Vauxhall Monaro VXR
Commodore Coupé show car was shown at the Sydney Motor Show in 1998. Journalists quickly christened it the Monaro, encouraging Holden to build it. The show car was designed for production and by 2001, the V2 series Monaro was launched after General Motors spent a mere A$60 million over a brief 22-month gestation (although 12 to 18 were targeted). It was available in CV6 (production ceased in mid 2004)and CV8 models with a supercharged 3.8 L V6 and a 5.7 L Gen III V8, choice of a 6 speed manual or 4 speed automatic, and soon to be known as one of the fastest stock cars in the world. A series 2 model debuted in early 2003 with a revised dashboard from the VY series Commodore, a new wheel design and some colours dropped and new ones added. The CV6 model was dropped after disappointing sales (reputedly 10 times as many were built as CV8s) when a Series 3 model appeared in 2004.
A HSV version (not called Monaro but Coupe) in ‘GTO’ (255-297 kW) and ‘GTS’ (300 kW tuned by Callaway) versions debuted soon after the «series 1» Monaro editions, with higher output 5.7 L engines and unique body kits. Later the ‘GTS’ version was dropped but a four-wheel drive version called ‘Coupe4’ appeared. Two special edition CV8-R Monaros were released, the first in a grey colour and the second in a more muted red. Each had special wheels and other distinguishing features.
The hottest Monaro was the HRT 427 (Holden Racing Team 427ci) this was a supercar version of the Monaro built by HSV, this car used the 427 ci (7 Litre) C5R Chevrolet racing engine modified by HRT and HSV to suit the Aussie coupe. The HRT 427 had two seats, a semi roll cage, race suspension, racing brakes and ram air induction as well as other things. This supercar was quicker than a Ferarri 360 Modena and Lamborghini Gallardo. It had 420 Kw and could sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 4 seconds. Unfortunately, to the disappointment of Holden fans it was killed off due to high prices. However a GT racecar version of the HRT 427 went on to win the 2002 and 2003 Bathurst 24 hour against many world class race cars including Porsche GT3’s, the British Mosler MT900R, the Ferarri GT Modena and the Lamborghini GT Racecar. Proving it really could have been a world beating car. The second win was also Holden touring car legend Peter Brock’s 10th endurance race win at Bathurst, an amazing achievement for a 60 year old. Had the HRT 427 road car been built it would probably have the same heroic status as the other famous aussie supercar (of its time) the Falcon GT HO Phase III.
2004 Vauxhall Monaro VXR
Most recently, the current Monaro has been exported to overseas markets. It is sold, in left hand drive, in the Middle East as the Chevrolet Lumina Coupe, and in the United States as the Pontiac GTO, reviving another classic muscle car icon. It is also sold in the United Kingdom as the Vauxhall Monaro where it won Top Gear’s best muscle car award.
Complaints about the Pontiac GTO’s sedate styling from American consumers saw the addition of two bonnet scoops in 2005, with the VZ series Monaro, to recall the later muscle-car variants of the late 1960s’ models. The bonnet scoops serve no functional purpose. In the eyes of the Australian press, the scoops have spoiled the lines, while the American media seem to accept them. The 2005 and 2006 GTO also received a Gen IV 6.0 L engine putting out 400 hp (298 kW); the Australian HSV GTO coupe got a similar engine in its Z series.
Holden’s PR says that the scoops recall the HT Monaro.
Third generation Monaro production finished on December 13, 2005. The last Pontiac GTO was produced with little fanfare on June 17, 2006. HSV GTO coupes may also continue longer than the Monaro itself. Like the earlier CV8-R models CV8-Zs had extra features including a metallic orange colour, special wheels and a sunroof as standard; the same price was charged for the CV8-Zs as the prior VZ CV8s.
The last ever Monaro was purchased by Emerald, Queensland businessman Darryl Mattingley for $AUD187,355.55 — around three times the normal retail price. The car was bought through eBay, with the money going to the Leukemia Foundation, setting an Australian eBay record for highest price to date in the process. Mattingley, a huge Ford collector, has stated that his only Holden will not be registered, but will make appearances at auto shows
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