The Ultimate Pontiac GTO Picture Site
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CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Here's the interior in one of the 2004 GTOs that was present for comparison. This one had a cool aftermarket Pioneer navigation system screen in the center. The instrumentation in the GTO is simple-looking, yet it tells the driver a lot. The integrated driver information center located below the instrument cluster includes readouts for average speed, average miles per gallon, trip odometer, trip time remaining, trip distance remaining, fuel used and instant fuel mileage. Theres even a stopwatch feature and a user-programmable overspeed alarm.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] We are following the red 2004 GTO in a 2005 GTO. The interiors of new GTOs are especially well put-together. The look and feel of the materials is outstanding. It's the kind of interior you'd be comfortable sitting (living?) in for many hours at a time. In this photo, you can see the different gauge font and redline values for 2005 GTOs. Compare with this shot of the 2004 Gauges. The 2005 redline is at 6,500 RPM. The displacement of the standard LS2 6.0L engine is 364ci. It has electronic sequential port fuel injection. Maximum power (SAE) is 400hp at 5200rpm. Maximum torque is 400ft-lb at 4400rpm. The compression ratio is 10.9:1 . Cylinder bore is 4.00 inches with a cylinder stroke of 3.62 inches.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] There were some spectators in the pits. Hey! Wake Up! That's a 2005 GTO screaming around the track. As you can see, the Bondurant facility is in a desert area with beautiful mountains on the horizon.
In case you didn't already know, the GTO has been an Australian import since 2004. Pontiac would hope that you forget that fact, explaining that we live in a smaller world than ever, made even smaller by the internet. During development, Pontiac's USA staff worked with Australian-based designers on the car through videoconferencing technology into its own division called Holden. The GTO assembly line is in Elizabeth, Australia where the Holden Monaro is manufactured. Both cars are built on Holden's Commodore sedan chassis having design roots dating back to the early 90's. Here's a new twist, though. This "news flash" just in: Industry journal Automotive News says GM is considering moving future GTO production to Michigan. That is already causing a stir down under. The Sydney Herald newspaper's "Drive" section had a headline on the subject warning "HANDS OFF OUR MONARO!". If GTO and Monaro assembly duties were moved to the USA, it seems that Australian car fans would take it personally.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] This is Rhys Millen's 2004 GTO drift car. Rhys (on the right) is getting out to check the condition of the tires before doing another wild drifting demonstration. His car has a special front bumper. It has in-laid carbon fiber accents on the front "mouth" and lip giving the GTO an aggressive high performance look. It is made from a fiberglass/carbon fiber mix for strength. Available as a $700 retail kit from RMR (Rhys Millen Racing), it uses all factory mounting points and involves no other modification to the car. The kit comes with steel mesh for upper and lower openings.
Rhys Millen (you might know him as the serious tire-smokin drifting guy) gave me the full tour of the west 1.1 mile road course. It was a thrill riding in his racer that burns 110 octane gas and sounds like it's breathing fire. Did Rhys do some drifting with me in the car? You bet! The rubber was burning as we did some figure 8's. The car has more than enough power to propel its riders sideways down the asphalt. Right after the excessively fun smokin tire episode, the car had to be driven back to the Bondurant garage for a fresh set of tires. Wonder why. This car uses Yokohama tires. They are ES100s 275x35 18 rears and 235x40 18 front.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Although I've seen this car displayed at several Pontiac events this year, this is the first time I've seen the hood off. Let's approach for a closer look at the hood. It's called a Banshee Ram Air Hood and is available from RMR as well for a $749 retail price. It follows the traditional look of a dual inlet ram air system and incorporates functional heat extractors. The low profile ram air inlets allow for cooler air to enter the airbox, increasing performance. The louvered heat extractors allow underhood heat to escape, helping to keep the engine bay cooler. This fiberglass hood weighs about 25% less than a stock steel hood. It utilizes the factory hood latch, safety latch and support struts.
After the Millen drifting car came back from getting a new set of tires, things got squirrely. Track owner Bob Bondurant got the chance to drive the drifting car. He may be an older guy, but it's obvious he enjoys some hot laps. All you have to do is mention the word "drifting" and he's all smiles. Mr Bondurant did some laps around the training track, sideways. The tire smoke was heavy at times when the rubber was happily screaming off the Yokohamas. Then the sideshow started. Bob and Rhys both hit the track in separate cars for some up-close drift driving. GTO against GTO. It looked like a friendly head-to-head drifting competition for a while. I'm not sure who eventually "won", because it was my turn to go drive one of the special red 2004 drifting cars on the skidpad.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] The engine in the Millen GTO drift car. This car does not wear the standard plastic valve cover "covers".
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Another shot of the GTO Drift Engine. This car sure does make a lot of power.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Rhys Millen's 2004 GTO drift car - Drifting! You can study this series of photos to learn how to go around a turn at high speed. Look at the sequence of photos from left to right. First, look at the direction the front wheels are turning. This is part of the key. Rhys has got the back end sliding around while he gives it a lot of gas. The front wheels are turned to the RIGHT to make this lefthand turn around the curve. In the 2nd frame, he stays with it. The rear tires are smoking as they are sliding across the asphalt. The front tires are rolling along the track slower than the back end of the car is moving. In the 3rd frame, the momentum from the back of the car has caught up, so the car is now positioned to head down the straightaway. This series of photos was made earlier in the year. Notice how the car did not have the special hood with scoops on it then. Here is a good video of Rhys drifting in competition. It is from the "Formula D" finals at Irwindale, California which was held in the summer of 2004. The video file is a WMV format and should play in your Windows Media Player.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Torrid Red 2004 driving school drifting car. Those look like 18 inch wheels.
Aided by one of the capable driving instructors at the Bondurant school, I learned how to slide a car sideways around a curve as long as possible. Drifting, you know. The first practice session was with a figure-8 made of orange cones on a skidpad. This is fun. When approaching the curve, you're winding out 2nd gear for a little while, then you turn the wheel quickly to the left and pull the emergency brake hard. That throws the rearend out and around the top of the curve. Just before the car starts slowing down, you take off the emergency brake and give the car way too much gas. The satisfying sideways slide continues for a while, but never seems like long enough. Gotta try that again, and again, and again! The next lesson was a wider curve on the skidpad at higher speed. Too fun. I made a bunch of passes, drifting further each time. A passenger in the backseat seemed happy, shouting "Sean, you're a drifting fool!" I didn't tell them I'd been drifting my own (and my parent's cars) since 1982. Back then, some drifting experience was gained while sliding through iced-over parking lots in Indiana winters just for fun. By the way, don't try this at home. The emergency brake levers on these GTOs had been specially modified so they wouldn't lock into position when pulled all the way up.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Cool car, check out the graphics. The wording on the other side of the drifting car is in reverse. The sport of drifting was first developed in Japan. It combines extreme driving skill with flair and artistry as drivers negotiate a complicated course at high speeds while in a controlled slide. In a competition, there are both solo qualifying runs and head-to-head runs. Each event is judged on execution and style rather than speed, similar to skateboarding and freestyle motocross. It takes a little practice to get the hang of it. It was a blast to learn from qualified performance driving instructors on a wet skidpad.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] At this point the 2005 GTO test driving is basically over. Here's the final shot from the track. Pictured are Bob Bondurant, Sean Mattingly, and Rhys Millen standing next to the 2004 Torrid Red driving school drift car.
I concluded that the new 2005 GTO had made some modest gains in the looks department. It's made some more impressive gains in the performance department. The future is looking brighter for this car that is based on a classic musclecar name. Could this modern-day GTO kick your classic GTO's ass? You bet it could. Let's count up a few things the new GTO has that old GTO's didn't. Standard air conditioning, the ear-shattering 200-watt audio system with 6-disc CD changer, life-saving airbags, console with two cupholders, 8-way adjustable seats, theft and content deterrent system. Not to mention this car sticks to the road like no teetering '64 goat ever could. If you want to make your everyday commutes to work a joyride, this car is for you. Would I personally buy one? No, not just yet. I'm waiting to see if the 2007-or-so styling change will make the car look more like a classic with character. I'm not the only person waiting for some changes! Automotive journalists the world over have complained that the current bodystyle is reminiscent of "bar of soap" cars we've seen over and over again since 1992. The beauty of this car is in the powertrain and handling. A J.D. Power & Associates study found that '04 GTO owners were happier while "inside looking out", not necessarily thrilled with the looks of the car. GM's Bob Lutz did have a great idea of bringing a rear-wheel drive performer to the USA to sell. It needs more development, but does seem to be catching on with the tuner crowd. You probably saw much evidence of that while browsing the 2004 SEMA show coverage. Hey, the tuner crowd is good for business too. There is positive news for performance enthusiasts, as the aftermarket industry is gearing up fast. Every day there are more and more new performance parts being manufactured to fit this car. Right now, there are plenty of new (2004) GTOs at dealers to pick from. So many, in fact, that production numbers for the car will be downwardly revised for '05. Reports say that GM will cut factory GTO orders by about 30% for 2005.
A word about availability and pricing. If you want a 2005 GTO, you'll likely have to wait until January for delivery. Finance rates aren't too bad right now. Last time I checked, GM BuyPower was offering 5.9 percent interest with no cash allowance. Thinking about buying one of the plentiful 2004 GTO's off a dealer's lot? The GM interest rates are pretty good. You'll pay 0.9% for a 36 month loan. Or 1.9% for 48 months. Or just 2.9% for 60 months. Plus there's a nice $3,500 cash allowance. Prices on remaining '04s are predicted to fall dramatically in the summertime.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Here are some bonus shots. Have a look around the administration building at the Bondurant facility, I discovered their wall of fame. The training facility has long attracted celebrities. There were signed photos on the walls with actor James Garner, actor James Brolin, actor Paul Newman, actor Jason Priestley, talk show host Jay Leno, racer John Force, racer Dale Earnhardt, racer Dan Gurney, composer John Williams, athlete Bruce Jenner, racer Parnelli Jones, actor Gene Hackman, and many others.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] James Garner trained with Bob Bondurant for the making of a movie. Bob was the trainer and camera car driver.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Another view of the "wall of fame". All these famous people have been to the school or trained with Bob Bondurant. The school maintains a fleet of fast cars for training. There are the 2004 drifting GTOs, Corvette C-5 and Z-06, SVT Cobras and Mustang GTs, Cadillac CTS, and Formula cars. Not to mention all the go-karts.
The school does have a GTO drifting class. Here are the details from the Bondurant website....
Vehicle: Pontiac GTO
The (2004) GTO is back, and Bondurant's got it. 350 hp 365 lb-ft. of torque. An all aluminum V8 that launches from 0 to 60 in 5.3 seconds matched with a six-speed transmission. Ultimate car control is the core of this hot new sport and Bondurant delivers with 80% seat time, 3 to 1 student to instructor ratio, individual student vehicles, skid cars, and the best racing instructors in the industry! The amount of seat time you get at Bondurant is many times more than you'd expect at this price. Be at the forefront of the sport and get signed up now!
Concentration & Smoothness
High Speed Skid Control (Including: Understeer, Oversteer and Transitional Weight Management)
Awareness, Anticipation & Vision
Hand, Foot & Seating Position
Tire Contact Patch
Under steer, Over steer
Day One Registration, Introduction & Tour, Throttle Steer & Slalom, Ground School, Lunch, Slalom and Forward 180s, Accident Avoidance, Skid Car Training, Forward 180s Wet
Day Two Ground School, Skid Car Training, Oval, Shift, BT, Lunch, Ground School, Drift Corner, Maricopa Oval Drift Exercise
Graduation. The Course Schedule and Content is subject to change and was current on their website listed as of 2/9/2004.
CLICK-> [an error occurred while processing this directive] Arrowhead Performance of Phoenix had their 2004 Yellow Jacket 2004 there to show off their modifications. They added side exhausts and a body kit since last we saw it.
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