Pontiac GTO – The First True Muscle Car

General Introduction:

Pontiac GTO is built by General Motors Holden in Australia from 2003 to date. However, General Motors is not the first one to build this muscle car. It was an automobile built by Pontiac from 1964 to 1974.

However, there are a few major differences in both of these company’s models of Pontiac GTO. The major one is — General Motor’s Pontiac GTO is a left hand drive Holden Monaro, itself a coupe variant of the Holden Commodore; where as the old one from Pontiac was closely related to the Pontiac Tempes for most of the time and to Pontiac Ventura at the latter times.

First Generation Models:

In its existence, GTO has gone through several changes in almost all the dimensions along with its design. The first Pontiac GTO (in 1964) was an option package for the Pontiac LeMans, available with the two-door sedan, hardtop coupe, and convertible body styles. After that a few other variants made available until 1968. All these models can be called first generation GTOs.

Second Generation Models:

The second generation GTO came into existence from General Motors. GM redesigned its A-body line for 1968, with more curvaceous, “bustleback” fastback styling. A unique feature was the body-color Endura front bumper. It was designed to absorb impact without permanent deformation at low speeds. These second generation models were in existence up to 1972, with some minor variations in each of the models.

Final Models:

The final models came into existence from then onwards. The 1973 GTO models shared the re skinned A-body with its “Colonnade” hardtop styling, which eliminated true hardtop design because of the addition of a roof pillar but retention of frameless door work. Rear side windows were now of a fixed design that could not be opened and in a triangular shape. Fans of the original GTO considered the appropriation of a famous muscle car by a Japanese automaker to be sacrilegious

These models were in existence with some minor modifications until 1999. However, the popularity seems to be decreasing day after day because of the age old technology used in the engines, even in the 21st century models. This has thrown Pontiac GTO into some real hard times. In 21st century, came the time of revival for this great model which is quite often called, “The first true muscle car”.

Revival of Pontiac GTO:

There would have been no better market than United States, which is definitely the mother of automobile industry, to re-launch this great model. Based on the platform of Holden Monaro’s V, The Pontiac GTO was re launched in the United States in late 2003. 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 Opel Omega B, which was marketed in its original form in the U.S. from 1997 to 2001 as the Cadillac Catera.

Pontiac GTO also tried its fortunes with the sports models in 2005 and 2006. Despite of great expectations from the automobile legend General Motors, Pontiac GTO’s sports models are not a great success story. Again critics say that the models don’t have enough powerful engines to support their caliber as 21st century’s sports models.

Critics on Pontiac’s GTO:

Right from the time of first generation GTO, critics are not too impressed with these models. Most of them say that the engines are not of the cutting edge technologies of their times. Some critics even went ahead and said that any of the models of GTO are 5 years old in terms of technology when compared to any of their peers.

Despite of all these criticisms, Pontiac’s GTO is a real good success which is quite evident from its long run of more than 35 years. And, even the future looks quite bright for this model as new markets are opening up for models like Pontiac’s GTO.

Currently, Pontiac GTO is trying its luck in Australia, with more than 6 variants. One most exciting part of GTO’s models are their colors. Every year, GTO adds at least 2 to 3 more colors to its range, especially to attract youth population towards it’s models.