The end of Australian car production makes us sad, because these cars were awesome.
Last week, we got some sad news out of Australia. The last ever Ford Falcon rolled off the assembly line, and with it comes the death of the Australian auto manufacturing industry. Ford, GM, and Toyota will all soon cease production in the country, which we think is quite a shame. The Australian auto industry has created some incredibly unique vehicles in the past. Even though many of these models never came to the US, or were rebadged, we thought we would look back on some of the coolest models to ever come from down under.
The Ford Falcon has been a staple of the Australian auto industry for decades. Both the sedan and ute version of the Falcon are extremely cool, and we would have loved to receive both in the US. It certainly would have been an improvement over Ford's full-size sedan in the US, the Taurus. We specifically chose the Falcon FPV sedan. This limited edition model came with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 which produced 450 horsepower. Of course, this power was sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. While Australia got a supercharged M3 fighter, the US market was stuck with the FWD Taurus.
Every once in a while, GM decided to sell one of its Australian-built products in the US. The latest model, the Chevy SS, epitomizes why we loved the Australian auto industry. Other than the Camaro and the Corvette, Chevrolet does not have anything to offer enthusiasts in the US. Both of those models have just two doors, and wouldn't be practical for a car enthusiast with a family. The SS may not look much different than a run-of-the-mill Chevy Malibu, but it has RWD and a 415-horsepower V8. The SS is basically a rebadged Holden Commodore, as was its predecessor, the Pontiac G8. Neither car was really successful in the US, which we blame on marketing, not the product itself.
Even though the US market did receive a rebadged version of the Holden Commodore, it was far from the best that Australia had to offer. The US-market Chevy SS came with a 415 horsepower V8, which is nowhere near as much as the HSV Commodore GTS-R. This tuned Holden came with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 576 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. This is basically the same engine as the ZR-1 Corvette and ZL1 Camaro. One of the biggest faults with the SS is its boring looks. This is an area where the Commodore excels. Especially when painted in yellow, this sedan is anything but boring.
The Holden Monaro is another staple of the Australian auto industry. The Monaro was originally sold from 1968 to 1977, then again from 2001 to 2006. When the Monaro name was revived, it was instantly loved by the automotive community. The UK got a version badged as a Vauxhall, and the US even got a version that was badged as a Pontiac GTO. Although it was a bit weird to see an Australian car get the GTO badge, it was nice to get something cool from the Holden division. There was originally a 5.7-liter V8, which was later replaced by a 400 horsepower 6.0-liter LS2 V8. Toss in a six-speed manual, and this was one of the best coupes of the early 2000s.
It would be impossible to do a list of the best Australian cars without including a ute. The Australians invented the ute, and we are desperately waiting to see if they continue making them once production in the country ceases completely. Of course, we decided to include the best ute that has ever been made on this list. The HSV GTS Maloo packed a 585 horsepower 6.2-liter LSA V8. This pickup truck is also a sports car, and we can't think of any vehicle from Australia that we would want want more than this incredible ute.