Take it or leave it: second hand picks for 21 January

Take it or leave it: second hand picks for 21 January

This week on take it or leave it, we have a look at an infamous convertible, a legendary hot hatch and a very interestingly styled SUV. But first, here’s something to fill the muscle-car shaped hole in your life…

Vauxhall Monaro VXR, £16,495: You know what you’re going to get from a Vauxhall Monaro: power, and lots of it. It’s certainly not the subtlest car out there: with a low-slung spoiler, large tailpipes and aggressive-looking dual front air intakes, there are plenty of telltale signs that this is a coupé geared towards speed.

But is that all there is to it? Hardly. Here’s why you should scour the used market to pick up one of the last 439 Monaros left on UK roads.

The perfect ticket to cheap thrills, the Monaro is a sly buy for those who fancy a change from the usual European stalwarts. This is no less true with the Monaro’s most extreme variant, the VXR, which joined the range in 2004, priced at £36,785. 

Those who fancy a record-breaker should get their wallets ready, as the VXR would overtake the Lotus Carlton to become Vauxhall’s fastest-ever car.

The super-coupé was produced by Holden in Australia, with a 6.0-litre atmo V8 under the bonnet producing 398bhp and 390lb ft of torque. It could achieve a 0-62mph sprint of 5.2sec and a top speed of 180mph.

It required a stiffer chassis with revised springs and dampers to cope with the increase in power fed from its Chevrolet Corvette-supplied engine.

The VXR had 40bhp more than the standard Monaro. It got bigger brakes, too, but retained the same six-speed manual gearbox, as well as its affordable price point. A new exhaust system, however, made it sound even better than usual.

Looking at the Monaro’s aggressive styling and power figures, you might not believe how refined it was. It had comfy leather seats and a long sixth gear that allowed for effortless motorway cruising at 1700rpm.