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Pontiac GTO (2004) -
Muscle From Downunder

Pontiac GTO cutaway - click to enlarge

With 350 horsepower, fully independent front and rear suspensions, and an exhaust note reminiscent of Pontiac's classic performance vehicles, the GTO was back--and Pontiac reintroduced the legend to a whole new generation of performance enthusiasts.

Reborn as a premium high-performance sports coupe with a balanced package of awesome power, nimble handling and passenger comfort, the 2004 GTO became the flagship of Pontiac's performance renaissance.

In keeping with Pontiac's contemporary styling direction, the GTO's exterior is smooth and sensuous. Sporting a standard rear spoiler, the vehicle has an aggressive stance accented by large wheels and tires. The prominent five-spoke wheel design evokes performance wheels of the past, while projector-beam headlamps, flanking a dual-port grille and large outboard fog lamps, place the GTO firmly in the Pontiac family.

Pontiac GTO cutaway - click to enlargeAn award-winning engine design, the LS1 provides a broad power band and plenty of low-rpm torque. The exhaust was tuned to give the GTO a distinctive sound and the available transmissions were geared to enhance the car's launch feel.

Pontiac estimates the 0-60 times of approximately 5.3 seconds and a quarter-mile run in about 13.8 seconds with the six-speed manual transmission.

Backing up that impressive power is a handling system tuned to deliver crisp performance. The fully independent suspension features MacPherson struts in front and a semi-trailing arm design in the rear, with specially tuned strut valving and spring rates. Direct-acting stabilizer bars and a variable ratio power steering system also are tuned to provide a sporty feel and increased driver feedback.

The drivetrain rides on a 109.8-inch wheelbase, with a low stance that enhances the wide track feel behind the wheel. The front track measures 61.4 inches and the rear track is 62.1 inches wide.

The GTO is based on the Holden Monaro and is built in Australia. By leveraging GM's global resources, approximately 100 engineers and support personnel in Australia and the United States developed the GTO in less than two years.

Pontiac GTO cutaway - click to enlargeTransforming the Monaro platform into the GTO required the conversion to federal and state requirements for items such as the headlamps, bumpers and fuel tank. To account for the United States' more varied climates, additional corrosion protection was added to more than 140 components. In all, the GTO has more than 450 unique components.

Engineers also had the task of making the car a true GTO. To that end, the LS1's horsepower was raised by almost 50 horsepower, the transmissions were revamped to provide quicker acceleration and a more aggressive launch feel, and new tires were selected specifically for all-season traction and superior handling dynamics.

A combination of high-technology refinement, global engineering and good old-fashioned ear tuning has ensured the dual exhaust system of the 2004 Pontiac GTO produces a legendary sound in a contemporary car - a rumbling, throaty exhaust note reminiscent of the classic original.

Pontiac GTO cutaway - click to enlargeMechanically, the exhaust system on the GTO consists of two completely independent exhaust paths that run from the manifolds to the outlet pipes, ensuring there is no mixture of exhaust gases. However, creating the necessary "voice" of the vehicle required much more than simple mechanics.

The Holden Monaro, on which the new GTO is based, didn't have the "sound" Pontiac needed. Throughout the development of the system, exhaust system engineers in opposite hemispheres worked extensively to ensure the new GTO carried all of the audible emotion and virtues associated with its legendary predecessor.

Early in the vehicle development process, engineers test-drove an original 1964 GTO on loan from the Pontiac historical collection to acquaint themselves with its acoustical traits.

At that point, GM engineers in Australia (where the new GTO is built) and North America worked diligently in a parallel effort to develop an exhaust system that delivered the desired sound and performance characteristics.

Through the efforts of engineers on two continents, a true dual exhaust system was developed and acoustically tuned like a finely crafted woodwind instrument, yet enables the heavy-breathing, low-back pressure needs of the LS1 V8 powerplant.

Using advanced exhaust modeling capabilities, literally dozens of math-based models were analyzed during system development to refine exhaust flow and detail paths in various components for desired tonal qualities.

However, the true test came down to what the exhaust note sounded like to the human ear, and the emotions it evoked.

General Motors 2005

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Pontiac GTO

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