With the advent of Firebirds and even GTOs being built out of fifth-generation Camaros, it seems like Pontiac is the one marque that just won’t stay dead. Enthusiasts cannot seem to let go of the iconic brand, and most of them support the idea of new Pontiac-inspired machines coming to market. We support it, too, because it gives us some new cars to write about and keeps the flames burning for our beloved nameplate.
In that spirit, we have enlisted the artistic talents of Ted Alexander to help give us some glimpses of What If? that might have had turned things around for Pontiac. We expect this to become a new series, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions for more Pontiacs that never were. Perhaps it will inspire some new and interesting builds.
With its aggressive exterior package, it no doubt would have created a sensation, perhaps even more than the Can Am did.
This month, we are starting things off with a Colonnade-era imagination teaser. What if the GTO was resurrected on the A-body platform for the ’77 model year? As many of you know, the GTO moved from the A-body LeMans to the X-body Ventura platform for ’74 and was discontinued at the end of that model year.
Had the GTO been developed into a new-generation performance car for ’77, with the image to back up the performance, an upgraded visual package would have been necessary. Ted comes to the rescue with a nose that is part ’77 LeMans and part ’69 Judge, with hideaway headlamps, an Endura bumper, and revised front-valance panel with a small chin spoiler.
We see the NACA hood that made production, accented with fender-gill accents, a simulated brake-cooling scoop that covered the quarter windows, and exhaust splitters.
Moving from the production design, we see a wrap-around taillamp treatment with Trans Am-style exhaust splitters. Custom gold-toned aluminum wheels would have added a distinct late ’70s flavor. Inside, the bucket seats could have been upholstered in a pattern that recalled the GTOs of years past, perhaps with a Rally Gauge cluster; and a Hurst shifter would be a must—a T-handled version for four-speeds and a Dual-Gate for automatics.
Inside, the bucket seats could have been upholstered in a pattern that recalled the GTOs of years past.
While it is almost a given that the performance of a ’77 GTO would mirror the production ’77 Can Am, the addition of a four-speed manual transmission and a set of 3.42 gears could have been a huge boost to the image of the returning champion. Also, the reintroduction of the GTO nameplate could well have been enough to inspire a number of aftermarket tuners to develop packages that would step up the performance of the T/A 6.6 400 to way above the stock 220-horse level. No doubt the simplest and perhaps most effective upgrade would have been the addition of an H-O Racing Turboforce kit, which would have boosted the 400’s net power well past the one-horse-per-cube mark.
Would the ’77 GTO have been a strong seller? It’s hard to say, but with its aggressive exterior package, it no doubt would have created a sensation, perhaps even more than the Can Am did. It may have cannibalized some sales from the Trans Am, but it no doubt would have made its mark and would be a very collectible car today.
Please send your ideas for What If? to email@example.com