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Monaro arriving this year

The new Monaro

One coupe, two doors

5.7-litres of all-alloy power

Collectors car of the millennium

The word Monaro is of Aboriginal origin - it means high plateau, which is fitting, really. The Monaro has always been a performance car and if Holden has its way, the Australian icon will make a stunning comeback at the end of the year.

The concept was simply called the Holden Coupe, though when it was showed for the first time to Jo public at the Sydney motor show in 1998, it was unofficially named the Monaro by pundits and show-goers.

The name stuck and pre-orders for a car which hadn't even been manufactured were enough to persuade Holden to manufacture the vehicle.

Ross McKenzie, Holden's Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, said: "In a sense, the car named itself. Right from the beginning, the media and the man on the street insisted on referring to our coupe concept design as a Monaro. After it was confirmed for production, we held consumer research clinics that came out overwhelmingly in favour of the name.

"To men and women of all ages, Monaro directly equated to 'large Australian sports coupe'. In terms of sheer brand awareness, you can't do much better than that."

Not a lot of info one the Monaro has escaped Holden HQ, as the project is still top secret. But, as always, we have a few snippets of juicy info and a swag of images to boot.

The Monaro will be a two-door coupe, much like its older brother (circa 1968) and the wheelbase will be the same as that found on Commodore sedans. These sub-frames are shorter than station wagon and ute models, however.

The photos you see here were taken last year (2000) and, as such, the car looks more like the VT model. However, the Monaro will overlap VX and VU (ute) models. The cars have been under tight security since the production began and everything that travels between Melbourne and Adelaide is under constant surveillance so that nothing is leaked.

The Monaro will be released in very limited numbers to those who have pre-ordered and even the colour schemes are secret at this stage. Buyers will be able to choose their car colours via the Internet after entering a special password at Holden dealers around the country.

As for the engine, it will be one of Holden's best - the new all-alloy GenIII V8. We know that this 5.7-litre engine (350 cubic-inches for the old-schoolers) pumps out a whopping 225kW in standard form, though who knows what Holden will do to the engine when the car arrives.

We also know that HSV will be creating a killer version of the new Monaro that is guaranteed to be one of the most amazing vehicles this country has seen. Perhaps it will even break the 300kW mark?

Holden's Monaro is going to be huge - of this there is no doubt. The car will be fast - rumours say it will even give Subaru's devilishly quick turbocharged WRX a run for its money.

As with almost every other facet of the vehicle, the price is unknown, though estimates put it at under $100,000. The release of the Monaro has to be one of the most anticipated vehicle launches in Australian history, and now it's close, very close.

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