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GTO Is Pontiac's Muscle Car Redux

July 03, 2002|Terril Yue Jones

The sinewy lines and "rocket-sled" performance General Motors Corp. is claiming for its upcoming GTO muscle car are meant to put some life back into a Pontiac division whose sales have stumbled 3.7% this year.

The GTO, scheduled to return to the U.S. market late next year after a 29-year hiatus, will have a 5.7-liter V8 version of the Chevrolet Corvette engine that is expected to pump out in the neighborhood of 350 horsepower.

Here's a first look at a sketch released recently by GM. The car, to be priced at $30,000 to $35,000, will be a modified version of the Monaro, built by GM's Australian subsidiary, Holden.

In the spirit of muscle over practicality, GM will allow the GTO to be subject to the gas-guzzler tax. It will be the first GM car since the Cadillac Allante in 1994 to be slapped with the tariff, levied on passenger cars with a combined city and highway fuel rating of less than 22.5 miles per gallon.

"For a car to be credible, accepted as a rebirth of the rear-drive American muscle car, it has got to have that rocket-sled acceleration," GM product development guru Robert A. Lutz was quoted by the industry publication Automotive News as saying last month in Germany.

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