The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that an investigation into brake light issues on 2005 and 2006 Pontiac G6s has been upgraded to an engineering analysis.
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Automotive Hollywood icons battle it out
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature ‘Commute, Toy or Destroy’. But this week it’s different… very different.
Pontiac is defunct but General Motors might soon be facing ghosts of a brand past because an estimate 550,000 G6 cars are under a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation.
GM is adding roughly 400 jobs to its suburban campus in Pontiac, a suburb of Detroit, in an effort to speed development in the next phase of its propulsion development.
Canadian car thieves have an affinity for the ugly, or so it would seem based on recently released data.
Do you remember the Pontiac Aztek? It’s OK if you don’t, we smacked our heads against a brick wall over its design too. But its ugly looks haven’t stopped it from making number eight on the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s top 10 stolen cars list of 2011.
Specifically, it’s the 2001 four-wheel drive model, not that there’s a difference between the dumbly-designed SUV that ceased to exist, much like it’s manufacturer.
Just to recap, we’re talking about an SUV with a 3.4-liter V6 making 185 horsepower. It weighs 3,779 lbs and gets a miserable 16/23 mpg city/highway, oh and has a face a mother couldn’t even love.
Why anyone would bother stealing this scrap heap is beyond us, especially considering the fact that there are plenty of perfectly easy-to-steal Cadillac Escalades out there that fetch a much better resale value.
That’s the one good thing we can say for the Aztek, if it get’s stolen you’re only out a couple grand. Heck, those thieves probably did you a favor by towing it free of charge.
Having just 158-miles on the odometer, this 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge hasn’t a single flaw and with an asking price of just $49,900, we can’t even complain about its price.
The numbers-matching GTO Judge was restored to better than showroom condition and was expertly detailed with a Judge stripe package – which can be removed if the buyer wants a pure OEM look. The 1970 GTO has an original WS 400 powerplant that has been rebuilt to Ram Air III specifications. That means it now packs 365-hp and 455 lb-ft of torque out of its fully-tuned V8. It has even turned the quarter mile in a respectable 14.60-seconds at 99.55-mph – though we feel like it has a bit more in it than that.
The restoration process was as thorough as it could get, with the car’s body having been stripped down to bare metal and made as smooth as possible. It was then blasted with a coat of Pontiac Orbit Orange, clear coated, buffed and shined to near flawless condition. Judge graphics are located throughout the classic, while the interior has also been completely redone with black vinyl.
Check out a video of the GTO Judge after the break.
GALLERY: 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge
[Source: RK Motors]
In a follow-up to the world’s cleanest retro Camaro we’ve ever seen, up for sale is the world’s cleanest Pontiac Trans Am. This 1978 Trans Am is a Gold Special Edition model, restored from the frame up and has only 11,237 miles on it. Asking price? A rather steep $45,900 – but as you can tell, a lot of work has gone into this restoration.
In 2009, the vehicle was sold to its second owner, who commissioned Tom Fischer of Muscle Car Alley to do a complete frame-off rotisserie restoration. Paired with its straight, original body, the only new parts added at that time was a new tail panel and new quarter panel. Once the bodywork was completed, the vehicle was sprayed GM’s Solar Gold making it as beautiful as ever.
Under the hood of the Gold Special Edition Trans Am is the original 400-cubic inch V8, upgraded with a mild cam swap helping it make 300-hp. As expected, everything under the hood is immaculate and pristine, including the GM satin black paint found in the bay. The interior matches the rest of the package, with a uniquely retro blend of Camel Tan upholstery with Special Edition Trans Am gold trim.
Each corner features a restored 15-inch Special Edition wheel finished in an exclusive gold snowflake. A huge collection of documents will come with the vehicle’s sale including the car’s original build sheet, an original order acknowledgement sheet, a two page original window sticker, original purchase invoice, original owner’s manual and warranty book, maintenance records, ownership history, restoration photos and a stack of restoration receipts.
GALLERY: 1978 Pontiac Trans Am Gold Special Edition
[Source: RK Motors]
The notice comes after General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that airbags in 1,798 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans manufactured between June 2, 2011 and October 17, 2011 have faulty airbag systems that fail in their second stage during a severe frontal crash.
This isn’t the first time this year that GM issued recalls related to their airbag systems. Earlier this month we reported on an airbag recall for the Pontiac G8 after it came to light that many of the vehicles had issues with late deployment.
Owners can expect a call later this month when the recall begins if they own a qualifying vehicle.
[Source: Left Lane News]
One of only 5,700 1980 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo Pace cars is up for sale, in mint condition and clearly a nice collectible. It sports only 11,285-miles on the odometer with an asking price of $29,900 – which is a killer deal for any classic car collector. The Turbo Pace Car was built to commemorate the first time one car paced both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 in the same year.
Under the hood is a turbocharged 301 V8 with 236-hp and 345 lb-ft of torque, and like the rest of the car has been untouched. Maintenance was done on the vehicle from 1980 all the way to 2011, with the only major restoration that was done recently was a fresh paint job of GM Cameo White. All body panels are original and straight, and the Oyster interior features optional doeskin vinyl with hobnail cloth inserts, all of which are in excellent condition.
Check out a video showcasing this beauty after the break.
GALLERY: 1980 Trans Am Turbo Pace Car
[Source: RK Motors Charlotte]
The Pontiac G8, the brand’s last hurrah before GM completely discontinued its operations, is now subject to recall due too concerns regarding the front passenger air bag module.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the air bags may suffer from a possible delay in airbag deployment at the moment of a collision, causing it to fail compliance with federal standards for head injury protection.
GM aims to reprogram the sensing and diagnostic controls of the airbag. To date, no injuries have been reported as a result to the delay and malfunction.
Fears that General Motors would lose former buyers of Pontiac vehicles to other brands appear to be unfounded, according to the latest data from Edmunds.
While the controversial axing of the Pontiac brand led to fears that GM would lose former customers of the brand, data shows that nearly 40 percent of Pontiac customers opted for another GM vehicle in 2011, up from 31.7 percent in 2010. Chevrolet seems to be the most popular brand for former Pontiac owners, with nearly 28 percent opting for a Chevy. Brands like Ford, Honda and Toyota have conquest rates well under 10 percent each, proving that imports haven’t been such a draw for this demographic.
[Source: Edmunds Auto Observer]
Paul Teutul’s Hurst Edition Trans Am is already up for sale with only 100-miles on the odometer with a ridiculous price tag of $125,000. Clearly there’s a price to pay for a vehicle that was once in the hands of a celebrity. The Kevin Morgan-designed Trans Am is a reworked 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS sporting a body transformation and new paint scheme, along with Hurst’s standard conversion modifications.
The extensive list of modifications include an Eibach spring kit and anti-roll kit, 20-inch Forged T6 6061 Hurst Deep Dish wheels on all four corners with Pirelli P-Zero rubber, RTM OE-style Shaker hood, functional air intake Shaker scoop, flanged drop fender extractors, RIM urethane front and rear bumpers, three-piece rear spoiler, new side skirts, Xenon HID quad headlights, new fog lights, front running lights, LED brake and taillights, LED custom turn signals and parking lights, a Hurst shifter, custom sill plates, and hurst decal package. Under the hood is a supercharger for the LS3 V8 while the interior is completely decked out with gold-and-black 1970s-themed interior.
Worth the price tag? We’ll leave that up to you.
GALLERY: 2011 Hurst Edition Pontiac Trans Am – Paul Teutul Collection
A 1939 Pontiac Deluxe Six often referred to as the Ghost Car is to be auctioned July 30 at the RM Auctions St John’s sale in Plymouth, Michigan. This unusual car’s exterior is made of Plexiglas body panels making it transparent. Plexiglas was a relatively new material in 1939, and supplier Rohm & Hass replicated each of the car’s body panels by hand.
Interior structural metal parts were copper washed and other parts including the dashboard were chrome plated. Rubber moldings and tires were manufactured in white, adding to the cars ghostly appearance. The ghost car featured an 85-hp six cylinder engine coupled to a three-speed manual transmission, has four-wheel drum brakes and the odometer reads 86 miles. In 1939 the Pontiac Deluxe Six cost $25,000, which is $397,000 when adjusted for inflation. The pre- auction estimate is somewhere between $275,000 and $475,000.
GALLERY: 1939 Pontiac Deluxe Six
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Want a free ride? Raybestos has built one serious 1964 Pontiac GTO, sporting 700-hp and hitting 128-mph down the quarter mile on street legal tires. The one-of-a-kind barely street legal custom was fabricated to look amazing and haul ass. The result speaks for itself, and now Raybestos is handing over the keys to one lucky winner who enters the sweepstakes on their website from now until September 15th.
Also on the website are a ton of videos documenting and showcasing the brilliant minds behind the build. All of the progress of the ’64 GTO is complemented by commentary from build partners and performance parts suppliers. You’ll also get a chance to watch the barely street legal Goat get driven down the quarter mile by NHRA Top Fuel driver Clay Millican at Great Lakes Dragway in Wisconsin.
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to www.raybestosgarage.com and enter today.
Assembling 587 Camaros in a parking lot across the street from where the current fifth-generation model is built, General Motors Canada set a Guinness World Record for the largest car mosaic. OK, technically speaking the record has yet to be confirmed by the folks at Guinness but they’re probably just out having a pint, and when they get back from an extra-long Friday lunch the mosaic (a Chevy bowtie no less), is certain to oust Volkswagen Brazil’s 413 car mosaic, spelling out “Gol” – to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that car.
The gathering of so many Camaros is part of the Camaro Homecoming, organized by GM Canada and the Ontario Camaro Club to help celebrate the car’s 45th anniversary, as well as the 23rd annual Ontario Camaro Nationals. Drawing owners from across that country to the Oshawa, Ontario plant, owners arrived from all over the U.S as well, with plenty driving from Michigan, as well as from as far away as New Orleans and Texas.
Running all weekend, GM opened up the Camaro plant to attendees today, and estimated that they expect from 5,000 to 6,000 individuals to take part in the tour over the course of the day.
Browse through our gallery of photos from the meet today, showing many of the cars from the mosaic, as well as numerous other special edition models and concepts.
GALLERY: Ontario Camaro Nationals
GALLERY: Camaro Plant Tour
In his book, “Car guys versus Bean Counters,” the indomitable Bob Lutz talks about many things relating to General Motors. He talks about how the company is now on track, giving credit to former CEO Ed Whitacre and his replacement Dan Akerson.
He talks about how the company went from being obsessed with numbers and statistics, to building quality cars and trucks as its number one priority.
And he also talks about the passing of GM’s late, lamented brands, Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac. While Hummer is described as being the target of left-wing activists and politically viewed as the automotive anti-Christ, even though to quote Lutz himself “an H2 doesn’t burn any more fuel than a V12 Mercedes,” he says it was too bad that Saturn didn’t make it, because GM had given the division it’s best ever lineup, with offerings like the Aura sedan and Astra hatchback.
As for Pontiac, it’s this one that he laments the most. Not only did GM’s sporty division already boast a great lineup with cars like the G8 and the Solstice, but before the decision was taken to shutter the brand, Pontiac was also working on another sporty, rear drive offering, likely based off the Alpha platform.
Unfortunately, now we’ll never know what could have emerged from the Arrowhead division and that’s just too bad. As Lutz says, “Pontiac was virtually destroyed by the fact that we had a new head of Pontiac division about every eight months, and every head had a brand-new idea for its product direction.”
Perhaps a sign of what could have been, we’re reminded of an incredible looking Pontiac coupe design model (above) that we recently stumbled upon at GM’s North Hollywood Design Studio. How cool would that have been?
[Source: Ward's Auto World]
Outspoken curmudgeon and former GM badass-in-charge Bob Lutz has been popping up from retirement, serving as a consultant to General Motors and Lotus. And his former company’s bankruptcy restructuring left the company “in good hands,” he said.
Speaking at a conference, Lutz said that the outsiders who served as CEO and CFO during the two-year restructuring had “no history of running the auto industry in the U.S. the wrong way.” And, he continued, it included the elimination of the four brands from the mothership: Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn, and Saab.
“It was the environmental anti-Christ,” Lutz admitted about Hummer. Saab was a drain on resources and only appealed to university professors, while Saturn was a sales disappointment. But—as he spoke like a true car guy—Pontiac was the one ”I personally regret went away,” said Lutz.
There’s only one solution, Lutz: screaming chickens on all future Loti.
Trans Am Depot is outfitting the new Camaro with a Pontiac conversion kit, turning the Camaro into the a modern GTO Judge. Trans Am Depot’s work is called the “6T9 Goat” because of messy copyright issues. The car will come with a bespoke front end with its own split grille as well as a revised hood with air scoops, a new tail lamp, a restyled trunk with a small rear wing, quad tail pipes, and new alloy rims complete the look. This kit car may not appeal to everyone however if you are a fan of the 1969 GTO Judge, a modern day version of the car will soon be available.
[Source: Top Speed]
The Holden Commodore Ute has had more false starts in the United States than Elizabeth Taylor has had marriages, but rising gas prices might give General Motors an impetus to import the Ute as a pickup alternative at a time when high gas prices are making large trucks economically unfeasible.
Mark Reuss, GM’s head of North American operations, said that the Ute may be an important product if fuel prices compel pickup buyers to downsize from full-size trucks to more efficient but equally versatile vehicles. ’I've lived in Australia and I’ve seen where fuel prices are $5 a gallon and lots of tradesmen will use a ute with a tray on the back to do lots of different things, and they don’t need the bandwidth of a big pick-up truck,’ he told Australia’s Drive.
Reuss also said that no decision would come until the next generation Commodore in 2014, and that the pickup truck market in the States was still strong enough to continue with current offerings. General Motors planned to offer the Ute as a Pontiac vehicle, but those plans were shuttered in the wake of the 2009 recession.
Easily the best thing to come out of the now-defunct Pontiac brand in recent memory was the G8 sports sedan – based on the Australian Commodore. Not only was it an impressive performance machine, but it gave North America a taste of just how good a job Holden is doing down under.
Looking to satisfy that appetite, General Motors will reportedly re-introduce the rear-drive sedan in 2013 as a 2014 model year car. According to GMInsideNews, internal documents regarding the development of the car (code named ‘SS Sedan’) now have it listed as an approved program.
Delayed several times, the new launch date is designed to follow with the introduction of a new Commodore in Australia.
With the Pontiac brand now gone and no indication from General Motors to revive it, look for a Chevy bowtie to grace the grille of this new rear-drive machine.
Less certain, but not entirely ruled out, are the introduction of two additional Commodore-based models for North America: the Holden Ute (El Camino?) and Holden Commodore SportWagon. The future of these two vehicles depends on the success of the sedan, as well as the effect of rising gas prices on the buying habits of consumers.
Ever wonder where Pontiac owner’s are going shopping for new cars since the brand folded? Honestly, we hadn’t, until this new study came to our attention.
According to a study by Polk Automotive, most of them are staying loyal to General Motors. An astonishing 53.3% have come back to buy another GM product, with Chevrolet getting the biggest piece of the come-back pie. To be more precise, 33.5% defected to Chevrolet, 11.7% defected to GMC, 6.7% defected to Buick and 1.5% defected to Cadillac.
That is pretty impressive indeed and shows people who actually bought their cars were happy with what they got.
Some customers have wandered off to other brands though, particularly towards Japanese brands such as Toyota and Honda. Given the recall problems some of these foreign brands recently dealt with, there is a big chance some of those customers might return to buy another car from the General.