have been no changes made to the vehicle details during that time – engine number, colour, registration etc. I have asked them if they can obtain earlier records from any archive / microfiche they may have.

Two brothers apparently owned the car from 1970 until my purchase. The family have provided photos and stories of the car that date back to 1970 and tell its history. It was raced at Ravenswood Raceway, used to tow boats, performed family transport duties, then became a work car for a tradesman. It was put in storage in 1982 and stayed there until the Manheim Auction.

Visual Inspection

The car is in the same condition as it left the auction. It is missing its original carburettor, exhaust system, 2 of the original 6” wheels, the tramp rods (brackets are there) and air filter. All other mechanical parts look to be original and correct… although there’s garden hose where there should be fuel hose. I’m told it has a different camshaft. It appears that the tail-shaft was replaced with the 3” unit per the factory recall.

The body has evidence of repairs to the rear but is otherwise in original, weathered, very used condition with rust confined to the lower rear quarters, lower edge of the bootlid and a little around the rear glass areas. It’s surprisingly straight. Windscreen ‘A’ pillars do not have the early HK ridges. The witness marks show the Body Tag to have been mounted to the engine bay cowl, not the middle of the firewall.

The odometer goes up to 99,999 miles and currently reads 21,836. Knowing how it was used leads me to believe the total mileage is 121,835. Decades of road grime and thick cobwebs prevent identification of date codes from the steering box, cross-member, etc although some glass is identifiable as being from the third quarter of 1968.

Options selected/fitted:

• Reclining Bucket Seats
• Radio
• Rear Speaker
• Diff Ratio is the standard 3.36

Known Details

Chassis (Vehicle Serial) Number: HK35786AA
Engine Number: 32775562 T0713H5


• It’s an HK
• It’s a confirmed 81837 body (see above)
• It was both built and assembled in Adelaide (AA), the “Elizabeth” Plant
• Historical photos and inspection of the weathered body show the car to have been Picardy Red its whole life
• Similarly it has always had a Goya Red interior
• It has an “0713” (13th July) Tonawanda engine

Tag Data

The “Known Details”, with a bit of time on Google, provides almost all the details for the numbers and letters on the two tags - including the format it was presented in and the way it was stamped. Please note I am not looking to "forge" tags, there would be no point, everyone knows they are missing.

The two number sequences missing are:

• The 1-3 digit “Body ID” showing what number ‘327’ build it was from the Elizabeth factory.
• The 5 digit Production Sequence Number at the end of the VIN showing its position in the sequence of completed cars that came from the Elizabeth factory.

And so I wanted to see if I could work those out.

Research - Narrowing My Search

Thanks largely to searching previous posts here on Fastlane I was able to determine the following:

• Holden made around 1,192 HK Monaro GTS ‘327’s (figures vary depending upon the source)
• The cars are sub-categorised (by some) as ‘Type 1’ and ‘Type 2’ cars depending upon their engine.
• ‘Type 1’ cars (such as those raced at Bathurst) had a genuine Chevrolet Small Block Chev from the Tonawanda plant in New York, USA.
• ‘Type 2’ cars did not, they had a similar engine built by a company called “McKinnon” in Canada.

My car has its original Type 1 “Tonawanda” engine.

• Holden received 900 Tonawanda engines in three batches: 500; 200; 200.
• The final batch of 200 comprised of 0713 coded engines. 13th of “July” engines.
• The engines arrived by ship, putting “July” engines in cars in Australia from September onwards.
• McKinnon engines began to be used at some time in December 1968.

The engine number puts the car as 1 of 200 ‘327’s made in September, October, November and December 1968.

• Elizabeth was one of four plants making the ‘327’ – none were assembled in Perth.
• Production at Dandenong and Pagewood was substantially higher than Elizabeth and Acacia Ridge.

Making it 1 of around 40 ‘327’s made in Adelaide in September, October, November and December 1968.

4 months. 17 weeks in those 4 months in 1968. Around 40 cars. So about 2 cars per week. I needed to find tag information from Adelaide cars built somewhere around those months - especially ‘327’s.

Research – Tag Numbers 1

Google and Fastlane results yielded these two cars – Example 1 and Example 2.

2. HK37459A; L118437; A Monaro but not a ‘327’. Being sold by the original owner who was a factory worker at the Holden Elizabeth Plant. Ordered 30/08/1968; Delivered in Adelaide on the 22/11/1968. Built 1,673 HK bodies after mine.

2. HK34059A; L116160. A ‘327’ built 1,727 HK bodies before mine.

Maths put the ballpark for my car around L117298 and produced mid-late October 1968. I wasn’t sure how big the ballpark was as I was aware of several factors affecting the relation of the two numbers to each-other: HK bodies being sent to other plants for assembly; Holden Torana production at Elizabeth; cars being built out-of-sequence due to parts not being available.

I then found further ‘327’ information on the following cars using Fastlane and Google, Example Cars 3-7:

3. HK24848A was Body ID 74-A
4. L120923 was the cutoff for ‘Type 1’ Production
5. L124410 was Body ID 196-A and built February-March of 1969.
6. L1253XX was Body ID 200-215-A and built in March of 1969.
7. L126531 was Body ID 226-A

This supported my car being between Body ID 75-A to 196-A and with a ballpark PSN of L117298.

Research – Date of Registration

It was about now I discovered the registration stickers on the windscreen contained information on the car - a complete one from 1982 and a partially removed one from 1981:

• Make: Holden
• Registration: UFV-836
• Day of Expiry: 17th
• Month of Expiry: November

Registration in Western Australia was only able to be renewed annually in that era. The family had confirmed the car was bought as a used car with the plates already attached. A significant event at Ravenswood Raceway the week after their purchase placed the timing as May of 1970. And the WA sequence of registration plate issue shows the plate to be consistent with November 1968 release and not November 1969.

Looking good for that mid-late October build as apparently completed cars had to cross the Nullarbor in a truck before the registration process then took place.

The first day of registration in Western Australia was Monday the 18th of November, 1968.

Research – Rarity Statistics

I was interested to see how rare this new information made my car.

• 1 of around 1,192 Holden HK Monaro GTS ‘327’s produced
• 1 of 900 ‘Type 1’s produced.
• 1 of 666 GTS ‘327’s registered before 31st of December 1968
• 1 of 200 GTS ‘327’s made with a ‘July’ code Tonawanda engine
• 1 of around 40 GTS ‘327’s made with a ‘July’ code Tonawanda engine at the Elizabeth plant.
• 4 Exterior colour options and 6 interior options – 24 combinations. And this is a rare combination.
• Less than 25% GTS ‘327’s thought to survive (<300)
• This one has the original engine. In the original chassis.

Research – Tag Numbers 2

This information was provided to me by a member of the Monaro Club of SA. While it breaches no aspect of the Privacy Act I will censor some of the numbers with a ‘#’. It can be edited if need be.

8. HK209##A; L12080# Body 135-A
9. HK359##A; L11721# Body 129-A
10. HK405##A; L11548# Body 95-A

The PSN of car #8 shows that the tags belonged to a December 1968 car, most likely to have been built the day before the ‘Type 1’ cut-off car (See Example Car #4 - above). ‘Type 1’ production at Adelaide is likely to be 136 cars, almost certainly less than 140. The chassis number is from much earlier in production however the tags appear to be a pair.

This narrows my car Body ID to between 75-A and 134-A.

The tags on car #8 belonged to car Body ID 95-A. The chassis number is from much later however again the tags appear to be a pair. Remember my ballpark of 40 cars for ‘July’-engine ‘Type 1’ cars from Adelaide? If 136-A was one bookend then 95-A is the other. While 136-A is a 'July' engine car I am unsure of 95-A. Perhaps it is, maybe it isn't, it doesn't matter as you will see.

This narrows my car Body ID to between 95-A and 134-A.

The tags on car #9 were truly exciting. They belong to a car made less than 130 HK bodies after mine indicating the body was highly likely to have been made the day after mine – factoring an average production of 90 HK bodies per day at the Elizabeth plant which is a figure provided to me by Mr Warren Turnbull. The sequence number is also within one day of my ballpark PSN. This all made Body ID 129-A to be very close after my own car.

How Close? Production Rates

Have a look at the ‘327’ Body ID to Production Sequence Numbers from the example cars above. Bear in mind that Car #1 (above) took 12 weeks from order to delivery.

Period 1

Body 95-A was PSN 1548#
Body 129-A was PSN 1721#

• 34 ‘327’ cars out of 1,730 cars completed at the Elizabeth factory in this short period, believed to be about 4 weeks over September and October.
• 1 ‘327’ for every 51 completed cars on average.
• Reasons - Initial demand, cars that had been waiting for July engines to arrive, Bathurst homologation.

Period 2

Body 129-A was PSN 1721#
Body 135-A was PSN 2080#

• Only 6 ‘327’ cars out of 3,593 cars completed at the Elizabeth factory in this period. A period twice as long as the period above (Period 1).
• 1 ‘327’ for every 599 cars completed on average.
• An 8.5% rate of production compared to Period 1.
• Thought to be an 8-10 week period from mid-October to mid-December 1968.
• Reasons – Produced after initial demand had been filled and production had already homologated the ‘327’ for Bathurst. High stock levels at dealerships (666 registered and around 900 produced). Ordered before Bathurst had been won – lead time was 8-12 weeks from Example Car #1.
• Engines were in supply, orders were low, cars appear to be being built to order so chassis sequencing for the 327 would have been consecutive.

Period 3

Body 196-A was PSN 2441#
Body 135-A was PSN 2080#

• That’s 61 ‘327’s out of 3,606 cars completed at the Elizabeth factory during this period.
• 1 ‘327’ for every 60 cars.
• 10 times the rate of Period 2 – a period with an equal number of completed cars.
• Reasons – Bathurst results lead to increased demand for the ‘327’.

Given the very low production rate seen in Period 2 it is statistically improbable that my car is anything other than Body ID 128-A.

The corresponding PSN for my car should be between L117060 and L117100.

Given the rare colour combination, the options chosen, the timing of production and the immediacy of registration, it indicates the car was very likely to have been a customer order and not a dealer stock order.

Tags – Conclusion

Body Plate:

BODY: 81837-128-A
TRIM: 1152-12X
PAINT: 585-1285
INSERT:
TOP:

Vin Plate: 81837KL117080 (+/- 20)

As you will have seen my conclusions are from using the partial information belonging to only 10 cars – the only 10 cars I could find with any relevance to my own. I believe I could refine the VIN plate range even further were I to have access to a larger database/register. Perhaps Holden Historical Services will be able to help with that in the future.

The Original Tags

I don’t know where the original tags are. Perhaps they're forgotten somewhere. Probably they wouldn't want to be on anyone else's car now.

I do not intend to have new tags made to pass off as originals. There would be no point as everyone knows that the car was without them at the Manheim Auction. It would be nice if they were to be found however if it was a choice between having the original tags back or proving the tag information belonging to this car then I’d choose to be able to prove the information. Besides, it would be a great story.

Where To

From here I plan to continue pursuing the Department of Transport WA for their archive records. Many of the Perth Metro dealerships that may have originally sold the car are still in existence, perhaps they have records on it. Maybe the original owner had it insured with one of the WA insurers who might have records. I can only try.

As for the car itself? It’s going to be some time before it gets touched. For now its far too interesting just like it is.

Thanks

Mr Warren Turnbull for so much of his time, giving me insight to production methods, timing and quantities at the Elizabeth plant during HK Holden Production

Mr Ben Stewart for his time in verifying the originality of the car

The Monaro Club of South Australia for answering my call for help.

And Thanks for reading.





...So, how did I go?
Warren Turnbull Offline
#2 Posted : Saturday, 4 January 2020 9:01:56 PM(UTC)
Warren Turnbull

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You have done a lot of research, and looks like you have done well.
nineteenfortyeight Offline
#3 Posted : Sunday, 5 January 2020 7:24:32 AM(UTC)
nineteenfortyeight

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Send a letter or email to every dealership still in existence or even knock on their door. Maybe someone still working there or a friend or relative of someone working there may remember the car.
A friend of mine contacted the dealership after he found a dealer sticker on the rear window of his HT Wagon. The HT concerned was a rare combination and the dealership remembered his car as 2 cars were ordered by the same buyer with same options selected, matching colour and interior, engine, trans, diff, air, PS etc. The CFO of the dealership was the salesman who took the order! Small world.
You never know if you don't ask.
Good Luck.
Great story so far and when the tag issues are finally solved it will be an even greater story for future reference.
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Balfizar Offline
#4 Posted : Monday, 6 January 2020 9:07:39 PM(UTC)
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Did your research uncover who was the selling dealer? I know of dealers who have details of every car they ever sold still today. Might be a good place to uncover more info.
Loud Projects Offline
#5 Posted : Wednesday, 8 January 2020 12:49:29 AM(UTC)
Loud Projects

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Thanks again Warren, thanks guys.

My plan is to start canvassing the dealers shortly - I'll update you.
Monaro23D Offline
#6 Posted : Saturday, 11 January 2020 5:49:54 PM(UTC)
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Interesting read, thanks for posting.
Monaro HK 327 GTS
Loud Projects Offline
#7 Posted : Thursday, 16 January 2020 1:14:16 PM(UTC)
Loud Projects

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No joy with the dealerships. Two kept records for the 7 year requirement and two had older records with nothing belonging to the car.

There are some avenues of research still yet to be pursued and we'll see how they develop in due course.
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