Back in 1982, young speedway racer Gary Vogelsang visited the workshop of his senior colleague Ken Logue in search of some second hand racing tyres, but ended up with much more than he’d bargained for.
He spied Ken’s treasured but dilapidated 1969 Holden Monaro GTS 350 at the back of the shed. The Daytona Bronze coupe was covered in dust, its engine was out and it had a banged up quarter panel, a mismatched black front guard and a hole in the bonnet, but Gary fell instantly in love with it.
Fell in love
As it turned out, he also fell in love with Ken’s eldest daughter, Linda. In 1985, when they were married, he bought a motor garage business in the Latrobe Valley and the Monaro moved in with them. It has been their constant companion ever since.
“I’ve owned a lot of Holdens over the years, including a Sandman panel van,” Gary recalls. “HT Holdens were my bomb cars when we were young. We hotted them up but they were so basic. We loved the GTS 350 Monaro but it wasn’t affordable. Back then it was out of our reach.”
When Ken bought the car in 1975, it already carried signs of rough handling, including that mangled quarter panel, but he recognised the rare example for what it was. The limited production 350 cubic inch Chevy powered HT Monaros were specially built to win the 500-mile race at Bathurst, which they duly did.
Once Gary became the Monaro’s custodian, he did a partial restoration and got the car on the road in 1987.
From then until 2008, the car sported dowdy gunmetal grey paint in testimony to its status as work in progress.
Gary kept the Monaro maintained but the expensive restoration job had to wait until his and Linda’s daughters had grown up.
The two-year total restoration ended in October 2010 with the return of the Daytona Bronze paint.
“One of the toughest parts of the job was finding a new old stock quarter panel for a 1969 Monaro in 2008,” Gary says.
But tenacity ultimately paid off with a car that’s a trophy winner at the Monaro Nationals and numerous classic car shows.
Although Gary had been paying the registration for years, the GTS 350 still officially belonged to Ken until 2010.
But once Gary had finished the restoration, his father-in-law said “you got my daughter, so you might as well have the car too” and transferred ownership of the family heirloom to him.