October 2017 saw the production end for arguably Australia’s greatest automotive export, the Holden Commodore – and with that end, one of the UK car market’s strangest, most enriching, most wonderful and most unlikely seams of import supply has forever dried up.
Vauxhall’s lurid, unreconstructed, antediluvian, V8-powered, infamous Aussie-built Anglophile – the VXR8 – is no more. Cue the ‘Kylie and Jason’ mood music.
There is much more to mourn with the Holden’s passing, of course, since it also represented the death knell of local car production in Australia and of the variety it gave to petrolheads everywhere.
In the end, Holden’s Commodore production line stayed running a year longer than Ford’s Falcon factory and a month longer than Toyota’s local Camry facility but finally wound to a stop on 20 October 2017.
And when it stopped, Commodore supply obviously stopped for the firm that has been supplying rebadged, performance-tuned versions of the V8 saloons to UK showrooms for 10 years now: Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).
Meaningfully identical to the HSV model of the same name, the VXR8 GTS-R gets a dab more power than the GTS we tested in 2014, as well as various other mechanical tweaks, styling modifications and cabin upgrades – all of which you’re about to read in greater detail.
All 15 of those cars have since been sold. So if you’ve been waiting since the earliest Holden Monaros appeared in the UK in 2004 to treat yourself to your very own slice of Australian muscle and you’re only now learning that it’s too late to do so, commiserations.
You can, at least, find out how the very last VXR8 – and the most powerful car to wear a Vauxhall badge – got on against our road test timing gear, and what kind of farewell tribute to such a unique and likeable car it is, by simply reading on.