Make V8s great again
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.