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Reaction to the 6/20/02 GTO design sketch -
Oh, No! Posted 6/23/02

On 6/20/02, Pontiac unveiled a design sketch of the new 2004 GTO which will be based on the Holden Monaro.   Pontiac fans have been excited about the re-introduction of the GTO, with its anticipated performance features.   But they have been very vocal about shortcomings in the styling department.   They feel the car looks too vanilla, too plain, not like a GTO should look.   Bill Lovejoy, General Motors Corp. Vice President for Sales, Service and Marketing unveiled a sketch of the new design Thursday to an "Oh No!" reaction from classic GTO enthusiasts around the country.

Classic GTO enthusiasts number in the millions.   They are quick to point out that there are many GTO-like features missing from the proposed design.   The hood scoops, a bolt-on spoiler, and a hood tach are noticeably absent.   However, GM officials seem to be unaware of the need for a GTO that looks distinctive.   Let's examine some quotes from them.
The Equalizer First, Bill Lovejoy, 61, the guy who has marketing responsibilities for this new car.   During GM's Full line preview to the media at it's proving grounds in Milford, Michigan, he said:
"The GTO will represent what every Pontiac can be and will be in the future."
My reaction is:  Every Pontiac?   Can't the GTO be set off by itself as the icon of the marque?   Does it have to blend in to all the other jellybean-looking models on the road?   He might as well have said "It'll be just like all the rest".

Let's look at a statement made by Pontiac/GMC General Manager Lynn Myers.
Unveiling a car In a July, 2002 Motor Trend article, Myers did not seem concerned about the styling of the new GTO.   She basically said the car has the powertrain and the styling that make it a modern-day musclecar.   "This will fulfill the image of a GTO", she says.   She's correct about the nice powertrain, but the styling issue screams out "Wait a minute folks!".   This vehicle does not resemble a modern-day GTO.   The badges say "GTO", but that's where the similarities end.   Who mistakenly told Lynn that the looks of a down-under Monaro equal that of a GTO?

Roger Lachele ( forwarded the comments of GM design chief Wayne Cherry [of Chevy Caprice, Olds Achieva, Pontiac Aztek school of design].
Mister Aztek Cherry's comments were in the "Dallas Morning News" on June 15th.  "The Monaro coupe comes so close to so many people's imagery of what that vehicle would be today that it makes a lot of sense from a design perspective," said Mr. Cherry.   The story goes on to say that General Motors doesn't intend to go on a nostalgia trip with the next Pontiac GTO.   By the way, his L.A. design studio has been called a "design trend listening post".   Maybe he'll listen to the millions of classic GTO fans when they tell him, "Design us something we'll actually want to buy!"

If GM officials don't see the need for a more aggressive styling re-vamp, maybe they should see a sampling of comments made by dedicated GTO afficianados and web site visitors.   They number 9-to-1 against the looks of the recently-unveiled GTO design...

From: "Goathead", as seen on the PY message board:
In my opinion, the "present" rendition of the Holden is just plain generic styling that will not stand out in a parking lot filled with the entire family of riceburners. All I want GM to do is to have the balls to come out
with a strikingly different style that deserves the GTO label.   Lipstick on a pig is still a pig, maybe a fast pig, but lipstick will not help this one.

A guy who loves GTOs in general, is calling for immediate action on GM's part:

I am so upset that I am losing a favorite, the Firebird...and then they are gonna TRY to replace it with a GTO????? The photos I have seen so far are NOT what a new GTO should look like...somebody DO something!!   How about a hood scoop like on the Firehawk or maybe a little more mean muscle looks like on the elusive 

A 1968 GTO owner thinks the 2004 car should have some feature that resembles the classic GTOs:

From: Damian Muzzi ( in Wilmington, Delaware 
I am with everyone else, there is nothing that looks like an old GTO on it, NOTHING!!!  They could have done it so well, added the scoops, the tach, a wing, rear marker lights of the 68's or 69's, maybe some 17-19in Rally two 
look a likes!!!!!!!  IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK, WELL IS IT?   My two cents, WHAT A PIECE OF [ deleted ]!

An old GTO fan had no success trying to talk to the top man at GM:

From: Bill Knoth ( 
Where are the scoops?   I tried calling Pontiac and talking or leaving a message for Bob Lutz but I got the run around.

Other website visitors want the 2004 GTO styling to stand out:

From:  Jim Castiglione (
The reborn Great One should stand alone from the others, not be a styling clone.
From: Dave Rugg 
If GM doesn't do an overhaul on the body design, then don't even bother.   It needs to be immediately identified as a GTO or not at all.   It looks like a mini Grand Prix w/GTO badges.
From: Bruce "brd" (
I've said this from the beginning.  Pick a car, any car.....  They all look the same.  A reissue of the Goat should be first and foremost a "morphed" version of the original issue.   Anything less, and you might as well put that V-8 in a rice burner.  Why... wait 30 years to reissue The Great One only to have it look basically like every other rice burner on the road?

This classic GTO fan points out the shortcomings of the new GTO styling:

From: gtobrett on the email list
Come on guys,.....let's ease up just a bit.  I'm sure there will be many styling changes/additions over the next few
months as the final prototype comes together.  Even if it doesn't change that much from this first offering, I'd still be happy to own it.  I'm as nostalgic as the next guy, but other than some scoops and maybe a hood tach I'm not sure I care if it looks anything like the old Goats

Ed Raden is a little more positive:

From Ed Raden (
I'll agree that we need some more styling hints of the original, '68-'70 scoops, hood tach, etc., but it seems like a good start.  Based on where pricing ends up, I may have to get in line, hope they honor the GM Supplier discounts on it.
The GTO is gone forever.   How stupid of them to do something like this, if they had one ounce of brains they would make the car look like the the car it claims to be.  This car is a waste of my time.
Ken Skistimas ( said on the Email List
Hmmm, I hope they aren't finished with it yet.  I was hoping for a little more in the styling department.  The scoops, man! What about the scoops?!   How are we supposed to have Ram Air?   A hood scoop is a minimum requirement for a GTO, everyone '64-'74 had at least one

Several people took exception to Pontiac's proposed 2004 grille.   It closely resembles that of the 1992 Grand Am.

A 1970 GTO owner, Rick W ( said:
This "GTO" looks like another Grand Am. There's nothing GTO about it
Andre' Rayman ( said on the email list
That grill is all wrong. It may be split, but it looks like the BMW. Damned car just isn't big enough in the back end, and looks too much like my Honda Accord. or a BMW 3 series.   Originally, I was excited about this car, but if they can't get it to stop looking like everything else on the road, then I don't like it.   I was hoping that GM would develop the body the way Ford did the T-bird, VW did the Beetle, and whomever did the Mini-Cooper.   You can actually identify these cars to the originals... just my opinion.

Alan Fanning sums is up:

From Alan L. Fanning (
Too bad they didn't listen to Jim Wangers and his comments in this month's PE.  [ Pontiac Enthusiast  Magazine]   Where are the hood scoop(s)?  Every GTO had hood scoop(s) of some sort.  I don't think the grill really captures the feel of the goat either...maybe this is a trial balloon?
We can only hope so.

Rumor has it that Bob Kraut will attend the GTOAA International Convention in Denver sometime during the period of June 28 - July 2, 2002.   He's the marketing director for Pontiac GTO, Bonneville and Grand Prix.   If you attend the convention, maybe you could thank him for attending.   Then kindly tell Mr Kraut what's important to include in future GTO stylings.   Here are some suggestions to speak to him about:

Your comments?

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