It’s hard not to love American muscle cars of the ’60s and their rumbling V8s; however, the entire era might not have been a reality if it wasn’t for the creation of the Pontiac GTO in 1964. The beloved Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger were built to compete with this beast. To call the GTO anything less than one of the most influential cars of all time would be an understatement.
The production of the Pontiac GTO was halted by 1974 following the global oil crisis. After almost 30 years of absence, the fifth generation GTO was introduced in 2003 but, because General Motors lacked both the time and the budget needed to develop an entirely new sports car, this GTO was a rebranded third-generation Holden Monaro with a slightly changed front grille.
The 21st-century reincarnation of the Legendary GTO might not be as good as the original, but it is definitely underappreciated.
Here’s What A 2004 Pontiac GTO Costs Today
As long as you intend to buy and not sell, the value is the best part of the 2004 model. The base model 2004 Pontiac GTOs typically range from $15,000 to $20,000, while those in mint condition go for as much as $28,000; on the other hand, those in need of repair can be found for under $10,000.
The lack of appreciation for this ride results in the Australian-based GTO being one of the most reliable and best-performing cars in its price range. Furthermore, the preplanned halt of production in 2006, which was mainly because of an issue in safety regulation, makes the fifth-generation GTO a 3-year limited run.
You might not ever accept it as a true GTO, yet the joy in its driving experience is undeniable.
Capabilities And Characteristics Of The Modern GTO
Being a rebadged Australian Monaro, this Pontiac did not receive the desirable feedback with people rightfully saying that it carries the name but not the heritage. While that might be true, the Holden Monaro was a well-made car with proven practicality and performance, which was not previously available in the North American market. Thus, not being the best GTO does not mean it isn’t decent.
The 2004 model came with a mighty 5.7-liter LS1 V8, the same engine present in the 2004 Corvette, and either a Tremec T-56 six-speed manual transmission or a 4L60-E four-speed automatic. The result of 350 hp sent to the rear wheels is a 0-60 mph sprint of 5.3 seconds and a quarter-mile of 14 seconds. With a top speed of 160 mph, this two-door offers fantastic performance for the price, which was originally $33,000.
Perhaps one of the most exciting traits of the 2004 Pontiac GTO is the exhaust system. The 1964 GTO arguably had one of the most memorable and noticeable roars in automotive history, and GM knew that they had to give the new generation a distinguishable sound. As a result of their attempt to make the fifth-generation GTO sound as close to the original as possible while staying within the legal range, it resonates beautifully, and the way the backfire thuds on the overrun makes you think that it would be too good to be legal.
The 2004 Pontiac GTO’s interior has a simple design and is well-constructed. It isn’t flashy, but it is better than what you expect in cars within the GTO’s price range. While equipped with four comfortable leather seats, it is spacious considering it is a two-door. The ride quality can prove a bit stiff at times but never too unsettling.
A characteristic that improves this Pontiac’s driving experience and performance is its handling. The stability and the balance enhance the way the GTO goes through corners and help guarantee control. Understeer is rarely the case, and it turns nice and sharp.
The 2004 GTO Has Some Drawbacks
As briefly mentioned earlier, the fifth generation was widely criticized for the lack of GTO identity with it being a rebadge. Most critics did acknowledge the above-average quality and capability of this new GTO and saw that it not as a disappointing car as such but rather a disappointing GTO. Many gearheads recognized the irony of GTO’s previous history of originality and innovation in relation to it now being a corporate model name for a rebranded preexistent car.
The exterior design is also commonly perceived as boring, indecisive, and “too tame for a GTO.” It can very well be considered one of many design trends during the early 2000s that did not age well at all. Yet, some actually appreciate the design while knowing it might not have been the best compared to its rivals.
However, in addition to beauty being in the eye of the beholder, the design and the overall “anonymous” character of the vehicle drastically increases its “sleeper” status. Considering the fifth-generation GTOs offer amazing build quality for the value and potential for modification because of the aftermarket support, they provide desirable platforms for building a mighty LS-powered car that could easily take on unsuspecting Camaros and Challengers while looking like an outdated piece of boredom.
With all that said, one other design flaw is present in the GTO. The cargo space, specifically the trunk, is noticeably small to the point of reducing the practicality of the GTO as a daily-driven vehicle. The reason behind this shrinkage of space is the relocation of the fuel tank from under the rear half of the vehicle into the trunk to avoid safety hazards.
The GTO 6.0 is hands down, one of the best V8s ever made, not only by Pontiac but in history.
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