WITH decades spent judging Australia’s top modified cars, you pay attention when Owen Webb says he’s found the most impressive bodywork he’s ever seen on a car. The legendary painter and show judge doesn’t mince words when it comes to Wayne Price’s Monaro: “I have no problem saying this is the best bodywork I’ve ever seen on a car,” says Webby.
The HK GTS is debuting at Meguiar’s MotorEx, April 30 to May 1, at Melbourne Showgrounds, and is going to explode brains thanks to a suite of innovative modifications. But this project didn’t start off with lofty ambitions.
Having drag raced for over 30 years and with some cool street machines in his shed, Wayne decided he wanted a car with presence. He dropped a rusty HK 307ci GTS off at Andrew’s Automotive Restorations in Braeside, Melbourne, to start a cosmetic restoration but it soon escalated.
“It is a normal part of our restoration to de-skin the car though we normally keep the lead joins between panels, but on the HK we deleted these seams and that made for a huge amount of metalwork by our fabricator Marty Ryan,” explains Andrew Melton, the boss at Andrew’s. “We’ve made new sections to replace the lead joins, to go along with the hand-made roof and rear guards, but to fully file-finish the new parts we had to look where they were joined. We also needed to gain access to the back of them so we could hammer them and get the finish spot-on.”
This work results in a stunning finish that floored Webby, a man who has judged thousand of cars at Australia’s top car shows.
“This Monaro looks like it’s been pressed out of one complete sheet of steel, which is something I’ve never seen before,” says Webby. “The joins are perfect; you can’t see where they welded it up!”
Powered by a blown small-block Chev, and with fat wheels in the mini-tubbed rear-end, Andrew’s Restorations team paid close attention to finishing details. As first-generation Monaros are incredibly valuable cars today respect had to be paid to the curvy two-door’s original style.
“Without giving too much away I can confirm that underneath the car and inside the engine bay will be both matte and satin black to give definition around the various parts,” Webby explains. “All the factory chrome will be finished in a satin look, and they even unpicked the original firewall and replaced it so if Wayne’s family decide later on to restore it to stock, they could.”
All of this work obviously presents challenges Andrew’s team had to overcome.
“One of the challenges is keeping the metal from flash rusting while working on it, and the amount of work to get it to a properly finished level,” explains Andrew. “We’re thorough with our pre-paint metal work, so we’re prepared for this. It does place a big toll on your body with the metal finishing, planishing, and bumping, for weeks and months on end. I’m blessed to have someone of Marty’s talent working here, without his skills we couldn’t have done this car to this standard.”
Mixing incredible craftsmanship and fabrication with a high-value classic car can be fraught, but Webby feels Wayne’s Monaro treads that fine line. More importantly he also feels it brings a new style to one of Australia’s favourite street machine platforms.
“You can’t hide any imperfections here as there is no filler or paint to mask the metal,” he says. “It is incredibly exciting to be able to bring a new spin on an iconic Aussie muscle car, because these Monaros have been built in every style or trend so it is incredibly rare to find a genuinely different build.”
Come see the finished car on display at Meguiar’s MotorEx, held at the Melbourne Showgrounds April 30 to May 1.