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Return of the GreaT  One Posted 5/3/02, updated 5/22/02
Expect to see prototypes of the new 2004 GTO this winter. GM is busily working on styling choices for the Australian Holden Monaro so it can become our USA GTO.   Hopefully, they will get a real big clue and listen to us GTO enthusiasts about what we want.

Meanwhile, an upcoming May 13th Forbes Magazine article is pointing out some "mechanical lapses" with the platform. They say the existing Australian car suffers from failing engines, erratic transmissions and bad brake lights. GM will, of course, make sure the GTO is up to snuff. The Forbes article goes on to point out problems with other cars that have been imported to the U.S. by U.S. automakers. Troubled examples are the Merkur Scorpio (Germany), Mercury Capri (Australia), and the Cadillac Catera (Germany).

Since the March, 2002 announcement of a new GTO by Robert Lutz, interest in the car has been running high.   In particular, visits to this web site have been increasing. Many emails have been received from people that want to know more about the new GTO. There are many more first-time visitors. This site got 4.7 million hits in April alone. People continue to send in comments about what the new GTO should be like. Some have indicated a willingness to buy a new GTO if the price is reasonable. I predict that GM will advertise the new GTO very little. This is due to the fact that the car will only see limited production. First of all, the Australians are nuts about the car, buying every single one that can be manufactured. Seems like the USA would be in line behind them, hoping for 20,000 cars to be imported to the States. One Australian who lives in the city where the cars are manufactured, predicted that the USA demand for the car could not be met unless the factory tooling for the car was shipped to the USA. If the car does get advertised in the USA, look for TV spots showing quick flashes of classic GTO's mixed with shots of the new GTO.   Ford used the same smart strategy when they brought back the Mustang several years ago. Their ads featured striking views of the original Mustangs sitting next to the modern Mustang. The car captured the attention of old-time Mustang enthusiasts because Ford kept some visual cues the same such as the prominent decorative side scoops and a similar grille shape. Another reason I think the GTO will not be hyped in ads is the small return on investment. Don't expect the new GTO to be a big moneymaker for GM. In the first quarter of this year, their biggest gains have been due to stronger sales in more profitable SUV's and trucks.

Keep checking back for the latest news and rumors on the return of "the GreaT One"...

New blood.  Or no new blood?
One thing is for sure, GTO clubs across the country should start considering if they will admit the 2004 version of the GTO into their ranks. With an already aging membership, clubs are in need of some new blood. The smart clubs will see the potential benefits of setting aside show spaces and special judging classes for GM's new version of the GTO. Some enthusiasts are already predicting an exciting "Judge" package for the 2005 model. Also, think of the market for add-on accessories that will surely be sold. Many current classic GTO parts vendors may be adding new Holden GTO performance goodies to their offerings.

Driving impressions from a European and Italian car enthusiast
I received an email from an Australian who has driven some Monaros.   He says:

The car is astounding for a start. The 5.7 motor is very responsive and the exhaust note is different to the standard Commodore/Statesman 5.7 exhaust.  The rear wheel drive is far better in this type of car than Front wheel drive but all vehicles are fitted with traction control that can be switched on and off.   The tyres are 17" and very low profile but will no doubt be changed for U.S. market.   At first I was dubious and cynical about the Monaro, thinking it would be just a 2 door Commodore, but the car has a classic quality of its own. It is a genuine sports car and coming from me, very cynical, is a lot.   Have a look at the HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) website to see what the Holden performance arm has done to Monaro

A rebuttal of sorts from a Monaro factory worker
I have received a May 9th email from a man who works at the Elizabeth plant in South Australia.   He disputes the quality issues mentioned in this months Forbes Magazine.  Since he is not an official spokesman for the company, I have removed his name and email from this article on May 22 at his request.   In summary, he said that the engines and transmissions have not been a problem.   The Monaros are checked out quite thoroughly after the assembly process.   He went on to say that there were NO problems with the brake lights on Monaros.

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