Prior to arriving the in the UK, the Monaro had been on sale for many years in Australia, badged as a Holden. It was only in April 2004 that the first 5.7-litre models were offered for sale under the official Vauxhall badge here in the UK. It was a toe in the water in many respects, as this was uncharted territory for Vauxhall. Yes, they had offered a 150mph+ coupe in the past in the form of the Calibra Turbo, but next to a Monaro, a Calibra looks flyweight. Big and brash, the 329bhp Monaro was an instant hit, chiefly among drivers who had owned vehicles like a Subaru Impreza WRX or a Mitsubishi Evo and wanted something a bit brawnier. Within three months, Vauxhall had sold their entire quota and demand was still strong.
Fortunately, their newly formed VXR performance arm came to the rescue, offering a hopped-up version that won instant acclaim. With 382bhp at its disposal, this was a seriously rapid car and the fitment of more aggressive wheels, spoilers and interior trim also endeared it to the target market. Changes were soon to be made, however. In April 2005, the Monaro VXR got yet another shot in the arm, this time round by having its 5.7-litre engine enlarged to fully 6.0-litres. This upped power output to 403bhp while the 5.7-litre engine in the normal entry-level car got a few tweaks to lift its figure to 354bhp. Some mild styling and design changes were also visited upon the car. Given the strong demand, Vauxhall have never had access to quite as many Monaros as they would have liked and production ceased in February 2006 with the last stock reaching UK shores in September '06.