Vauxhall Monaro: Spotted

Like all the best and most enduring Aussie heroes, the original Holden Monaro landed practically fully formed in '68; the bastard son of a Chevrolet design language which had already delivered the Camaro and General Motors' internal requirement to compete with the new Ford Falcon GT. The car, based on the HK saloon, was a rear-drive, two-door hardtop coupe - and in GTS 327 format, could be had with a 5.4-litre V8.

£8K for all this? Yes please!
£8K for all this? Yes please!
Three years later, Holden really hit its stride with the HQ variant - featuring unitary construction, all-round coil springs and the kind of muscle car body that probably qualifies among the highlights of in-house Australian automotive design. The manufacturer had started building its own V8 by then, but the range-topping GTS350 was still fitted with an imported 5.7-litre Chevy V8.

Sadly, by the end of the decade, the wind had gone from the Monaro's sails and following falling customer demand, the model was discontinued. It would be another 20 years before the firm persuaded itself to revive the idea, basing it this time on the slippery good looks of the VX generation of Holden Commodore.

The new car was sufficiently compelling for Vauxhall to take notice, and come 2004, Luton dipped its toe in hitherto uncharted waters: offering British buyers - denied a Griffin-badged coupe since the departure of the Calibra in '97 - the prospect of a V8-engined rear-drive import. Of course, this being Blighty (and Vauxhall having kept its initial quota sensibly modest), the car sold out almost immediately on the basis of its rather compelling power-to-pound-coin ratio.

A year later, the facelifted VZ version was made available; most notably in its 6.0-litre VXR format. But today's Spotted contender - in a solemn PH salute to the sad winding up of Australia's domestic car production - is the entry-level CV8 model which better mirrors the Holden sold Down Under. That means you get the Corvette-donated Gen III 354hp 5.7-litre pushrod motor, a distant derivative of the same small-block Chevy V8 found in its forebear.

Ain't no replacement and so on...
Ain't no replacement and so on...
The soft-edged pleasure discharged by it is of similar vintage. The base Monaro was all about the unstressed entertainment of commodious cubic inches, with a surging, baritone mid-range and a top cog geared to about 900mph. Realistically, it was an eight-tenths car rather than an Impreza-beater - but it did everything its way, with a big-hearted burliness that isn't exactly thick on the ground these days, and is unlikely to herald from Antipodean shores ever again.

So we'd seize the chance to buy now before it's too late. Especially when a piffling £8,250 gets you one that was bought to be a keeper, looks to have been cared for with kid gloves and has covered a mere 72,000 miles - the equivalent of around the block in LS1 terms. It even comes in the best colour and the kindliest tax band.

: 5,667cc, V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 354@5,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 353@4,800rpm
MPG: 18
CO2: 365g/km
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 72,000
Yours for: £8,250

See the original advert here.





P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (74) Join the discussion on the forum

  • JMF894 17 Oct 2017

    Was out for a walk with the old folks the other day and whilst waiting to cross the A143 one of these shot past whilst overtaking something else. I remarked to dad how quiet and disappointing it sounded given what it was.


  • JMF894 17 Oct 2017

    Although I must add it was clearly an older model

  • Nickp82 17 Oct 2017

    One drove past me the other day and reminded me how much I want one, I was lucky enough to drive one around for a few days when we took one in PX at work a good few years back and loved it. There's surely not much else like it out there, especially at the kind of money they sell for.

  • selym 17 Oct 2017

    JMF894 said:
    Was out for a walk with the old folks the other day and whilst waiting to cross the A143 one of these shot past whilst overtaking something else. I remarked to dad how quiet and disappointing it sounded given what it was.

    Standard these can sound underwhelming. Non-standard, the sky is the limit as to how raucous they can be. Mine is just cat-back, and is loud enough to annoy my tinnitus! Add some headers or straight throughs etc. and its time for some mad Max style entrances!

  • Monaro5.7 17 Oct 2017

    I have had mine sine 2009 and every moment has been fun except that time in the snow. But looks like time is at an end with it. But here is how mine sounds.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment