HOLDEN MONARO GENERATION3

THE EX­TENT AND IN­TEN­SITY OF THE EN­THU­SI­ASM FOR THE CON­CEPT COUPE FORCED HOLDEN’S HAND – THE V2 MONARO WAS ON ITS WAY

Unique Cars - - END OF THE LINE - WORDS MARK HIG­GINS PHO­TOS UC AR­CHIVES

For many born from 1980 on­wards the Holden Monaro only came into be­ing at the turn of the 21st cen­tur y with the third­gen­er­a­tion CV6 and CV8 in late 2001.

The Monaro’s res­ur­rec­tion is a stor y of stealth, when early in 1998 Holden de­sign boss Mike Sim­coe (now global GM de­sign chief ) and a small band of de­sign­ers and en­gi­neers spent their spare time moon­light­ing on a Com­modore coupe be­fore pre­sent­ing it to se­nior man­age­ment.

Holden, look­ing for a hero for its 1998 Syd­ney Mo­tor­show stand agreed to re­veal the deep blue Com­modore con­cept coupe.

The over whelm­ing pos­i­tive re­ac­tion from the me­dia, deal­ers and pub­lic was echoed with the words, Monaro is back.

De­spite the ac­co­lades Holden ex­ec­u­tives

re­mained ner vous about adding a coupe. His­tor y had shown with the orig­i­nal Monaro and Fal­con hard­tops of the 60s and 70s that af­ter enor­mous ini­tial de­mand, sales dr y up rapidly and the top brass didn’t want a huge fi­nan­cial ex­po­sure.

Luck­ily when Peter Ha­nen­berger (of of Ra­dial Tune Sus­pen­sion fame) was ap­pointed ed Holden CEO, his goal was to ex­pand the Com­modore mmodore range and the Monaro be­came a re­al­ity. l it y.

Si xt y mil­lion dol­lars was al­lo­cated to trans­form the four-door V T Com­modore into a pro­duc­tion coupe.

The Monaro was a stan­dard V T SS from the A-pil­lar for ward, but the rear was 100 mm shorter than the sedan, the doors 150mm longer, the A-pil­lars were raked back two de­grees low­er­ing the roof line 45 mm while re­tain­ing the V T wind­screen. The front seats were lower and the twin rear seats were mounted 50 mm lower and 50 mm for­ward. Late 2001 the V2 Monaro went into pro­duc­tion with de­liv­er­ies com­menc­ing early 2002. Two mod­els made up the range, the entr y level CV6 used the su­per­charged 171kW/375Nm 3.8-litre V6 with a four-speed au­to­matic and 17-inch wheels, while the CV8 utilised a 5.7-litre 225kW/460Nm Gen III V8 with four-speed auto or six-speed man­ual and

18-inch wheels. In­side was the pi­ano-black V T dash, sport­ing colour-coded in­stru­ments to match the ex­te­rior hue in most cases.

The V2 lasted barely a year with the Se­ries II Monaro ar­riv­ing with the V Y Com­modore range in De­cem­ber 2002. It fea­tured a new dash lay­out, five-spoke al­loy wheels and t win tail pipes for the CV8. June 2003 marked the ar­rival of the CV8-R with spe­cial wheels and Tur­bine Mica paint­work. A to­tal of 350 were made.

By the time the Se­ries III facelift was ap­plied in Au­gust 2003 the su­per­charged V6 had been benched leav ing just the V8, which got a power boost to 245kW.

May 2004 saw an­other CV8-R grace the roads, this time in Pulse Red. But the big­gest changes to Monaro came with the VZ ver­sion in Septem­ber 2004 with a rev ised in­te­rior, Pon­tiac GTO t win-nos­tril bon­net, st yling up­grades, a new six-speed man­ual gear­box and an­other power boost, tak­ing the V8 to 260kW/500Nm.

In Au­gust 2005 the fi­nal 1200 lim­ited edi­tion CV8-Zs rolled off the pro­duc­tion line in a new fu­sion colour with spe­cial badg­ing and a sun­roof. Come De­cem­ber the end of Monaro pro­duc­tion had ar­rived but ex­port and HSV mod­els con­tin­ued un­til mid-2006.

Through­out the life of the third-gen­er­a­tion Monaro, HSV got in on the act bring­ing out the GTO and GTS that were fes­tooned with spoil­ers and sk irts that hor­ri­fied Monaro de­signer Mike Sim­coe. It made the sleek coupe look clunk y. HSV also cre­ated the $ 89,500 AWD Coupe 4 in July 2004.

“THE MONARO WAS A STAN­DARD VT SS SEDAN FROM THE A-PIL­LAR FOR­WARD”

ABOVE Ini­tially only in­tend­ing to sex-up their dis­play, Holden ended up hav­ing to put it into pro­duc­tion.

BE­LOW HSV’s Coupe 4 took the Monaro soar­ing to the next level.

ABOVE So slick ck with a tin-top – how w good might it have been with­out one?

RIGHT The in­creased wind­screen rake is a vi­tal com­po­nent of the win­ning style.BE­LOW ’Monaro’ and ‘V8-power’ are terms that sit well to­gether. LEFT As the pedal ap­proaches the metal the Monaro re­mains per­fectly com­posed.

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