Please be aware that it has not been possible to confirm the mileage on this car - the mileage recorded on the limited documentation is assumed to be a more accurate indicator than that displayed on the odometer.
∙Recent exterior refurbishment and respray ∙MOT exempt and zero-rate VED ∙Rare first-generation model
In modern terms, the Opel Monza is a bit of an unexpected machine. The car is an Opel Senator (also sold in the UK as a Vauxhall) underneath, which was the brand's large executive car, but for the Monza Opel converted it to a stylish two-door liftback. That effectively pitched it right up against the BMW 6 Series, Jaguar XJS, and Mercedes C-Class coupe; imagine a Vauxhall doing that in 2021!
The Monza represented the top-specification model, with a three-litre straight six engine, producing 180hp. While Opel sold smaller-engined versions on the continent, they came to the UK under the Vauxhall brand as Royale Coupe.
A second-generation model followed in 1982, with the Vauxhall version phased out totally, before production ended altogether in 1986. Opel (and Vauxhall) did try to resurrect the name in 2013, with a plug-in hybrid concept car that ultimately didn't come to fruition.
It's a little difficult to pin down a precise history on this Monza, as it has spent some considerable time in storage – not quite a barn find, but close to it. Prior to 2018, its movements are on the hazy side, but we can say that since arriving in August 1979, as an early first-generation model - it had only been through four owners before it went into storage.
Some hand-written notes in the owner's manual show it definitely had a life before storage, racking up around 9,000 miles a year, but then it was designed as an autobahn cruiser.
After its spell in storage, which is at least a dozen years given the cutoff date for computerised MOT records, the previous owner put it through an MOT to see what work needed doing and then returned it to the road.
The current owner bought it – in a partial swap for a 1995 Ford Mustang, no less – with the intent of fully restoring it to glory. However, after sending it away for six-months for a respray he was left disappointed with the standard of work and, though he doesn't really want to sell, feels it's time for someone else to take it on.
There's very much two eras of paperwork with the Monza, somewhat reflecting the fact it was a major financial outlay but still a mass manufacture, mainstream car.
You'll find some original owners' books and a contemporary brochure for the Senator/Monza range, along with a printed road test from 1978. One of the early owners has penned in some regular services, covering the first 52,000 miles and six years of the car's life.
After that, the paperwork trail goes somewhat cold until an MOT certificate in 2018, reflecting its time in storage to at least as far back as 2005. Of course the car is now MOT-exempt, and there is a V112 declaration certificate and an appropriate Historic Vehicle marker on the V5C.
We hope you like red, because there's a whole lot of it in the Monza's cabin. There's two large front seats, trimmed in red velour, and a huge sofa in the same trim in the back – you could fit three abreast with ease, and the car predates the 1986 legislation change requiring fitment of rear seat belts. All are spotless, and very comfortable.
Almost all of the rest of the interior is either red carpet or red vinyl, covering the door cards, dash, and rear cabin. There's areas in the rear where the vinyl has lifted from its backing – the result of 40 years of heat and cold – but no damage.
Small patches of wood veneer appear elsewhere, on the dash and door cards, and this too looks surprisingly undamaged; these can discolour with age, but seem to be unblemished here.
While later Monzas had an infamous digital dash – known for flickering between mph and km/h at a whim – this first-generation car has normal dials, and is all the better for it. You'll even get an original radio/cassette head unit.
As with the interior, the key word on the outside is “red”. With a respray taking place in the last year, you'd expect it to be in great condition, and it doesn't disappoint. There's not a mark on the paintwork, and there's plenty of it. It's more like a 40-year old Opel down under the sills, and some of the areas hidden with the doors closed – highlighting the current owner's disappointment at the job - but not worrisome.
There's plenty of brightwork too. Chromed strips around the glass and lights is all in good condition, as are the front and rear chrome bumpers, with some spots here and there to satisfy polishing enthusiasts. A chrome strip runs down each side, with a black finisher, and this looks free of the typical parking dings.
The five-spoke Ronal wheels are all in good condition too, with no brake dust staining. There's some areas of missing paint around the centre caps and a little kerbing here and there but no major damage.
As a liftback version of an executive car, the Monza sports a lot of large areas of glass, and these are all in great condition, free of any cracks or chips.
In mechanical terms, the Monza is in pretty good shape considering it was essentially a mass market product, and is now over 40 years old. Whereas enthusiast cars tend to be pampered between rare uses, mainstream machines are usually used daily in all weathers and only see a mechanic at services and MOTs.
The general condition is age appropriate, but healthy enough. Although you'll spot general patina from use and the passage of time, almost all of the greasy parts are original or close to it, which speaks well for general reliability. That straight-six fires up without hesitation and makes all the right noises, with none of the wrong ones, and there's no obvious issues with the brakes, suspension or steering that we can spot.
One part that has been swapped is the fuel tank, and the relatively new silvered item stands out. It's not entirely clear when or why this was replaced, though a 2017 ebay receipt for a fuel sender would imply it's within the last four years.
The Opel Monza was always unusual to see, and it's even more rare now. Along with rarity value, the Monza is a big, German coupe based on an executive car, sporting a three-liter straight-six; sounds just like the contemporary BMW 6-Series, doesn't it? You can enjoy this car as it is, or with the existing refurbishment work use it as a base for a restoration project.
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