By now, everyone knows that General Motors turned to its Australian brand--Holden--in search of a new Pontiac GTO. It found a good one in the Holden Monaro.
The Monaro will require and will receive considerable remodeling to make the transformation from Holden to Goat. Fortunately, this morphing process will go beyond just moving the steering wheel to the left side of the car and the application of new badges. It's interesting that Holden reached out to Detroit for the 5.7L LS1 V-8 engine needed to create the muscled-up Monaro coupe in the first place.
The message here is "global platform and powertrain sharing." The fun question becomes "So, what else they got?" In fact, they've got plenty. Holden makes smart use of GM's midsize, rear-drive E2800 platform, which saw duty here as the '97-'02 Cadillac Catera. These same underpinnings form the basis of a multitude of Holdens, and we got hold of three of them. They're not only great driving cars, but each can be crystal-balled as potential North American product. Common among them are a variety of V-6 and V-8 engine options, fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, power rack-and-pinion steering, and the same firewall/instrument panel packaging.
First up, the Ute. The concept is simple: Start with a sedan and turn everything aft of the front seats into an open cargo bed. This basic idea had been available for decades in the form of Ford's Ranchero and Chevy's El Camino. The Ute SS packs a powertrain that could have come right out of a Z28: 302-hp Gen III OHV V-8, backed by a six-speed manual transmission. The cabin, done up in funky colors, resembles the one in the last Catera Sport we drove.