Whatever your measure of cult status, it’s likely that the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS car qualifies.

HSV reportedly sold the idea to Holden by hand-building a mule using an off-the-shelf LSA engine, then it spent years secretly developing the car so it would not only pass GM’s strict reliability testing but also roll at least part of the way down the production line with all the other Commodores.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
A rebellious streak is needed to buy one, but not to enjoy it. A class act and a singular joy

Come 2017, that production facility will cease to exist. And while HSV and Holden will march on, the GTS will be the last car of its kind to have been designed and built in Australia.

Had it been a dud, sentimentality wouldn’t have saved the car in the UK. But it isn’t. This final fusion of American muscle and Antipodean know-how is compelling not only for its speed or historical circumstance but also for its completeness and sense of down-to-earth congeniality.

It’s a fitting and pitch-perfect final innings. And the fact that the GTS is cheaper than the rest turns out to be incidental; the real kicker is that in all the ways that matter, it’s just plain better.

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