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2004 GTO a fine achievement by GM

By AP

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Nearing the end of a 250-mile romp through the still smoky hills of Southern California earlier this month, I pulled over and handed the keys to Dave Himmelberg.

As program engineering manager for the new 2004 Pontiac GTO, he's one of the key figures responsible for bringing this legendary nameplate back to life.

While sitting in the passenger seat as we careened along Highway 33 through the **** Smith Wilderness Area, I closed my eyes and listened.

The deep, rumbling bass note of the 5.7-liter V-8 was intoxicating. With Himmelberg's foot heavy on the gas pedal, the big engine demanded attention. When his foot went to the brake, the roar subsided a bit but remained a sonic soother.

So, yes, based on exhaust note alone, this new rear-wheel-drive coupe that has born and built in Australia deserves to wear the name of one of the kings of American muscle cars.

To me, the 2004 GTO is a stunning achievement from General Motors. Its straight-line acceleration and mountain-curve handling, sporty and uncluttered interior with room for four adults and even its $32,495 base price (including destination) make it a winner.

In fact, only the milquetoast exterior disappoints me.

In short, this car sure doesn't look like one of those brazen, brawny GTOs from the `60s, or even what I think it might have looked like had it not gone away in 1974, but it sure sounds, sits and steers great.

But more on that later.

Credit for the new GTO goes to Bob Lutz, an automotive legend himself who worked at BMW, Ford and Chrysler and now serves as head of product development for GM and chairman of its North American operations.

Lutz drove the Holden Monaro in Australia and decided this rear-wheel-drive tourer would be a quick and appropriate way to get the GTO back in U.S. showrooms. Once approved, it only took 18 months for the car to reach U.S. buyers.

The original GTO was a $295 performance option on the Pontiac Tempest-LeMans back in 1964. Chief Engineer John DeLorean, who became famous making a car of his own, applied the name GTO (Italian for Gran Turismo Omologato, a label used to describe a car put together for racing).

Projected GTO sales of about 5,000 grew to more than 32,000 for that 1964 model. With a boost from Ronny & The Daytonas' "Little GTO" ("Three deuces and a four-speed and a 329, Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to her whine"), the car became a hit. Over the next 10 years, more than half-million were sold with the 1969-1971 "Judge" GTOs earning particular loyalty.

But the gas crisis as well as changing times and changing tastes ended the muscle-car era. The last GTO was a 1974 model.

Over the next 30 years, compact cars, minivans and sport-utilities all became popular modes of personal transportation.

But, more recently, both nostalgia and performance have become hot trends with car buyers.

And that's where the new GTO comes in.

"We asked, `How do we rekindle the love affair that Americans had with GM when we had 50 percent market share?"' asked Mark Hogan, GM's group vice president for advanced vehicle development. "We looked back in the history and found that one of the things we did best was exciting, fun-to-drive muscle cars. Certainly, the GTO was one of the first of those."

So, starting in March 2002, engineers such as Himmelberg and Bob Reuter and their counterparts in Australia began turning that country's Monaro into this country's GTO.

In the end, it required 450 new parts, moving the gas tank in front of the rear axle and getting the vehicle to meet U.S. crash, emissions and cold-weather standards as the primary tasks.

And, getting it to sound right.

Early on, Himmelberg said, one of the Australian engineers rode with him. "She said, `This rumbling at idle. Don't you think we need to get rid of that?' I said, `Absolutely not. We want more of that."'

In the end, by adding resonators and changing "flow paths" of pipes and doing work to muffler and catalytic converters, he got the sound he wanted.

"It became almost like tuning an instrument," Himmelberg said. "You're going for a certain kind of harmony."

The final product is actually too loud to meet Australian noise pass-by standards, but it meets (barely) U.S. state and local limits and should please buyers.

To produce the new GTO so quickly, Hogan said, meant starting with a sound powertrain. This car has a 5.7-liter LS1 V-8 that's also used on the Corvette and is slightly revised from the one used in the Monaro. It produces 350 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 365 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm.

"Like the 1964 car, this vehicle more than anything was a powertrain program, like John DeLorean did back 40 years ago. We focused on making this car perform from a powertrain perspective like no other," said Reuter, vehicle chief engineer for GM's international and joint-venture programs.

On the road, this motor is a whooping, hollering joy to drive. GM lists 0 to 60 mph times of 5.3 seconds with the manual transmission - at $695, it's the only option available on the GTO - and 5.4 seconds with the four-speed automatic. (That standard shifter requires a $1,000 gas-guzzler penalty, too, because it does 16 mpg in city driving and 21 mpg on the highway, vs. 17 and 29 for the manual.)

For the record, the 1964 GTO had a 325-horsepower, 389-cubic-inch V-8 and a three-speed manual with a Hurst shifter.

One of the biggest problems, to me, is Pontiac's signature front end, with its dual-port grille, wide lights and low, integrated fog lights. I see the GTO and I think Grand Am, a cheap model that's frequently found in rental fleets.

Yes, all Pontiacs share this family resemblance, but what if the family isn't particularly good-looking?

Notably, while the three-letter GTO label gets liberal use here, only Pontiac's arrow symbol, but not its name, is found on the car.

"I think you're going to see us doing more of these global collaboration efforts," Gillespie said.

Hogan also mentioned GM-Brazil as a possible source of future U.S. products. Over the past 10 years, GM has been globalizing into one company, he said.

The new GTO is one result of that thinking. And it's a good one.

Full Article Here

 

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Love the car! Most of the reviews have been positive about the powertrain and interior, but lukewarm on the exterior. I do not mind the exterior at all. I think it looks classy. That is what i believe people in the market for a $35k car are looking for, not the boy racer look. My only gripe with the car is the lack of a sunroof and the inability to fold down the rear seats. I would not put a rack on a car like this to carry my snowboard.
 

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I don't understand why people continue to complain about the GTO's styling. The original GTO was based on an existing 2-door mid-sized Tempest hardtop which was nothing fancy and nothing that was specifically styled to feature the GTO name and performance concept. The only difference was of course the drive train and a few exterior/interior items. It continued for years up to 1974 as an option package on the Tempest and later the Le Mans and finally the Ventura model series. This new GTO is true in concept and it definietly appears to be what one would be like if it had continued in production evolutionarily since 1974.

People also have to remember that GM's Aussie Holden division always borrowed a mix of engineering and parts from US Chevy and Pontiac divisions, as well as styling influences to make vehicles specific to the Australian market. Aussie GM and Ford cars might well have been what our US cars would have been like if they continued to produce traditional mid-sized rear wheel drive sedans through the 1980's to the present.

With all that said it was simply not possible to style an all new vehicle while the Holden Monaro is in the middle of a body shell cycle... Remember the Monaro is the only Holden coupe since the late 1970's with no direct competition from Ford. So teh Aussies are just glad to get a modern coupe even if it does look like a mid-90's Monte Carlo/Grand Prix. People should just be glad that Bob Lutz had the initiative to package an honest GTO (true to the original in concept, performance and packaging) from an existing GM product and bring it here to the US from Australia just to light a fire and spirit for what is about to come with future designs.

I do think that the current styling of the new GTO is just too early 1990's and passe', plus the rental car Grand AM/Grand Prix nose that has an all too familiar look which is just out of place to represent something new and exciting. At the very least a front end could have been styled that was a little edgier, and without resorting to the stereotypical twin kidney BMW rip-off grille. I would have welcomed a return to a traditional split horizontal grille. I would also have welcomed a moderately rasied power dome hood that was arrow shaped like many 1960's Pontiacs had. 1960's Pontiac styling cues seem to be the ones that have the strongest recognition in Pontiac's history and they were applied consistantly throughout each model line. Every car manufacturer that has evolutionary styling throughout the decades retains certain themes... like Porsche, BMW and Mercedes... there is continuity in certain styling themes while some brands just continually reinvent themes every decade resulting in no specific vehicle heritage... Chevrolet has this problem.. with the only heritage styling cues derived from Camaros and Corvettes that have survived the decades, most notably the dual round taillamps and trailing wheel arch character lines. The Chevy truck grille split bar run amok on every new Chevy car does not count. Pontiac at least has it's traditional split grille themes as they varied from the 1960's to present, just as Cadillac has it's eggcrate grilles and vertical taillamp themes...

I am sure the next GTO will be some sort of styling kockout, because Pontiac needs to have something fresh and edgy to continue in the future...
 

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Originally posted by Watchdevil@Jan 14 2004, 09:05 PM
I am sure the next GTO will be some sort of styling kockout, because Pontiac needs to have something fresh and edgy to continue in the future...
The current GTO is attractive only because it's a Holden based on a mostly-Opel shape, not a Pontiac.

Had Pontiac done it, it'd probably be a bloody disaster like the current Grand Prix. The prospect of Pontiac doing a future GTO in-house is a little frightening.

Nor is the idea of an 'edgy' GTO attractive; the next GTO presumably will come out about the time the current folded-cardboard trend dies off.
 

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I love the car except for one thing.Its so far ahead of all its Pontaic stabelmates when it comes to performance due to its RWD.All Pontaics should go to Versatrack AWD on existing FWD platforms.GTOs performance would still position it at the top of the heap but the interelationship between models would be better.Thats my two cents. ;)
 

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Just got back from my local Pontiac dealer and got to sit in, examine and otherwise drool over the GTO (Purple on Purple auto) :drevil: . From my point of view, the fact that I can reach all 8 spark plugs and change the battery without majoring in advanced yoga, makes this car a winner. The interior is great & to start it up and hear it running is a neat deal. Now, as soon as more come in, I'll be able to auctually drive one & let y'all know how it is.
 

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I know that most of you like this car because it is not really a Pontiac. I think you feel the car would have been not executed so well if Pontiac took over. But I disagree. To bring back a muscle car legend, you need to take the designing into your own hands and make a modern day muscle car. I have been arguing this up and down all over the net, but being new here I figured I'd start again. Thanks GM for bringing the great Holden Monaro to America, but this is not a GTO.
 

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It's that stupid spoiler that makes it look bad. One of these days GM will be completely cured from this desease of thinking you need spoilers and cladding and all these boy racer dodads put on a performence car. YOU DON'T! Take that crap spoiler off and it improves the look tremendously.
 

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Hmm, after seeing the changes made to the front end of the of the GTO, ie. the kidney shaped grill, I understand why it seems if it is styled like an 'older' car.

Well I'll bring you some pics from down under on the "performance" models we have here....



 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The HSV/Aussie versions look newer, but I like the Commodore (?) headlights even more.

One thing I don't like about all of the designs is the unusually large "gap" between the front fascia and the hood though. I wish they would integrate that more closely - it looks like my Bonneville after I've popped the hood.
 

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Originally posted by Ming@Jan 14 2004, 02:29 PM
2004 GTO a fine achievement by GM

By AP

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Nearing the end of a 250-mile romp through the still smoky hills of Southern California earlier this month, I pulled over and handed the keys to Dave Himmelberg.

As program engineering manager for the new 2004 Pontiac GTO, he's one of the key figures responsible for bringing this legendary nameplate back to life.

While sitting in the passenger seat as we careened along Highway 33 through the **** Smith Wilderness Area, I closed my eyes and listened.

The deep, rumbling bass note of the 5.7-liter V-8 was intoxicating. With Himmelberg's foot heavy on the gas pedal, the big engine demanded attention. When his foot went to the brake, the roar subsided a bit but remained a sonic soother.

So, yes, based on exhaust note alone, this new rear-wheel-drive coupe that has born and built in Australia deserves to wear the name of one of the kings of American muscle cars.

To me, the 2004 GTO is a stunning achievement from General Motors. Its straight-line acceleration and mountain-curve handling, sporty and uncluttered interior with room for four adults and even its $32,495 base price (including destination) make it a winner.

In fact, only the milquetoast exterior disappoints me.

In short, this car sure doesn't look like one of those brazen, brawny GTOs from the `60s, or even what I think it might have looked like had it not gone away in 1974, but it sure sounds, sits and steers great.

But more on that later.

Credit for the new GTO goes to Bob Lutz, an automotive legend himself who worked at BMW, Ford and Chrysler and now serves as head of product development for GM and chairman of its North American operations.

Lutz drove the Holden Monaro in Australia and decided this rear-wheel-drive tourer would be a quick and appropriate way to get the GTO back in U.S. showrooms. Once approved, it only took 18 months for the car to reach U.S. buyers.

The original GTO was a $295 performance option on the Pontiac Tempest-LeMans back in 1964. Chief Engineer John DeLorean, who became famous making a car of his own, applied the name GTO (Italian for Gran Turismo Omologato, a label used to describe a car put together for racing).

Projected GTO sales of about 5,000 grew to more than 32,000 for that 1964 model. With a boost from Ronny & The Daytonas' "Little GTO" ("Three deuces and a four-speed and a 329, Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to her whine"), the car became a hit. Over the next 10 years, more than half-million were sold with the 1969-1971 "Judge" GTOs earning particular loyalty.

But the gas crisis as well as changing times and changing tastes ended the muscle-car era. The last GTO was a 1974 model.

Over the next 30 years, compact cars, minivans and sport-utilities all became popular modes of personal transportation.

But, more recently, both nostalgia and performance have become hot trends with car buyers.

And that's where the new GTO comes in.

"We asked, `How do we rekindle the love affair that Americans had with GM when we had 50 percent market share?"' asked Mark Hogan, GM's group vice president for advanced vehicle development. "We looked back in the history and found that one of the things we did best was exciting, fun-to-drive muscle cars. Certainly, the GTO was one of the first of those."

So, starting in March 2002, engineers such as Himmelberg and Bob Reuter and their counterparts in Australia began turning that country's Monaro into this country's GTO.

In the end, it required 450 new parts, moving the gas tank in front of the rear axle and getting the vehicle to meet U.S. crash, emissions and cold-weather standards as the primary tasks.

And, getting it to sound right.

Early on, Himmelberg said, one of the Australian engineers rode with him. "She said, `This rumbling at idle. Don't you think we need to get rid of that?' I said, `Absolutely not. We want more of that."'

In the end, by adding resonators and changing "flow paths" of pipes and doing work to muffler and catalytic converters, he got the sound he wanted.

"It became almost like tuning an instrument," Himmelberg said. "You're going for a certain kind of harmony."

The final product is actually too loud to meet Australian noise pass-by standards, but it meets (barely) U.S. state and local limits and should please buyers.

To produce the new GTO so quickly, Hogan said, meant starting with a sound powertrain. This car has a 5.7-liter LS1 V-8 that's also used on the Corvette and is slightly revised from the one used in the Monaro. It produces 350 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 365 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm.

"Like the 1964 car, this vehicle more than anything was a powertrain program, like John DeLorean did back 40 years ago. We focused on making this car perform from a powertrain perspective like no other," said Reuter, vehicle chief engineer for GM's international and joint-venture programs.

On the road, this motor is a whooping, hollering joy to drive. GM lists 0 to 60 mph times of 5.3 seconds with the manual transmission - at $695, it's the only option available on the GTO - and 5.4 seconds with the four-speed automatic. (That standard shifter requires a $1,000 gas-guzzler penalty, too, because it does 16 mpg in city driving and 21 mpg on the highway, vs. 17 and 29 for the manual.)

For the record, the 1964 GTO had a 325-horsepower, 389-cubic-inch V-8 and a three-speed manual with a Hurst shifter.

One of the biggest problems, to me, is Pontiac's signature front end, with its dual-port grille, wide lights and low, integrated fog lights. I see the GTO and I think Grand Am, a cheap model that's frequently found in rental fleets.

Yes, all Pontiacs share this family resemblance, but what if the family isn't particularly good-looking?

Notably, while the three-letter GTO label gets liberal use here, only Pontiac's arrow symbol, but not its name, is found on the car.

"I think you're going to see us doing more of these global collaboration efforts," Gillespie said.

Hogan also mentioned GM-Brazil as a possible source of future U.S. products. Over the past 10 years, GM has been globalizing into one company, he said.

The new GTO is one result of that thinking. And it's a good one.

Full Article Here

Not likly Where are the hood scopes????????????? :blink: :bounce:
 

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Originally posted by hardywang+Mar 3 2004, 08:55 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (hardywang @ Mar 3 2004, 08:55 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Ming@Jan 14 2004, 02:29 PM
Its straight-line acceleration and mountain-curve handling...
is there any comparison between GTO and other same class cars, espaeically its handling.
I can find an official report of Grand Prix's GTP with CompG. I am looking for something similar. [/b][/quote]
Other then the Cobra, there isnt much out there to really out do the GTO in strait line and the curves.
 

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enough about the gto pontiac needs to bring back the firebirds is there any one here that feels the same way? dont get me wrong i think its good gm bringing back the gto but why cant we have the best of both worlds? <_< <_< :(
 
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