Looking for Aussie muscle? We’ve trawled the classifieds to find the top-five best value buys for budgets between $7000 and $30,000.
The rules are simple: less than 150,000km on the clock, in decent, unmolested condition and inside 15 years old.
Holden MonaroGo for an unmolested 2001 original, in CV8 manual rather than antiquated four-speed automatic or breathless CV6 guise, and you’ll have a future classic on your hands.
We found three good examples of this sleek, 225kW/460Nm two-door 2+2 all with between 100,000km and 125,000km for between $16,000 and $19,000.
Ford BA Falcon XR6 TurboSuper-sharp steering and a sophisticated independent rear suspension gelled with the 240kW and 450Nm that was on tap in the BA Falcon XR6 Turbo.
Over time the chassis became more exposed as Ford turned up the boost and when the VE Commodore arrived the Blue Oval lost its dynamic dominance and never regained it.
So the BA XR6 Turbo is where it’s at, and we found three automatic 2002 examples for $7000 with between 119,000km and 138,000km on the clock.
Tellingly, the six-speed manual commands up to $4000 over the four-speed auto nowadays. The best auto buy is the ZF six-speed BF update; a 2006 example is yours for about $12,000.
Holden VE Commodore SS or HSV VZ ClubsportIf you can stretch to around $15,000 or beyond, forget Falcon for a moment because the beautifully engineered VE Commodore is where it’s at.
The 270kW and 530Nm from the 6.0-litre V8 are barely changed even now in VF guise, and the VE actually has the more relaxed stability control system and feelsome steering compared with the newer car. We saw a 2008 manual (the automatic is very average) with 83,000km on the clock for $16,800.
If you want to get down and dirty, an alternative is a VZ Clubsport manual, which weighed less than a VE SS (1643kg versus 1770kg) yet boasted 297kW/530Nm and a 5.2-second 0-100km/h time.
It’s all power and no chassis, though, and it weighs less because it is quite loose in the body. We saw a last-of-the-line 2006 manual with 141,000km on the clock for $16,000.
Ford Performance Vehicles FG-generationWe could call it Tickford for a new era, and can definitely call it now dead, but FPV models in current FG guise weren’t bad cars that have depreciated faster than their HSV counterparts.
We saw twin 2008 FPV F6 automatics, one with 112,000km on the clock for $25,000 and the other with 140,000km for $26,000 – not bad for $70K-new sedans that still can put 310kW and 565Nm to sweet, boosty use.
HSV VE Clubsport and Senator SignatureGenerally those who purchased in camp red are holding onto a little more of their cash compared with those in tribe blue.
A model of the same 2008 vintage from Holden Special Vehicles is holding about $4000 higher than the equivalent FPV.
It is worth remembering that the VE Commodore had a two-year head start on the FG Falcon, and that’s two years of sheer dominance compared with the ageing BF of the time.
That means you can pick up a HSV VE made in 2006 for under $25,000. Both deliver 307kW and 550Nm, or more power and about the same torque as today’s VF SS.
We saw a Clubsport R8 with 146,000km on the clock for $22,000 and a (sadly auto) Senator Signature with 125,000km for $23,000.