The 21st-century Monaro lived up to the hype and shapes as a collectable, not just a curiosity
THERE was a lot of excitement leading up to the release of the new Monaro in 2001.
Most of it was from enthusiasts who’d long hoped Holden would build a new classic. Others, who didn’t care or know much about the name’s history, simply wanted a cool, sporty car from the local maker.
As with the original Monaro in 1968, the new model was conceived as a coupe based on the contemporary sedan. The 21st-century Monaro used the VX/VY Commodore platform.
Much like the new Mustang now, the new-age Monaro was a huge hit and sales soared.
It was initially shown as a concept at the 1998 Sydney motor show to test the market desire for a new model. The response was enthusiastic and Holden released the production version in 2001.
It looked a treat with great lines and beautiful proportions.
The Commodore influence was carried through inside where the dash was lifted straight out of the sedan with a few minor changes. From there back, it was all new.
Initially there were two models, the CV6 and the CV8, respectively powered by a supercharged V6 and a V8.
The V6 was the familiar Ecotec 3.8-litre supercharged engine (171kW/375Nm), which gave the two-door a bit of urge.
But it was the V8 that most wanted and that one was a 5.7-litre giant (225kW/460Nm) that provided the required thrust when the pedal was pressed.
The V6 came only with a four-speed auto. There was an optional six-speed manual in the V8. Series II arrived in 2002, shortly after the VY update, with greater outputs for the V8 (235kW/465Nm) and other improvements from the Commodore .
By 2003 the V6 was gone, and a year later the last of the breed was launched with VZ underpinnings, extra power, twin breathers in the bonnet and new wheels.
When the Monaro was launched, the query was whether it would be a classic or a curiosity. It may take a decade or two to get the answer. Meanwhile, anyone thinking of a punt on it becoming a future classic should be buying now and putting it away. Don’t run it into the ground driving it every day; use it occasionally and enjoy it, keep it serviced and maintain it in prime condition.
The best option if you’re thinking classic is to buy a V8. The blown V6 might be a candidate but history associates the Monaro name with a V8.
Among the V8s, it’s best to go for one with the lot, for example one of the ultimate CV8-Z examples with 260kW/500Nm.
If you’re shopping for a future classic, it’s vital to apply the usual checks — with even more care and thoroughness. There’s a real possibility of Monaros being thrashed. A visual check of the body, paint and interior should tell you if a car has been well cared for.
Likely to be a classic but can be enjoyed now.