Null's ultimate Dream Car Thread - A CV8 Monaro in Austria

Null's ultimate Dream Car Thread - A CV8 Monaro in Austria

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Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Thursday 19th March
quotequote all
Hello fellow petrol heads,

I am Null, fellow Australian car enthusiast from Austria. A few months ago, a 'life-long' dream of mine became reality, when I traveled to the UK to purchase a stunning example of my ultimate dream car - the Holden Monaro CV8.

Please allow me to start this thread with a little look back in time. How come an average guy from central Europe falls in love with Australian cars, you might ask?
Well, my love for Australian cars started back in 2005 when I first played Need for Speed Underground 2. Contrary to most car guys and girls I know, it wasn't the JDM or Euro cars that I fell in love with. It was the Pontiac GTO, the Monaro's american cousin, that got me.

Ever since that time, I dreamt of owning one of these Australian made beauties. As the years went by, most of the wild dreams and aspirations I had as a kid gave way to reality, but the Monaro still kept it's place in my heart. I can't remember exactly when I found out that a few hundred Monaros were sold in the UK as Vauxhalls. But I quickly realized that importing a Monaro from the UK would be much cheaper (for lack of tariffs, taxes and for ease of legalizing), and generally less troublesome than an overseas import from Australia or the US.

When Brexit referendum happened in 2016, I hit a sudden road block. I had not saved up enough money to purchase, import, legalize and maintain a good example yet, and definitely would not be able to afford the added tariffs and taxes if I were to purchase a Monaro after the UK had left the EU. But as Brexit got pushed back further and further, I tried to save up as much as I possibly could and regularly checked all the usual platforms for tidy and unmodified examples.
I knew it had to be either a Red Hot or Devil Yellow CV8, since Turismo Blue and Blazing Orange cars never made it to the UK.

Fast forward to October 2019, this Red Hot 2006 CV8 Monaro popped up on Ebay Motors UK. From the pictures, it appeared to be in exceptional condition. And the detailed description backed that up. But initial excitement soon mixed with fear - Could this be too good to be true? A low mileage, well preserved, completely unmodified CV8 for a reasonable asking price? I was mainly concerned about the underbody of the car (rust).
The seller (Andrew) and I had a very long phone call the next day and what can I say, from that moment I knew I was about to purchase a car from a genuine petrol head. Turns out, he has had the car for 10 years straight and it was the best car he ever had. He was so impressed with it, he even bought a red VXR8 Bathurst Edition as a more practical daily driver smile
We continued to talk and write emails a lot during the next few days, and while I tried to get A LOT of stuff sorted on my end (organizing transport for the car to Austria, ordering GBP currency from my local bank etc.), Andrew did his part and even got the car up onto a lift so he could provide me with pictures the current state of the cars underbody. What more could you possibly ask for when buying a car?

When the big day finally came in November 2019, I boarded a plane to London Heathrow Airport and set off on a 2 hour drive towards Somerset. I spent the night in a lovely Inn, had my first ever full English breakfast and then it was time to meet Andrew and his CV8 in person. I will never forget the moment I pulled into the driveway of his lovely old cottage and there she was in all of her glory. Andrew had vacuumed and detailed the interior, washed the exterior and put on a fresh coat of wax the day before to make sure the car looked 'presentable', as he called it. What can I say, it looked so perfect on this foggy morning, if he told me it had ran of the production line yesterday, I would have believed him. All the stress of the last couple of weeks instantly faded away to pure bliss. Keep in mind, I had never seen a real Monaro up to this date - only thousands of pictures and videos of them on the internet!

Andrew showed me around the car and explained EVERYTHING to me. Inside, outside, under the bonnet. We went through binders full of receipts, documents, service records and MOT certificates so I could get to know the cars history, and embarked on a very long test drive where once again he tried to show me what the car is like in different driving scenarios, and what it is capable of. Not like a teacher, not like a car salesman, but rather like a genuine petrol head would. You could really tell he loved this car to bits, and while I won't go into details as to why he had to sell it, I can tell you seeing his baby go left him with a heavy heart. But he assured me he was glad to sell it to someone like me who will enjoy and take care of it just as much as he did.

Early December, the car was delivered to me and went straight into the underground parking garage and into winter hibernation. Unusually warm weather allowed me to take it out for a quick drive on December 20th, which is coincidentally my birthday. My brother accompanied me in the passenger seat and helped me navigate traffic. I took it up the nearest mountain road and it was absolutely fantastic, breathtaking, exhilarating. What an amazing machine! It just drives so smoothly, is rock solid and stable even in tight corners - I'm still kind of lost for words, and so was my brother. He's a huge fan of Japanese cars, but even he was deeply impressed by the Monaro's abilities. It was everything I ever imagined it to be and so much more! We stopped by a scenic location along the route to take a few pictures - I'll share some of them below.

The car has been in winter storage ever since and I am currently working on getting a few small things sorted and legalizing it.
Since I plan on keeping this car for life, I have a lot of stuff planned for the near future to get it even closer to as-new-condition and improve it's longevity.
I promise to keep you guys updated in this thread!



Edited by Null.Performance on Thursday 19th March 20:53


Edited by Null.Performance on Monday 30th March 17:00

Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Thursday 19th March
quotequote all
Picture of the cars rear end:


Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Thursday 19th March
quotequote all
And a picture showing my Monaro in it's new habitat smile
As far as I know it is the only Monaro in Austria, and most likely the only Holden vehicle as well.



Edited by Null.Performance on Thursday 19th March 20:42

RipGMH

251 posts

14 months

Thursday 19th March
quotequote all
Brilliant story, can feel the emotion and excitement! You a very brave man buying a car without first seeing one and I am glad it has lived up to your hopes.

Funnily enough, I’m an Australian in the UK and had to wait until getting here until I bought mine, which I plan to ship back to Australia with me.


Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Thursday 19th March
quotequote all
RipGMH said:
Brilliant story, can feel the emotion and excitement! You a very brave man buying a car without first seeing one and I am glad it has lived up to your hopes.

Funnily enough, I’m an Australian in the UK and had to wait until getting here until I bought mine, which I plan to ship back to Australia with me.
Hey, thanks a lot! Glad you enjoyed my little write-up smile
With Monaro and especially HSV GTO prices going completely through the roof recently, shipping your VXR back to Australia will probably end up being a very wise financial decision in the long term!

mfp4073

1,603 posts

130 months

Thursday 19th March
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well I have to say that's a great story, I'm glad everything worked out for you. You have a great car and it looks lovely in those photographs.
Keep us updated with your ownership and if you need any advice on these cars don't hesitate to ask. You can also try the owners club on Facebook as most owners are on there.

John

Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Thursday 19th March
quotequote all
mfp4073 said:
well I have to say that's a great story, I'm glad everything worked out for you. You have a great car and it looks lovely in those photographs.
Keep us updated with your ownership and if you need any advice on these cars don't hesitate to ask. You can also try the owners club on Facebook as most owners are on there.

John
Thanks a lot John!
So far the forums have been a great source of information for me. But I still have a lot to learn about these cars and will surely have to start a few new 'help-me-please-threads' sooner or later smile

SturdyHSV

7,027 posts

123 months

Thursday 19th March
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Brilliant story, and interesting to hear you found the Monaro via NFSU2, a lot of us fell for them through Top Gear episodes, but no idea if it's perhaps as popular in Austria?

As above you can really hear the passion in your words, and on that note also your English is exceptional!

The pictures are fantastic, I can imagine the car is a lot of fun on such lovely roads!

It sounds like you're planning on keeping the car quite original, if you ever catch the modding bug plan a holiday in England and you're welcome to try mine out (and probably others) to get an idea of how they can be... 'tweaked' smile

Edited by SturdyHSV on Thursday 19th March 23:38

V8fan

3,471 posts

224 months

Friday 20th March
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If the OP is not a native English speaker, his language grasp is excellent. Excellent write up, with very good grammar!

I wasn't aware that any Turismo blue cars would be grey imports though. I'm sure I've seen Monaros with the proper UK number plate fittings / sizes in blue?

Edited to add: I realise now it is Impulse blue I've seen. smile

Edited by V8fan on Friday 20th March 23:15

Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Friday 20th March
quotequote all
SturdyHSV said:
Brilliant story, and interesting to hear you found the Monaro via NFSU2, a lot of us fell for them through Top Gear episodes, but no idea if it's perhaps as popular in Austria?
As above you can really hear the passion in your words, and on that note also your English is exceptional!
The pictures are fantastic, I can imagine the car is a lot of fun on such lovely roads!
It sounds like you're planning on keeping the car quite original, if you ever catch the modding bug plan a holiday in England and you're welcome to try mine out (and probably others) to get an idea of how they can be... 'tweaked' smile
Hey Sturdy, thank you for your kind words smile
Top Gear is pretty popular here as well! Everybody who is into cars has seen at least one episode. We used to get all the episodes as soon as they were translated/subtitled and/or voiced by voice actors.

Oh I would love to get to know other Monaro owners and learn about their cars, their stories, their experience! As we speak there's only one Monaro in Austria (mine) so the chances of coming across another are pretty slim. If I were to come across one locally, I'd completely loose my mind, most likelysmile
Currently looks like I wont be able to make another trip to England in the near future, but once I eventually do, I'll gladly take your offer.
Maybe some of you guys want to experience a few breathtaking alpine roads sometime? I'll gladly show you around!

I know all too well how easy these cars are to modify. People turn em into race cars, drift cars, drag cars, street legal beasts - you name it, and somebody has probably done it already. However, it took me so long to find a tidy and unmodified example, it just does not feel right to start modifying the hell out of it.
I also have to refrain modifying it for legal reasons: Since the Monaro was never sold and thus never certified for road use in Austria, I can only get it legalized via a complicated process called "Einzelgenehmigung". Not sure if there's a correct translation for that very German word, but I'll do my best to explain:
In essence, government appointed technicians will thoroughly inspect and test the car before it will hopefully be declared safe and roadworthy. After a lot of paperwork, that is.
And everything I do to the car that alters its original condition, before or after it gets approved, will send me through a similar process again. With uncertain ending! You could try and be a sneaky mf and mod your import anyway, but once you get caught by police, the fines are hefty and can easily lead to a loss of license or your car of the road until you fix it. Not something I want to experience.
Please don't get me wrong - you can modify your run of the mill Golf, Bimmer or Focus here legally, and pretty easily, so a lot of people do it. All you have to do is (simplified)provide the government technicians with engineering certificates (TÜV or similar) for the parts you put onto the car, prove you had them fitted in a licensed garage, let them inspect the car and do a bit of paperwork. In fact, I have done that before with my daily driver and first car, a Volvo V50, and it was pretty easy and relatively cheap. I still have that car, btw!

Last but not least, I really enjoy the way the car is right now. I always feared these cars would either be soft as hell and handle like a boat around corners, or be stiff as hell. I have the original press kit of my generation Monaro, and they were marketed as muscle cars, which never were the most sophisticated pieces of engineering and driving dynamics, up until recently at least.
Turns out, I (or they??) was/were completely wrong??? I feel like my Monaro is perfectly balanced, hitting the sweet spot between a powerful B-road-ripper and a comfortable long distance hauler. I'd even go as far as calling it a grand tourer - the most appealing type of car to me, that combines the best of both worlds.

My Monaro still has the original exhaust, which is super rare, I guess. And exactly as I want it to be. Rather subtle and restrained at idle, and at low rpms when cruising, but all hell breaks loose once you step on the gas above 3000 rpm. Perfect for what I plan to do with it most of the time - road trips.
I have seen countless videos of Monaros or VXR8s with crazy engine builds and exhaust setups. There are a lot of setups out there that make our cars sound absolutely brutal. The Walkinshaw exhaust on Supercharged VXR8s makes them some of best sounding cars in the world, but would get me into trouble with police really quickly. And that end up defecting my car for an long period of time - a horrible thought as i am having heavy Monaro withdrawal symptoms already smile
Just my personal opinion though. I really enjoy yours and all the other crazy builds out there, it feels so special owning a car that you could almost do anything with if you really wanted to!




Edited by Null.Performance on Friday 20th March 14:14

Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Friday 20th March
quotequote all
V8fan said:
If the OP is not a native English speaker, his language grasp is excellent. Excellent right up, with very good grammar!

I wasn't aware that any Turismo blue cars would be grey imports though. I'm sure I've seen Monaros with the proper UK number plate fittings / sizes in blue?
Hey V8fan,

thank you for your kind words! I have the original press kit for my generation Monaro, and neither Turismo Blue nor Blazing Orange are mentioned as available paint color choices. A few pre-facelift Monaros were indeed sold with a rich deep blue paint called Impulse Blue. Only available in the UK in 2004 thought.

Have a look at this comparison I quickly threw together: Turismo Blue on the left, Impulse Blue on the right:


mfp4073

1,603 posts

130 months

Friday 20th March
quotequote all
The Monaro is indeed an unusual car, on the one hand it is a long distance GT car, but at the same time it has the credentials to be a genuine muscle car, which as you say was mentioned several times in the official Vahxhall brochure.
Thankfully Monaros are old school cars which is a good thing, there's not much high tech rubbish to go wrong. You can really drive them without any electronic interference, or just sit back and cruise along.
Monaros go fast ( very fast ) in a straight line but they also handle the corners better than you would think.
With a few minor modifications Monaros can be improved again without going crazy.
If you replace any suspension, steering, or brake components as they wear out, the replacement parts are generally better quality and perform better than standard.
So the good news is you can improve your car over time without risking any problems with the police.
I suppose the biggest giveaway would be a performance exhaust, especially on those mountain roads, the police would certainly hear you coming that's for sure!!!!
In reality some exhaust systems are just too loud and can be annoying on long journeys. I think in your case keep it standard for now.

John

RipGMH

251 posts

14 months

Friday 20th March
quotequote all
Null.Performance said:
Hey, thanks a lot! Glad you enjoyed my little write-up smile
With Monaro and especially HSV GTO prices going completely through the roof recently, shipping your VXR back to Australia will probably end up being a very wise financial decision in the long term!
Yes Australian prices were almost double UK prices, which is why I bought here. They are a lovely car to drive

RipGMH

251 posts

14 months

Friday 20th March
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OP, as you said your interested in learning about people stories I thought you’d like this thread:

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...

Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Friday 20th March
quotequote all
RipGMH said:
OP, as you said your interested in learning about people stories I thought you’d like this thread:

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...
Thank you for sharing. I read the whole thread and could not stop smiling!

monkfish1

7,302 posts

180 months

Friday 20th March
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Excellent write up. Glad you are happy with it.

Not jealous of your local roads, not one bit.............................................................

RipGMH

251 posts

14 months

Friday 20th March
quotequote all
Null.Performance said:
Thank you for sharing. I read the whole thread and could not stop smiling!
Thought you like it wink that’s what passion is all about. Enjoy that car in Austria.


Btw - what I liked most about your storey is that you were looking for an original car. I do like my cars pretty standard and only wanted one with AP brake and an exhaust.

Null.Performance

Original Poster:

45 posts

18 months

Sunday 22nd March
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I am really grateful to have found a local garage willing to work on the Monaro and help me with the things I am unable to do myself! It's run by two chaps in their late 30s who were once travelling all across North America as race car mechanics, so they definitely know their way around an LS engine and drive train. As you can see It's a really small garage which barely fits two lifts, but hey have customers bring in their GT-Rs and an Englishman currently living here who brings in his vintage rhd Lotus Super 7, so I guess that speaks for them!

We arranged a post purchase / post transport check up so any hidden defects could be spotted and fixed before I enter the process of legalizing the car. Other than a few things that we agreed to tackle as preventative maintenance, they confirmed that the car is indeed in very good condition. I am glad to have confirmation from an independent source now that I have indeed bought a decent Monaro smile

There's a bit of play in the steering rack and the drop link rubbers are starting to show cracks, and that's it. Said parts plus tie rod ends were ordered from Pedders UK, where Roger and Phil were kind enough to organize overseas delivery for me. I am also going to replace the power steering cooler with a universal one from Mishimoto once we are in there, as that appears to be a really common issue with our cars.




Edited by Null.Performance on Monday 30th March 15:58

Lincsls1

1,450 posts

96 months

Sunday 22nd March
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Welcome to the fold!
Your Monaro looks like a lovely example, I think the facelift CV8 is a very handsome car and its good to hear that such an enthusiast had joined us!
Its also great you've found a garage that you trust with it, this is a massive thing for me because although they are simple brutes, they are super rare and not easy to replace.
Keep up the excellent work and sharing any progress with us. Its nice to read and see!
thumbup

SturdyHSV

7,027 posts

123 months

Monday 23rd March
quotequote all
A visit to Austria would be brilliant, I had planned a European driving trip last August during the F1 summer shutdown, I have a VY Ute as well which has a tent that can be put up in the bed, so off I went for a 2 week adventure, got as far as Le Mans before a wheel bearing was in a terrible state, so spent the night in Le Mans and then limped back home again!

It sounded like it was the diff and with it twitching the back at speed I thought perhaps it was intermittently locking up or something, turned out it was just the bearing that had failed and in such a way that it could randomly toe out a bit on occasion, hence giving the twitchy rear end.

Doesn't look like such a trip will be happening this year, but maybe 2021! hehe

Please don't take this the wrong way, but as I get the impression you clearly take some pride in the (excellent) quality of your written English, I thought I'd just point out a tiny mistake, when you say to take the car 'off' the road, it's 2 fs, noticed it in the original post too but wasn't sure if it was just a typo, but yeah, not trying to be one of the internet grammar police, I just thought you'd possibly appreciate it as otherwise it's basically faultless which can't have happened by accident smile