I’m an induction guy, bet even I found the exhaust note – with a stainless steel cat-back on my car – a touch muted. Sadly, stock Monaro LS engines are heavily restrained via the manifolds, chonky catalytic converters and silencers.
Happily, there are a number of remedies to a stock Monaro’s limited vocals that will also boost power. Tubular manifolds, sports cats or just a good old fashioned box chop can help with the exhaust sound. More budget? A cam upgrade will get you even more power, an addictive choppy sound at idle and a revvier attitude, though supporting mods are needed to make the most of the modification.
It’s a remarkably good GT car
That highway efficiency can largely be attributed to a hilariously long final drive supposedly only used on UK cars. That means the V8 sits well under 2000rpm at 70mph in sixth gear. Combine that with a simple on/off cruise control, sloppy steering rack, doughy ride, mushy chairs and low-down LS torque, and you have a certifiable mile muncher. Big distances disappear beneath you. If you’re sensible, 400 miles is easily achievable inside a healthy-sized tank of fuel.
There’s plenty of space in the cabin, even in the rear seats, and there’s a sizeable boot. The only change I’d make to this as a long-distance tourer is an improved sound system and maybe an aftermarket Android Auto-equipped head unit.
It’s rarer than you’d think
Well under 1000 Monaros remain from the small number sold in the UK between 2002 and 2006, with the split between the 5.7-litre CV8 and the 6.0-litre VXR being just about equal. That wasn’t for lack of demand, either – there were limited numbers available for each year of sale. Rust and hard usage have dropped the numbers from few to fewer. Pro drifters buy them up for the engine and gearbox, and there are numerous stories of Monaros meeting their doom at the hands of owners overestimating their oversteer skills.
Many have reached upwards of 100,000 miles thanks to that reliable and durable powertrain, so it’s slim pickings for original low mileage examples. As I understand it, Harris’ car was a 150k-miler with a sketchy history and an LPG conversion.
Luckily, I’ve ended up with one of the good ones. I’ve totally fallen for it, so much so that it’s got me reconsidering my plans to one day trade up to a newer faster Corvette. Thinking about going for one? I suggest you go for it.
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