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First look: Holden's Monaro lives again

Sleek: Coupe 60 concept wowed the Melbourne motor show today.

GM Holden flies its all-new VE Coupe in Melbourne as the perfect Falcon spoiler

29 Feb 2008

GM HOLDEN has done it again. Just as it did at the Sydney motor show a decade ago, when the born-again VT Commodore-based Monaro made its first shock appearance, Holden has again revealed a stunning homegrown two-door concept car that was the undoubted star of 2008 Melbourne International Motor Show today.

Staging the perfect spoiler for the first public appearance of Ford's redesigned FG Falcon range, Holden lived up to its promise to reveal a show-stopping new 2+2 concept in Melbourne, confiming GoAuto's exclusive report from the VE Commodore launch more than 18 months ago, in which GM North America exterior design boss Mike Simcoe revealed that a two-door VE “will come”.

13 center imageAlthough strictly described as a concept at this stage, the “Coupe 60” show car – designed at a cost of $2.5 million to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Holden's first car, the 48/215 – is production-capable and was in Holden's plans when the product portfolio plan for the new global rear-wheel drive/Zeta architecture was determined in 2002.

Significantly, this year will also be the 40th anniversary of the Monaro nameplate, the 30th anniversary of Commodore, the 50th year of manufacturing at Elizabeth in South Australia and the 100th anniversary of Holden's parent company, General Motors.

The Coupe 60 was presented by Mark Reuss in his first public appearance as new Holden chairman and managing director, and is powered by a 6.0-litre E85-capable V8 with Active Fuel Management.

“Our vehicles aren't just built to go from A to B,” he said. “They're designed to be enjoyed. No celebration would be complete without the cherry on top and this is our 60th anniversary gift to our fans worldwide.

“With Coupe 60 we think we have designed a car that has the potential to write another chapter in the book of Holden icons.” Of course, of biggest interest is the new-generation Monaro's two-door skin, which Holden design boss Tony Stolfo said was all-new from its global rear-wheel drive VE/Zeta platform up.

Mr Stolfo described the Coupe 60 as a team effort from a group of dedicated Holden designers and said that, should it reach production, he hoped the concept's striking B-pillarless design would continue.

“You've seen VE, you've seen the long-wheelbase, you've seen us produce a whole range of vehicles off this architecture – and we really set the story back in 2002 when we knew we wanted to generate a coupe off the architecture as well,” said GM Holden design chief Tony Stolfo, who drove the coupe out onto the stage in Melbourne.

“There's nothing on the car, other than that cocky (side-exit) exhaust that isn't production capable... Basically, the whole car is all-new except for all the underbody – all the underpinnings is all carry-over from VE.

“I would love to keep it pillarless – it will all come down to structure and safety.

“Everyone will call it a Monaro, but we're calling it Coupe 60,” he said.

Built in both Japan and Australia (after local resources were stretched with the recent GMC Denali four-door utility concept), the Coupe 60 also features a heavily chopped roofline and massive 21-inch wheels wrapped by wildly flared rear three-quarter panels that comprise twin side-exiting exhaust outlets.

Its appearance ends any doubt that Holden would not produce a second coupe alongside the Australian-developed Chevrolet Camaro coupe.

But Mr Stolfo sounded this note of caution: "The reaction within the GM world is really positive – they really love the car. If we could actually build every show car and put it into production, we would. But the reality is, we can only push the capital so far.” The Coupe 60 features Kumho semi-slick tyres, a flat-bottom steering wheel, one-piece carbon-fibre sports bucket seats and LED tail-lights.

It rides on the same 2915mm wheelbase as the VE, but has a unique rear chassis rail and is almost 60mm shorter at 4837mm, 60mm lower at 1400mm high and slightly narrower at 1895mm.

GM Holden also used the Melbourne show to reveal full Sportwagon pricing (see separate story), as well as the fitment of six airbags as standard across the entire VE Commodore sedan and wagon range – going one better than Ford's new Falcon.

Holden also flagged the fitment of a turbo-diesel engine for its mid-size Epica sedan this year.

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