Three easy letters borrowed from a well known Italian automaker kicked off the muscle automotive revolution that despatched hearts racing for a decade beginning within the 12 months 1964. The Pontiac GTO could also be finest recognized at this time for Tri-Energy carburetors, Hurst shifters, stacked headlights and Decide Sammy Davis Jr., however there could be little argument that probably the most rewarding of Pontiac’s coupes to really drive got here a number of many years later.
After ending its preliminary manufacturing run in 1974 as a one-year-only variant primarily based on the Ventura (in any other case generally known as Pontiac’s model of the X-body Chevy Nova), GM’s efficiency division introduced the GTO again for the 2004 mannequin 12 months. This time, although, the Goat was in-built Australia earlier than setting sail to America, primarily based on the well-regarded bones of the Holden Monaro.
Regardless of the flowing aerodynamic bodywork and trendy fuel-injected engine, the fundamental GTO premise remained the identical: plop the most important and strongest engine attainable into the smallest chassis accessible and put it on the showroom ground. The reborn GTO survived simply three mannequin years, killed by excessive costs, poor advertising, the expense of transport and certifying the Australian machine for the U.S. market and presumably even the quickly approaching finish of the Pontiac model itself.
Why the Pontiac GTO?
Properly, this appears apparent: efficiency. The 2004 GTO featured a 5.7-liter LS1 V8 engine (the traditional 350 cubic-inch GM small block displacement), however for 2005 and 2006 the GTO was blessed with the bigger 6.0-liter LS2. That pushed energy from 350 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque to a fair 400 horses and torques.
With the brand new, upgraded V8 underhood, the GTO’s 0-60 time dropped from an estimated 5.three seconds to only 4.7. The quarter-mile time fell from an already wonderful 13.eight seconds to 13 flat, making this the quickest GTO that Pontiac ever (formally) produced and offered to the general public. With a prime pace of 180 miles per hour, it was additionally the quickest.
However there’s extra to the late GTO than simply efficiency numbers. The Holden Monaro-based chassis was a very good one, with a stiff construction and impartial suspension in any respect 4 corners. Not like earlier GTOs, Pontiac’s last-ditch muscle automotive didn’t roll over when the highway acquired twisty. Nonetheless, its experience was tuned for consolation, making the GTO a stunning each day driver all through the week that’s able to inducing grins at any type of race observe on the weekends.
Basic Motors’ LS-series of engines have confirmed very sturdy over time. It’s not the lazy, lumpy V8 that powered the unique GTOs, even if it depends on pushrods and displacement to make a large band of torque similar to muscle vehicles of previous. Its under-stressed and relatively old-school design is a boon for longevity. The Lengthy-Time period High quality Index research discovered at dashboard-light.com bears this out with an above common reliability rating.
Which Pontiac GTO to decide on?
There’s one thing to be stated about grabbing the primary mannequin 12 months of a possible future collectible, so there may very well be some intrinsic worth to the 2004 GTO. That’s true of the seminal 1964 version, even if energy elevated for 1965 and continued to climb till nearly each automaker took a compression-lowering hit in 1971.
However if you happen to’re searching for the perfect model of the fashionable GTO, the 2005 and 2006 with the LS2 engine are those to search for. Previous that, potential consumers must determine if they need the usual four-speed computerized or the elective six-speed guide. Both possibility will supply loads of efficiency, with the auto seemingly equaling extra repeatable runs on the drag strip. However for sheer driving pleasure, it’s exhausting to beat a clutch pedal.
The GTO was provided in some attention-grabbing colours, together with Cosmos Purple for the 2004 mannequin 12 months and Yellow Jacket in ’04 and ’05. Brazen Orange Metallic was accessible in 2006. Should you’re looking out for one thing distinctive, these far-out hues weren’t as in style as customary coupe colours like purple, silver and black. Some GTOs additionally had eye-catching interiors with purple, blue and even purple leather-based. Consumers who wish to fly as far beneath the radar as attainable might wish to forged a large internet and search for an early mannequin with out the hood scoops that turned customary in 2005.
Availability and listings
Pontiac offered a complete of 40,808 GTOs over the relaunched mannequin’s three-year manufacturing run. Happily, a very good variety of consumers acknowledged that the GTO had potential to understand after a little bit of time handed. And it nonetheless might. Thus far, although, the 2004-2006 GTOs stay relative bargains.
As of this writing in April of 2021, Kelley Blue E book pricing ranges from between round $11,000 for a 2004 in excellent situation to round $18,000 for a 2006 in equally fine condition.
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What else to think about
It’s not straightforward to pinpoint the GTO’s rivals. The Ford Mustang provided 100 fewer horses and wasn’t as lavishly appointed or as costly when new because the Pontiac, but in addition boasts an iconic nameplate. A pleasant 2006 Mustang GT coupe ought to pull one thing close to $12,000.
The third era of the Dodge Challenger debuted for the 2008 mannequin 12 months with an elective 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that spun out as a lot as 375 horsepower or an even bigger 6.1-liter within the SRT8 mannequin with 425 horses. A 2009 Challenger R/T must value lower than $17,000 in excellent situation.
We must also point out that the GTO wasn’t Pontiac’s final effort at making a powerful efficiency push. The G8 was one other Australian import produced from 2008 till the model’s premature demise in 2009. Essentially the most fascinating V8 variations of the G8 sedan are most likely prohibitively costly for consumers who could also be contemplating a bargain-priced GTO, as are the Holden-built Chevrolet SS sedans that got here a number of years later.