Make V8s great again

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Dealer's Diary -

The other slice of prime Amer­i­cana on sale at Man­heim Wash­ing­ton on July 4 was a clas­sic in the mak­ing from the colonies: a Vaux­hall VXR8 sedan auto. No stick shift here.

This had been en­tered in the sale via one of those com­pa­nies that buys your car out­right. Fin­ished in solid red(neck) with a black leather in­te­rior, there was no mis­tak­ing its brash at­ti­tude. It was GM that had first wedged a V8 into an oth­er­wise stan­dard car in 1964 thus in­vent­ing the so-called mus­cle car. And here was a per­fect ex­am­ple, the likes of which we’ll never see again. It looked every inch the per­fect fu­sion of Aus­tralia meet­ing Amer­ica via Ger­many and Lu­ton. It had 64,000 miles with six ser­vice stamps and six own­ers, plus a spare key.

Es­sen­tially, this was an Aus­tralian-as­sem­bled Omega, badged Holden Com­modore at home, but fit­ted with the leg­endary small-block V8 from Detroit. Sadly, the Aussie fac­tory closed last year and prices of this model are al­ready ris­ing down un­der.

Booked at what I thought was an as­ton­ish­ingly salty £18,850 trade, with a re­tail price of £21,000, the car didn’t at­tract a sin­gle bid. I later en­quired as to what would buy it: £17,500 plus the out. If you were feel­ing keen and cheeky, they’d take a call with any sen­si­ble of­fers.

If you want a use­able saloon with ei­ther a 6.0- or 6.2-litre V8 and all the as­so­ci­ated her­itage from a Corvette to a Carl­ton, this was your car. Most Vaux­hall deal­ers could sell and ser­vice these, and all of them will sell you parts, al­beit with a wait­ing list of six weeks if some­thing’s got to travel half the globe.

I re­sisted the temp­ta­tion to join the ranks of ‘good ol’ boys’, but the blue-col­lar ap­peal of a proper bent 8 was strong.

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