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Pontiac GTO

Pontiac GTO (Cars)

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The Pontiac GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato) is an automobile built by Pontiac in the United States from 1964 (54 years ago) to 1974 (44 years ago), and by Holden in Australia from 2004 (14 years ago) to 2006 (12 years ago). It is often considered the first true muscle car. From 1964 (54 years ago) until midway through 1973 (45 years ago) it was closely related to the Pontiac Tempest and for the 1974 (44 years ago) model year it was based on the Pontiac Ventura. The 21st century GTO is essentially a left hand drive Holden Monaro, itself a coupe variant of the Holden Commodore.

2004

The Pontiac GTO was relaunched in the United States in 2004 (14 years ago), based on the Holden Monaro's V platform. The Monaro is a 2-door coupe variant of the Australian developed VT/VX Holden Commodore. The Commodore was in turn developed by enlarging the European designed 1994 (24 years ago) Opel Omega B, which was marketed in its original form in the U.S. from 1997 (21 years ago) to 2001 (17 years ago) as the Cadillac Catera. The revival was prompted by former GM chairman Bob Lutz, who drove a Holden Monaro while on a business trip in Australia. It was also Pontiac's first American import since the 1993 (25 years ago) Pontiac LeMans.

The GTO was produced by GM's Holden subsidiary in the suburb of Elizabeth, South Australia. It was equipped with the Corvette's LS1 ('04) and LS2 ('05-'06) V8 engine with a choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic. The same model was sold in the United Kingdom as the Vauxhall Monaro and in the Middle East as a Chevrolet Lumina SS. GM North America made a deal with Holden to produce a maximum of 18,000 vehicles per year starting in late 2003 (15 years ago) and going through to the end of the 2006 (12 years ago) model year. The 18,000 units was the production limit for the model at the Australian assembly plant.

Initially in 2004 (14 years ago), the car was offered in several colors. These being Barbados Blue Metallic, Cosmos Purple Metallic, Quicksilver Metallic, Phantom Black Metallic, Impulse Blue Metallic, Torrid Red, and Yellow Jacket.

GM had high expectations to sell 18,000 units, but the Monaro-based GTO received a lukewarm reception in the U.S. The styling was frequently derided by critics as being too "conservative" and "anonymous" to befit either the GTO heritage or the current car's performance. In addition, the GTO faithful felt further insulted by GM's failure to present a U.S.-built car that incorporated any design lineage from the muscular icons of the 1960 (58 years ago) and 1970 (48 years ago). Given the newly revived muscle car climate, it was also overshadowed by the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum and the new Ford Mustang (7 pics), which all featured more traditional "muscle" aesthetics. Sales were also limited because of dealer tactics, such as initially charging large markups and denying requests for test drives of the vehicle. By the end of the year, the 2004 (14 years ago) vehicles were selling with significant discounts. Sales were 13,569 of 15,728 cars for 2004 (14 years ago).

To help squelch comments about the car's appearance, the hood scoops that originally were slated for production in 2004 (14 years ago), were pushed into production as part of an over-the-counter Sport Appearance Package. The 2004 (14 years ago) Sport Appearance Package also included a taller and more angular rear spoiler as well as deeper inset grilles.

Closing out the 2004 (14 years ago) model year was the W40 package. Rumored to be a stillborn 40th anniversary package, it gave the buyer an exclusive paint color called Pulse Red, red GTO embroidery on the seats, and a grey colored gauge cluster. The last 794 2004 (14 years ago) GTOs were built with the W40 package.


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