Monaro fans rev up to celebrate iconic car’s 50th anniversary in Launceston
Des Fiedler worked for 18 months stripping down and rebuilding his 1969 Monaro. (ABC News: Damian McIntyre)
Des Fiedler loves his 1969 Monaro and he loves showing it off.
So much so, he’s made the journey from Queensland to Launceston in Tasmania to take part in a biennial event paying homage to the Australian motoring icon — which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Mr Fiedler has spent countless hours restoring his machine.
“It wasn’t real good when I got it,” he said. “It was pretty sad looking, but me and the neighbour stripped it down and we built it up to this.
“It took about 18 months from start to finish with a full-time job. All my days off, all my effort went into it.”
Mr Fiedler is one of thousands of motoring enthusiasts who have flocked to Launceston to celebrate their passion for the car at the Monaro Nationals, which are being held in the island state for the first time.
About 200 owners and their cars have travelled to Tasmania’s north east from around the country, united in their love for their vehicles.
Thousands of people turned out to get a closer look at the machines during a “show and shine day”.
“My first car was a Monaro, I’ve just always loved them, they’re hard to drive but you can feel every bump in the road,” Mr Fiedler said.
“You’ve got to fight the steering wheel, they’re not like a modern car, the modern car drives itself, you’ve actually got to drive these cars.”
Western Australia resident Colin Whyatt has owned his 1970 Monaro for 16 years.
“I wanted one when I was just 22 but unfortunately they were well and truly out of our price range as [I was] an apprentice — so I finally got one 16 years ago,” he said.
“I was getting close to 50 and I needed a toy, so I though it was about time I looked at them.”
These days, Monaros are valuable collectors’ items.
When they first came off the production line they sold for around $3,000 — but those same models can now fetch more than $300,000.
Evona Tyl, also from Western Australia, is one of the rare female Monaro owners at the national event and purchased her car 19 years ago.
“At the time I just needed a distraction so this was something I wanted to get into,” she said.
“My dad was into cars and I’ve just carried on from there.
“It just makes me feel alive when I jump in the car — so [I’m] a very proud owner of the vehicle.”
Ms Tyl is encouraging more women to get involved in the male-dominated hobby.
“I’ve been trying to break that mould for about 20 years, it’s very slow going though,” she said.
“I have met some wonderful lady Monaro owners over the years and I would just love to see more of that happening.”
Thousands of people flocked to the Monaro Nationals in Launceston. (ABC News: Damian McIntyre)