Pontiac Bridges Past and Future Excitement With Concept GTO

Pontiac Bridges Past and Future Excitement With Concept GTO

DETROIT — Concept GTO pays homage to the world's original and greatest muscle car — the Pontiac GTO. It reinforces Pontiac's legendary performance and shows a possible future dimension of Pontiac Driving Excitement.

Future Driving ExcitementConcept GTO is a design study, an exploration of future possibilities. Students of automotive history will experience a sense of familiarity.

If GTO production had not ceased in 1974, it's highly conceivable future GTO models might have evolved to resemble Concept GTO.

Taut New Shapes New shapes that are taut and well-defined in a muscular way embody the concept of a modern GTO — features common to a chiseled bodybuilder or professional boxer.

All the shapes and lines of Concept GTO have a specific purpose which convey a sense of power, motion, and muscularity.

The prominent prow, peaked hood, and narrow headlights could be imagined in human terms as an iron-jawed, steely-eyed, don't-mess-with-me, Clint Eastwood-type character.

The way the lower body panels taper toward the back of the door and suddenly flare out to the massive wheels and tires leaves no doubt that power is flowing toward the rear wheels.

Concept GTO has an aggressive attitude that's readily apparent.

GTO Styling Cues Concept GTO is a unique car, but careful examination of its handsome lines suggests connections to past GTOs and current Pontiac styling cues. The side profile hints at the famous "Coke bottle" look introduced on '66/'67 GTOs and refined with '68/'69 models.

The shape of the rear quarter windows is reminiscent of the '68/'69 GTOs. A hood-mounted tachometer pod first appeared in 1967. Split grilles were a GTO mainstay, as well as a signature shape on many other Pontiacs. The two hood scoops are a Firebird/Trans Am cue and a logical extension of the '71/'72 GTO twin hood scoops.

The tapered, taillight/rear decklid treatment distinguished the 1966 GTO. Honeycomb wheels were optional on '71 and '72 GTOs, plus they were a long-time Firebird favorite. Large driving lights, bold body ribs, and Wide Track stance are seen on many 1999 Pontiacs like the Grand Prix and Grand Am.

The sum of all these styling cues is a thoroughly futuristic performance car that could only be a Pontiac.

Computerized ColorPast and present combined to produce the stunning orange hue on Concept GTO. The inspiration was the wild '69 GTO Judge color, Carousel Red (which was actually more of an orange with a red component).

A newer version of Carousel Red was the goal, so a color-generating computer program was used to explore possibilities. Then in-house paint specialists matched the color.

They succeeded in producing a brilliant, translucent orange with bright gold highlights.

Futuristic FeaturesEven though Concept GTO has expanded on traditional Pontiac characteristics, it is very much a new car, one that would be at home in the 21st century.

Large, 19-inch diameter front wheels, 20-inch rear wheels, and ultra-low profile, 40-series tires are a world apart from the 14-inch bias ply US Royal red line tires included in the original GTO option package.

The low stance, radically raked windshield, long wheelbase in relation to the body overhang, and almost vertical rear panel are futuristic touches. The use of massive disc brake rotors as both a safety and styling feature was unheard of thirty years ago.

Computer-Generated InteriorA computer-generated interior view suggests a 21st century cockpit. The intent was to make the interior as powerful looking as the exterior.

High-tech materials like billet aluminum emphasize the performance nature of Concept GTO. The center section of the dashboard is an extension of the hood and painted to match.

Large analog gauges befit the precision engineering image as does the console-mounted manual shifter. The use of a state-of-the-art Hurst six-speed shifter would optimize smoothness while honoring Hurst's contribution to the GTO image.

Aluminum pedals reinforce the high-performance look. Aluminum interior ribs echo the exterior and add a feeling of motion.

Potential ContentConcept GTO is a design model generated to create more excitement about Pontiac and to solicit consumer input on the content that a modern-day GTO needs to offer.

Practical PerformanceAs quick as the original GTOs were, they were still quite practical. Four or five passengers fit comfortably and the cavernous trunk had ample room for a pair of drag slicks, a floor jack, and the tools needed for a trip to "Drag City." Modern, high-performance street tires have superior traction capabilities, but Concept GTO still has a roomy trunk for whatever gear active people will want to carry in the next century.

A Young DesignerThe original GTO was a proven success before Jay Bernard, lead Concept GTO designer, was even born. Bernard isn't a misty-eyed traditionalist longing for "the good old days.

" He is a vibrant young designer who realizes that "the great new days" are right around the corner. He is respectful of Pontiac's proud heritage.

Design ProcessThe designers asked, "What would a contemporary GTO look like?" It was felt that a historical perspective would give a feeling for the elements that make classic GTOs muscle car icons. The design was not based on specific year GTOs.

The challenge was to create a vehicle with the GTO look, but also to capture the GTO essence.

Design SoftwareThe design of Concept GTO was achieved by using Alias software. The ability to transform computer-generated designs into a foam model gives designers a realistic feel for the car quickly and affordably. A full-scale model puts the design in perspective.

The process is similar to a three-dimensional sketch. Viewers can add their own perceptions to more accurately assess their reaction to the car. Obviously, the consensus of the GM Design Center is that Concept GTO is a great design study with outstanding potential.

Pontiac fully intends to take Driving Excitement firmly into the 21st century.

21st Century Driving ExcitementThe 1999 product lineup supports this goal, as do cars still on the drawing boards. The original GTOs made impressive contributions to Pontiac's performance heritage, and Concept GTO gives a glimpse of what future Pontiac Excitement might look like.

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