Pontiac GTO is built by General Motors Holden in Australia from 2003 to date. However, General Motors is not the first to build this muscle car. It was a car built by Pontiac from 1964 to 1974.
However, there are some important differences in the two Pontiac GTO models from this company. The main one is: General Motor’s Pontiac GTO is a left-hand drive Holden Monaro, itself a coupe variant of the Holden Commodore; while Pontiac’s former was closely related to the Pontiac Tempes for most of time and to the Pontiac Ventura in more recent times.
First generation models:
In its existence, GTO has gone through various changes in almost every dimension along with its design. The first Pontiac GTO (in 1964) was an option package for the Pontiac LeMans, available in two-door sedan, hardtop coupe, and convertible body styles. After that some other variants were available until 1968. All these models can be called first generation GTO.
Second generation models:
The second generation GTO was born from General Motors. GM redesigned its A-body line for 1968, with curvier fastback and “bustleback” styling. A unique feature was the body-color Endura front bumper. It was designed to absorb impacts without permanent deformation at low speeds. These second generation models existed until 1972, with some minor variations in each of the models.
The final models emerged thereafter. The 1973 GTO models shared the restyled A-body with its “Colonnade” hardtop styling, which eliminated the true hardtop design due to the addition of a roof pillar but retained the frameless door work. The rear side windows were now of a fixed design that could not be opened and were triangular in shape. Fans of the original GTO considered the appropriation of a famous muscle car by a Japanese automaker to be sacrilege.
These models existed with some minor modifications until 1999. However, the popularity seems to be declining by the day due to the old technology used in the engines, even in the 21st century models. This has thrown Pontiac GTO into some really tough times. In the 21st century, the time has come for the rebirth of this great model that is often called “The first true muscle car”.
Pontiac GTO Revival:
There would have been no better market than the United States, which is definitely the mother of the automotive industry, to relaunch this great model. Based on the Holden Monaro V platform, the Pontiac GTO was relaunched in the United States in late 2003. The Monaro is a 2-door coupe variant of the Holden Commodore VT/VX developed in Australia. The Commodore, in turn, was developed by expanding on the European-designed 1994 Opel Omega B, which was marketed in its original form in the US from 1997 to 2001 as the Cadillac Catera.
Pontiac GTO also tried its hand at sport models in 2005 and 2006. Despite high expectations from automotive legend General Motors, Pontiac GTO’s sport models aren’t much of a success story. Once again, critics say the models don’t have powerful enough engines to support their caliber like 21st century sports models.
Comments on the Pontiac GTO:
Since the time of the first generation of the GTO, critics have not been too impressed with these models. Most of them say that the engines are not the most advanced technologies of their time. Some reviewers even went ahead and said that any of the GTO models are 5 years old in terms of technology compared to any of its peers.
Despite all these criticisms, Pontiac’s GTO is a true success, which is quite evident in its long history of more than 35 years. And even the future looks pretty 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 of the most exciting parts of the GTO models is their colors. Every year GTO adds at least 2-3 more colors to its range, especially to attract the young population towards its models.