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Pontiac GTO



  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,474
    "As one of the "renegade GM engineers" (Russ Gee was the other one) who put the Pontiac 399-cubic-inch V-8 in a Pontiac LeMans which John (DeLorean) called the GTO, I would like to comment on the 2004 GTO.
     It is too bad the new one does not have hood scoops and dual exhausts. and why not red-line tires?
     The car...has NO real identification. It is vanilla and does not make any visual statement.
    We can only hope that it's overall performance will be more than outstanding."

    Bill Collins in AUTOMOTIVE NEWS, April 21, 2003

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    The GTO look is fine. A little rounded, but 3 years ago that was vogue, and when the car was designed.

    if you go to or there are some charged up monaros that suggest what the car sould look like with some embellishment.

    I don't recall the original Camaro having all sorts of scoops and ducts and stuff. Now granted that car was a classic. But the GTO is more along the lines of trying to emulatea clean restraint of a Euro car. Not trying to be boy racer like so many Pontiacs recently.

    The original GTO came out, like 4 decades ago. Time to get over it. This is a new time, and performance cars must sometimes be appealing to eurocar intenders instead of just those who like the traditional muscle cars.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    I'll take real performance over retro styling cues any day. If the car performs, it will sell. The styling, even lack thereof in the minds of many, will be forgiven. But God help this car if it doesn't perform.

    Can anyone say "Mercury Marauder"? They want 18,000 annual sales and have trouble getting 3,000. And need deep, deep discounting in order to get what few sales they have.

    Or study the original Corvette. Beautiful exterior. But a smallish, underpowered car that only had a 2-speed automatic. Took 'em a few years before they got the "formula" right, and even then Ford's T-bird outsold it handily.

    Here's hoping GM is focused on getting the performance aspect right the first time. No repeats of cars like the Pontiac Fiero where it was only the last model year where everything came together.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,474
    If the performance is there most will learn to live with the styling, which will probably be improved as they go along. Some of those Monaro variants are quite nice (performance and styling).

    It's also fair to say that the performance attributes of the original Goat were often exaggerated by bogus 'zine tests of modded cars.
    Most'64-'74 Goats were equipped with options that
    either robbed performance (AT/Air) or were just plain silly (Vinyl roofs).

    -Owned original '70 GTO convertible. No air, no AT, no tri-power, no Ram-air.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • obiwanobiwan Posts: 57
    Ford will soon be killing the T-bird again.

    Why? It's stylish. It is replete with styling cues from the 50's birds. Everyone said it was a great retro look.

    It's dying for one simple reason. Performance. A 3.x liter v8 in a car that big just isn't enough to satisfy the enthusiasts. When you factor in the near-'vette pricing, you can easily see why styling alone won't carry a car. For that much money, one could buy a 'vette or BMW M series that drives circles around the T-Bird.

    Enter the GTO. So it doesn't have retro styling cues. So it looks like a bland Japanese/Euro sedan. But under that plain exterior lies a platform that, with some tweaking, can keep up with a BMW M5 for thousands of dollars less.

    Will the GTO sell?

    Most certainly.

    People like me weren't really interested in the garish boy-racer-in-gold-chains / mullet-mobile look of the last F-body. It was a style who's time had come 10 years prior. Now that the GTO is coming, we can look forward to good American pushrod V8 power under the hood of a vehicle that we'd be willing to drive in public.
  • argentargent Posts: 176
    I don't think performance has anything to do with the Thunderbird's failure. I think the performance is in line with other cars in that class (non-M BMW Z3/Z4, Benz SLK, et al), and probably about as much as the DEW98 platform can manage without a roof -- it lost a lot of rigidity in its transformation.

    The problem is that the styling seems half-hearted (despite its obvious retro cues, it's really very bland to look at), and the price is awfully high. The Thunderbird lists for a hair under $40K, and the awful dealer mark-up on early models pushed that up by another ten grand or so.

    For that money or a little more, buyers looking for a posh roadster could buy a BMW, Mercedes, or even a base Porsche Boxster (especially if they got a late-model certified pre-owned model), all of which have much greater snob appeal.

    I think even if the noveau T-bird had a stronger body, tauter suspension, and 400 hp, the result would be the same. In fact, it might even be selling LESS, because that would drive up the price even more into Deutsch-treat territory and make the ride harsher for boulevard cruisers.
  • funkcityfunkcity Posts: 100
    The T-Bird is a 2 seater period.
    That fact alone will limit sales.
    The platform is good but it was always a boulevard cruiser.
    The DEW-98 platform has serious potential
    (Jaguar S-Type R comes to mind.)

    Saleen is still planing a HiPo T-Bird.

    But people want more.

    Styling MUST get them in the door and then it must perform or all the car rags who are poised to crucify any brand that is not BMW or Honda will eat it for lunch.

    The competition is fierce today.
    A few styling cues from the past with today's styling edge and performance is a potential formula for success IMHO.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,474
    A Supercharged Bird in the works, it is supposed to be shown in NY.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • argentargent Posts: 176
    The DEW98 platform works well enough in the Jag S-Type R and Lincoln LS, but it seems to have lost a LOT of strength in its transformation into a roadster, and that's a problem.

    The Thunderbird has nostalgia appeal, but apparently for $35-$40K, nostalgia appeal doesn't overcome badge snobbery. We shall see if the GTO fares any better.
  • funkcityfunkcity Posts: 100
    Where do you get this from??

    ""The DEW98 platform works well enough in the Jag S-Type R and Lincoln LS, but it seems to have lost a LOT of strength in its transformation into a roadster, and that's a problem.""

    We all know that taking the roof away removes some of the structure's rigidity in any car, but why are you so specific about the T-Bird?
    Is there some first-hand experience you'd like to impart?

    If Saleen does do the 400hp SuperCharged T-Bird then they also will have to deal with it.

    Shock Tower Braces, undercarriage cross braces etc. can all be used so this does not seem to be a big deal.
  • argentargent Posts: 176
    There's a sense of body flexibility in the Thunderbird -- not alarming, but noticeable -- that's absent in the Lincoln and Jag sedans built on that platform. It's not the spaghetti-noodle feeling you get in, say, an eighties Chrysler LeBaron, but it's not the kind of sensation that screams "add more power," either. I assume that limberness, which, again, isn't present in the LS or S-Type, is a function of the loss of the roof. It is a relatively large monocoque, after all, and the roof structure provides a lot of a unit body's rigidity, even more than a body-on-frame car.

    Adding additional bracing would make the body stiffer, but they'd also make it heavier, and that, combined with performance-oriented suspension, would also erode the ride quality. It just doesn't seem like an appealing thought.

    I think for that kind of money, if I wanted a more sporting open-topped car I'd be looking at something like a Corvette instead. The Thunderbird feels like a boulevard cruiser, and taking a belt-and-braces approach to try to turn it into a pseudo hot rod doesn't really seem worthwhile. With enough diligence and money, I don't doubt you could make it fast, but that doesn't necessarily make it any more appealing.
  • ryboz301ssryboz301ss Posts: 1
    It's great that Bob Lutz was able to maintain the performance genre for Pontiac by bringing over the Holden Monaro CV8, but he still has a lot of work to do in trying to bring over some more from Aussie-land. Has anyone ever seen the HSV (Holden Specialty Vehicles lineup? Hopefully Mr. Lutz can bring over the HSV GTS Coupe or even the GTS 300 sedan. Those two cars alone can crush whatever is coming out of Germany. Mr. Lutz, if you ever get a chance to read this, please bring over the HSV lineup. This must be done before Ford brings over their FPV (Ford Performance Vehicles). It's time for the Lion to roar in America!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,474
    Any Holden can crush the German competition. AMG, BMW Msport and Quattro GMBh are rolling out 5 and 600 hp cars like they're going out of style.

    Still it's likely that the stronger HSVs will come over eventually as Ram-Air or Judge variants, for a price (>$40k).

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • obiwanobiwan Posts: 57
    Since GM in North America has a relationship with SLP, I wouldn't be surprised if they get the contracts instead of HSV. Now, if I were working for SLP in this instance, I would certainly colaberate with HSV and maybe do some parts sharing.

    Just my $0.02
  • jemillerjemiller Posts: 183
    The Bird is boring. It's boring to look at, it's boring to sit in, it's boring to drive.

    It mostly botches the 'retro' clues (One '96 Taurus nose + one 39-cent piece of chrome flourescent-light diffuser grating = Thunderbird?) and it's just flat not quick enough for any sort of 'image' car by present-day standards. The butt-ugly-but-fun-and-full-of-toys Lexus SC430 is outselling it pretty considerably.

    The GTO makes no effort to be retro. It's a serious, decently modern piece of hardware.
  • funkcityfunkcity Posts: 100
    Does the GTO use an LS1 and a CTS V an LS6?

    If so, whats the diff?
  • aviatormanaviatorman Posts: 44
    It uses a LS1. Not a CTS-V LS6.
  • jemillerjemiller Posts: 183
    LS1 currently rated @ 350HP (Corvette), LS6 405HP.

    LS6 block has 'windows' cut into bearing webs to reduce windage pumping losses at high RPM. LS6 heads have bigger ports and smaller combustion chambers, hollow-stem valves to reduce valvetrain inertia. Intake manifold, throttle, MAF different. Higher-lift cam, stiffer valvesprings.

    A lot of different parts but nothing significantly different in design or material.

    Interesting to note that in production quantities none of these changes should represent a significant cost increase (okay, the valves might cost a few bucks.) The LS6 is a cheap engine to build.
  • obiwanobiwan Posts: 57
    The dealer told me that GM has started to accept orders on the GTO. The order for mine has been submitted. :)
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    What are the details of the order?

    Price? Options? Or is it a general get in line/ you'll get a car thing?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Anyone stopped by a Pontiac dealer lately to see if GM has printed the brochures?

    That is the one down side to a GTO. I dread going to a Pontiac dealer. Fearful some guy in a mismatched suit who knows nothing about cars will try to steer me into a Vibe or Grand Am! :)
  • obiwanobiwan Posts: 57
    Right now, the only options are color and transmission.

    Standard features include all of what you would expect (power everything, etc.) A 6 disc Blaupunkt 200 watt stereo is also standard. Some places list a 340HP engine, others list a 350 horse mill.

    I don't know the price yet. Mid 30's is all I'm told.

    I know the dealer I'm working with and he's providing me as much as he knows. So far, no brochures are available except the press kit. He says pricing will be released sometime in the next month or two.
  • ron1010ron1010 Posts: 1
    I was in Adelaide - South Australia (Elizabeth is a nearby suburb) in Feb and saw a number of Monaros (GTO's) around. We stopped at a Holden dealer to check one out. Interior was very sharp, everything well appointed. Paint job was excellent, tires and wheels very impressive. The word on the street from the "aussies" was that this IS a great vehicle!
    The Monaro/GTO has a huge reputation, and with the development through their Sedan racing over the years, Aussie GM/Holden have come up with a winner!
    I'll be ordering mine very shortly!
  • obiwanobiwan Posts: 57
    I hope that a lot of the aftermarket parts follow the GTO over here. It would be great if HSV opened shop over on this side of the pond.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    obiwan - my opinion on the HP is that it's the same flipping output as the LS1 corvette. I highly doubt there is some difference in the intake or exhaust that keeps the peak torque in place but peak HP is down 10. It's just GM doing their goofy little game to "protect" another line or specific car. I'd bet it's 350.

    They would always down-rate the Camaro and Firebird too. I think their output is closer to the Corvette too.

    Then there is the 3.8 that does 200/225 in a Chevy and 205/230 in a Pontiac or Buick. Yeah right. It's all the same.

    Aftermarket - oh yeah. I suspect a lot of the performance intakes for the Corvette may work or need slight modification. I'll bet Corsa makes an exhaust for it. They already have great stuff for the Corvette. They'll only have to work out the plumbing. It'll be great. Upper 300's will be easy with and intake and exhaust. Get ready to roast some tires.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    You might be right but your reference to the hp output of the 3.8 is not quite accurate. The 3.8 in the W body sedans is identical across its applications regardless of division (i.e. the rating of the Grand Prix, Impala and Regal are all 200 ponies). The 205 rating is for the regularly aspirated series III in the G-body sedans (i.e. the Bonneville, LeSabre, and Park Avenue) - because the size and configuration of the engine bay permits a more direct exhaust outflow. The difference in output (at 2.5%) is marginal and, given that the G bodies are all heavier cars than the W bodies, the performance advantage is still with the latter.

    Perhaps like me, you suspect that GM just made a little extra effort with the plumbing on the (more expensive) G-bodies to distinguish them from their W body stablemates. And, I wouldn't put it past them to program the PCMs to reinforce that distinction. Regardless, the distinction does exist - at least according to an enthusiast acquaintence who had ready access to a dyno.


    P.S. just making one of my infrequent forays into TownHall to see if there was any "news" about the GTO - alas, not much here...
  • obiwanobiwan Posts: 57
    You could try for information and a discussion forum.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    iceman - I still doubt there is a 5 HP/TQ difference. I'd bet that the exhaust plumbing on the G bodies is the same diameter, and the resonator and mufflers are the same too. A less severe bend or two may help a tad - but exactly 5 HP AND torque?? 5 is a bit much unless the exhaust plumbing is really bad on something like the Impala.

    My experience/understanding is that improvements to the exhaust system usually help peak HP more than torque. And +5 (2.5%) seems like a lot for just a "more direct outflow" Again - maybe if there are radical differences.

    I've been to a chassis dyno a bunch of times to test mods. Same day back to back is a must as results vary quite a bit depending on atmospheric conditions - even with the "corrections" by the computer. Unless you actually tested a G and a W back to back - same day, it's worthless. Also, how many non SC'd Bonnevilles, LeSabres or Park Avenues have been on a chassis dyno for WOT performance tests???

    I will admit that I've heard the exhaust from manifold on the Impala is poorly designed for flow though.

    Anyway, I still think GM plays games with their power ratings in some cars to protect certain lines.
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    On June 6th GM put out a press release on the new GTO's dual exhaust including a sound link. Check it out at
This discussion has been closed.