Vauxhall (Holden) Monaro VXR500

This is the car with enough muscle to be elected Governor of, say, California. It’s the limited edition of the Australian Holden Monaro VXR, with its 6 litre V8 engine supercharged by a snarling Harrap blower, and put together under the supervision of the specialist tuner Wortec and the loving hand of Greens of Kent.

It seems desperately unfair that the apotheosis of their own VXR is not to be sold in Australia, especially because the VXR500 clamours for the wide open road. Its straight line speed and acceleration is breathtaking — a combination of exceptional torque and raw power that in any gear defies the normal laws of physics.

To the credit of its creators, the VXR500 looks and behaves much better than a mere rocket sled. It’s a genuine, four-seat coupe, with pretensions to comfort but not luxury. You expect a hard ride to match the obvious machismo of the power unit. It will cost you extra for the six-piston AP Racing brakes to keep the VXR500’s muscle on a tight leash, and yet more for the Wortec sports suspension package.

Especially on European roads, these add-ons make for a reasonably civilized ride and handling characteristics. You still feel a bit like Mad Max — even ensconced in the superb seats and surrounded by at least the semblance of expensive driving, the swelling bellow of the supercharger is a regular reminder of the VXR500’s true potency.

It’s generous for such a mighty car. When there’s not enough road to let it loose, it creates the noise or some other illusion of speed. It demands total respect and unfaltering concentration, and in return offers scintillating entertainment at half the cost of anything remotely comparable. The VXR500 redefines supercharged muscle; and though it’s not a factory development, it redefines the idea of ‘Vauxhall’ as well.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

UK

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

2006

ENGINE:

5,967 cc V8

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 185 mph (298 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.8 secs.

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

The Vauxhall Monaro VXR500 has been described as the last word in ‘anti-cool’, because it’s ‘not very sophisticated’ and offers its drivers too much uncomplicated, ‘riotous fun’. That’s a roundabout way of saying the traction control isn’t wonderful in the wet; and pushing that power on icy roads is positively self-destructive. You have been warned!

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