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2004 Vauxhall Monaro 5.7 V8 £6990

“Please obtain an insurance quote before viewing”, says the ad. And those seven words tell you pretty much all about this Aussie-built monster. This Monaro comes to Caught in the Classifieds courtesy of our friends at McVeigh Motors of Preston, Lancs.

With 5.7 litres of V8 on tap, it’s as subtle as a pig in a party frock. There’s 333bhp to use as you wish and that’s enough to whisk this big, heavy four-seater from rest to 60mph in 6.5secs. That’s keeping company with a Jaguar XKR or a BMW 645 Ci.  And it’s a rare beast, this. Designed and developed by Vauxhall’s sister brand, Holden, only a few hundreds ever made it to these shores. When new this car carried a sticker price equivalent to £40k at today’s prices and that explains its rarity. Who’d pay that much when instead you could have all manner of choice machinery with a posher badge on its nose.

While its “special quotes only, sir” insurance and fuel consumption in the low teens-mpg make ownership exclusive to the wealthy (or financially reckless), there’s something gloriously attractive about the car. Perhaps it’s those Q-car looks. Unless onlookers really know their cars, they’ll think it’s some kind of Japan-spec Toyota or Nissan.

Or maybe it’s the sheer have-your-cake-and-eat-it-ness of a motor that has so much power but will accommodate four adults comfortably and take their luggage, too. Its chairs are plush and leather-trimmed and the cabin is well kitted out. There’s enough in there to signal the car’s powerful intent but it doesn’t look in the least boy-racer-y. It’s comfortable, sure, and this comes out in the ride, which is Merc-like in its ability to smother bumps. But it can also be incisively responsive when the occasion calls.

This one has clearly been looked after and, thank Gawd, past keepers have kept it utterly standard. And that mileage is low for a nine-year-old car like this. Running it will have a huge impact on your finances. But at least at the asking price it has already lost most of its value from when new. Getting some spare parts could prove tricky but others will be easy and cheap because they’re also common to any number of UK-market Vauxhalls.

So, then: that’s not the Monaro. Not for the faint-hearted or those lacking a good few quid in reserve to fund it. But for those who loves car, this one’s old-school charm runs deep.

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