Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Automotif CDXXX...

Auto exec Bob Lutz is a certified Car Guy. When he was head of product development at Chrysler, he helped bring the Viper to the showroom floor largely unchanged from the wild, bare-bones show car. When he went to GM, he tried to get the Holden Monaro, a front-engine RWD V8 performance coupe built by GM Australia, imported to the US as a revived Pontiac GTO.

Unfortunately, by the time the project came to fruition, the Aussie dollar was a lot stronger and the GTO, which had originally been priced to go head-to-head against the Mustang GT, was now ten grand more than the Original Pony Car when it hit showroom floors as a 2004 model. Dealer hype premium markups for early models pushed the street price dangerously close to Corvette territory.

Overpriced and undersold, the Monaro-based GTO sank without a ripple after the 2006 model year.

But that wasn't the end of GM Australia cars in the U.S. market.

Pontiac imported the Holden Commodore sedan, also rear wheel drive, starting in 2008, as a replacement for the discontinued Bonneville and Grand Prix. Alas, it only lasted through the 2009 model did Pontiac itself.

Dubbed the G8, it could be had in base, GT, or GXP flavors. The latter two could be had with snarly V-8 motors and manual transmissions, while the base model...couldn't.

The red taillight lenses on the one in the picture say it's a base model Pontiac G8, which has the GM corporate DOHC 3.6L V-6 rated at 256hp driving the rear wheels through a five speed automatic transmission. The paint color, Sport Red Metallic, marks it as a 2009 model.

Despite outmuscling my '98 Z3 2.8 and '94 Mustang 5.0 GT under the hood, it's not as quick as either. Car & Driver could only get a seven second 0-60 run out of the base G8, and a mid-15 second quarter. Those would have been big sports sedan 1992. In 2004, though, the air dam and those hood scoops on the base G8 are writing checks the drivetrain can't cash, largely because the curb weight is only about a good trunkful of groceries shy of four thousand pounds.