HSV GTS two-door
Holden Monaro needs no introduction, but gets one anyway. Born in 1968 and named after the Monaro region in NSW, the pillarless hardtop coupe collected Bathurst victories – including the Lion’s first in 1968 – tin-top titles and a Wheels Car of the Year award all in its first generation, to cement its legend status in Australian Muscle Car lore.
When Holden hinted at a new Monaro in 1998, via a knockout Sydney Motor Show concept, few expected ever to see the road-going reality.
The coupe’s attractive form flowed from the pen of Holden design boss Mike Simcoe, who developed the proportions as a tape rendering on the living room wall of his home in Melbourne.
Yet the VT Commodore-derived two-door prompted a hugely positive response, and in 2001 the V2-series Monaro arrived after 22 months and a total of $60 million spent in the development.
Offered with six-cylinder (the supercharged CV6) and Chevrolet V8 motivation (CV8) like the original, the millennial Monaro made just as big an impression on punters and motoring journos as it had in concept form.
Demand for the V8 outstripped the six 10 to one, and the Alloytec V6 was dropped in 2004.
Motorsport cred came from back-to-back victories in the short-lived Bathurst 24 Hour, in 2002 and 2003.
The updated VZ version was only offered with the 5.7-litre Gen III V8, which had been revised to deliver an extra 15kW.
High-profile – and -priced – sales of the last-offthe-line, and a CV8-Z owned by and modified for the late Peter Brock, established from the outset that Holden’s final, limited-edition CV8-Z Monaro might be the collector’s pick from the Lion line-up.
But we’ve instead selected the ultimate, rear-drive GTS from the HSV range – the HSV Coupe wasn’t badged a Monaro, but represents the zenith of the model. Yes, there are the GTO Signature and all-wheel-drive Coupe 4, but the GTS, with its classic rear-drive layout and hard-hitting performance culminating with the 300kW, 6.0-litre V8-powered update (and badged accordingly), is the one to have.
The New Monaro sold beyond expectations, helped by export markets that included North America, South Africa, the Middle East and the United Kingdom, and enjoyed a longer production run than Holden anticipated.
While volume production is not a typical collector car ingredient, the flip side is that newcar popularity is typically reflected decades later in the form of classic appeal, which will no doubt be true of the Monaro’s second coming.
In AMC’s opinion this is the definitive modern ‘Monaro’ with an appeal that is likely to grow as time rolls on.