Holden's Coupe 60, the next Monaro?

That's just the question being asked after Holden revealed a coupe concept, based on the latest Commodore, at the Melbourne Motor Show.

That's just the question being asked after Holden revealed a coupe concept, based on the latest Commodore, at the Melbourne Motor Show.

Everyone was eagerly awaiting Holden's riposte to Ford's first showing of the new FG Falcon to the public and it was this, the Holden Coupe 60. In hindsight it seems inevitable that this would be the lion brand's response. After all, GM vice chairman Bob Lutz was quoted as saying that Holden were going to reveal a "knock everybody's socks off" concept.

CNET.com.au got up close and personal with -- and were privileged enough to sit inside -- this million-dollar, one-off concept. (Check out our photo gallery here ). The exterior is finished in a hand-buffed "diamond silver" paint. In the flesh this paint has a alluring, satin finish, which no photo will ever do justice.

Like the bog-standard Commodore sedan, the Coupe 60 features bulging wheel guards front and rear. In this case though, they house 21-inch wheels on semi-slick racing tyres. Based entirely on the production sedan's mechanical underpinnings, this show car is said to be drivable. Under the bonnet there's a more advanced version of Holden's 6.0-litre V8, which is able to deactivate half of its cylinders when cruising or under light load to improve fuel economy. It also runs on E85, a blend of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent petrol -- GM in the US has been an enthusiastic proponent of ethanol rich, organically grown fuel as a way of reducing America's reliance on foreign (read Arab and Venezuelan) fuel and, more controversially, as a greener fuel.

Although it's obvious that the Coupe 60 and the Commodore share common ancestry, there are few external parts shared between the two -- think headlights, bonnet, door handle, badges. On the inside however, the car is a little less special. Although there are four racing-spec bucket seats, the dash is almost a straight lift, the main exception being the non-functioning V8 Supercar-style digital speedo/tacho screen.

Holden's minders were keen to stay away from the dreaded M-word, Monaro. The use of which would not only send its fans into fits of apoplexy but also infer a go-ahead for production. None of the major details on this car are too wild and crazy for production. Get rid of the usual show car affectations -- crazy wheels, pillarless design, racing seats, side-mounted exhausts and so forth -- and you have a car that's ready to roll down the assembly line. Holden fans will be hoping that GM's accountants think the same way too.

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About the author

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.

 

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