A slice of Australian motorsport history went under the hammer on the weekend, but fell short of expectations.
The 1969 Holden HT Monaro GTS 350 was the first HDT race-prepped car by legend Harry Firth and was raced by Kevin Bartlett and Spencer Martin.
The very special coupe was expected to fetch a seven-figure sum at the auction held in Essendon. The final winning bid came well short, but at $500,000 on the dot, the sellers will hopefully find reason to smile.
Its new third owner was an anonymous phone bidder in Queensland, described as a Holden fanatic who only found out about the auction two days prior.
Bidding started at $366,000 and slowly rose to $465,000, where it then jumped to its final price of $500,000. Many Holden fans on social media claim it was a bargain.
Present at the auction was Firth’s head mechanic, Ian Tate, along with Joe Felice – the boss of HDT during that time – and 90-year old “Uncle Bob” Phillips who originally delivered the car to Firth, new, from Preston Motors.
“On this Friday night, four young fellows came in that I knew at the dragstrip and they wanted to buy one of these Holdens. The old fellow had his overcoat on and the money in his right hand and paid $3084 (for the Monaro),” Philips reminisced.
The day before the auction, the iconic Holden took a ‘lap of honour’ through Melbourne, from Preston Motors to the location of its debut race where it crashed, Sandown Raceway.