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2010 Pontiac Firebird or GTO?

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2010 Pontiac Firebird or GTO?
Is Pontiac raising GTOs or Firebirds on its muscle-car farm?
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Conceptual Rendering by MJDecker
BY STEVE SILER, June 2007 | Link to Original Article @ Car and Driver


Every day, we get letters from readers asking us to write stories about things that, frankly, we don’t know anything about. Recently, citing the well-known return of its longtime platform-mate, the Chevrolet Camaro, some of you have been screaming like chickens about another storied muscle car from our past, the good ol’ Pontiac Firebird. After all, it would be easy—graft a beak onto the Camaro and ship it to Pontiac showrooms. And so we made some calls.

Our first fact: GM public relations people aren’t quick to return phone calls when one leaves a voice-mail saying things like, "Could you call us back with everything you know about a future Firebird?" Crickets. Tumbleweeds. And here we thought we were friends.

But later rather than sooner, our pal Jim Hopson from Pontiac communications called and promptly made up for lost time by shedding some real light on what is looking more like a choice between raising goats or chickens, rather than goats and chickens, on Pontiac’s muscle-car farm.

Pontiac Muscle Car Must Be Distinct

Although it’s still unconfirmed at this point, Pontiac is pretty much guaranteed to get at least one muscle car from the prolific rear-drive Zeta platform (officially, Global Rear Wheel Drive Architecture) by 2010.

The first fruit of Zeta loins for Pontiac is the 2008 G8 sedan, which will replace both the long-departed Bonneville and the current Grand Prix early next year. The G8 will be exported from Australia, where the Aussies engineered the RWD family.

As for a second Zeta for Pontiac, Hopson confirmed the brand has been kicking around "heritage" names, including Firebird and GTO, for a future muscle car. Although either "can be done" relatively easily, we don’t expect Pontiac to do both. Furthermore, although a Firebird would seemingly be less expensive to produce if it shared—as it always did—its body stampings and many interior components with the Camaro, we suspect Pontiac is leaning toward the GTO.

Thank (or blame) Bob Lutz, GM’s deified product guru, for that. He has asserted that the days of product sharing and badge engineering are more or less over and has stated emphatically that no carbon copy of the Camaro will make it into any other GM-brand showroom. The challenge, Hopson said, becomes making a new muscle car unique enough to appease Lutz and the market at large without being too unique for those Bud-guzzlin’, mullet-draped traditionalists who see it as their mission in life to ensure any future screaming chicken returns as "Pontiac’s Camaro."

"Heritage" Names: 50-Percent Risk, 50-Percent Opportunity

This challenge underscores the double-edged sword of resurrecting heritage names, which must be competitive and relevant today while meeting expectations of performance, character, and appearance held by nostalgic fans. Attempts to cash in on nostalgia can backfire, as Hopson knows all too well. b he said, citing lessons learned during Pontiac’s struggle to convince buyers that the Australian-built, Holden Monaro–based 2004–06 GTO was, in fact, worthy of its hallowed name.

Two Performance Coupes Unlikely
Posted Image
Conceptual Rendering by NOS2006

Still in question, according to Hopson, is whether it makes sense in this day and age to sell two muscle cars under the same brand umbrella, or even three under two brands. "The market in the ’60s could sustain more than one muscle car under the same make, but today’s market may not. I don’t think anything is off the table," he said, "but there’s an extraordinarily small chance you would see two performance coupes." Pity, because Zeta is flexible enough to spawn all kinds of variants, including a larger G8 coupe. Hmmm.

If it were up to Hopson, which would he choose? "Personally, some form of a GTO would be most appealing. Firebird and Camaro would be expected to be extraordinarily similar, and we could do more with GTO." Wonderful PR-speak, but we see it as good advice for product planning, too.

Under the Skin

So what would be under the skin of Pontiac’s future muscle car? It would certainly share both of the upcoming G8 sedan’s engines, including a 261-hp, 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 and 362-hp, LS2 6.0-liter pushrod V-8, offered with five- and six-speed automatics, respectively, with available six-speed manuals (the G8 gets autoboxes only, at least at first). As with most of GM’s big V-8s, this 6.0-liter would have cylinder deactivation or "active fuel management," as GM now refers to this technology.

At the drag strip, where we expect this car to be headed, look for 0-to-60 runs in the low sixes for the V-6 models and about five seconds for the V-8. More potent engines are certainly being considered, but output is anyone’s guess. All G8s get a strut-front and multilink-rear suspension, setups we expect to be mirrored on the shorter, steroid-enhanced two-door versions.

Whatever form it will eventually take—and whatever name will be assigned to it—Pontiac’s Zeta-based muscle car will certainly get prominent placement in its U.S. dealer showrooms, which are increasingly being combined with Buick and GMC brands—neither of which has sports cars or muscle cars of its own—by the time it arrives.

As the "excitement division," Pontiac needs a sporty car more capable than the Solstice and Solstice GXP to remain, well, truly exciting. Besides, as arguably the most storied brand in muscle-car history, Pontiac would be remiss not to cash in on the phenomenon of modern muscle-car mania.
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what they ought to do... is on the G8... make a GT0 edition...

fully stripped out v8 rwd manual 6spd...a/c and radio...

let the aftermarket world reap wild... and you could also have a gxp version... fully loaded same $h! tho...

but yes firebird... plus a g8 GT0 trim line

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I like the Firebird more.

*ahem*

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...mp;#entry292694

:P

Maybe its a no-brainer how the Zeta GTO/Firebird would look, but I'm kinda happy about how similar mine is to the Firebird, even though I called it a GTO. I even got the greenhouse almost dead-on, as I also changed it from the Camaro that I based my sketch off of.

Anyway, talk amongst yourselves, I just wanted to toot my own horn for a second. :P Ignore me.

Edited by bowtie_dude
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Firebird has better name recognition. I'd be all for it, providing it's really 'Pontiac' .

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My dad loves Pontiac. I think if I let him know about this, he'll decide to hang on to his Bonneville for a few years longer so he can get his hands on one...especially if they call it "Firebird".

Edited by AxelTheRed
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This story is either been written as long time ago or this guy is beind times.

He is wrong on the names just as the engines he has listed not correct even if it was a Camaro clone.

Either name Pontiac has baggage and preconceived notions. Also if you givem em the bird everyone will want a Trans Am and I never expect to see that name again,

Pontiac is looking to make a car that is not a Camaro clone and the worst thing is to name it after a car that was based on a Camaro for near 40 years.

I would be fine if they just used a new name and not used the GTO or Firebird names. They just need to make a car that is not a Camaro clone. Coupe sales are tough enough when you don't compete againt your self.

I love the TA and have for years but Chevy alreadyt has a Camaro so the Pontiac needs to offer something different at a different price. It needs to reach out to those who want more than a Mustang or a Camaro to be viable.

Edited by hyperv6
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With only one as an option, it has to be GTO.

The last GTO broke the ice and offered the most upscale and sophisticated performance coupe in Pontiac's history as well as the best interior ever in a GM up to that point. As much as I love Firebirds, to do that car instead of GTO would be backsliding.

There are many other reasons why Firebird is a bad idea at this time especially one which is a Camaro clone.

GTO... ...and hurry!

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With only one as an option, it has to be GTO.

The last GTO broke the ice and offered the most upscale and sophisticated performance coupe in Pontiac's history as well as the best interior ever in a GM up to that point. As much as I love Firebirds, to do that car instead of GTO would be backsliding.

There are many other reasons why Firebird is a bad idea at this time especially one which is a Camaro clone.

GTO... ...and hurry!

not always is the cloning a bad idea... look at the aura vrs g6 & malibu... they are still cloning... but i agree it would need to be more upscale... for instance a GMT900 tahoe is not the same as a Escalade, but they are twins on the same frame... that should be the basic difference between the camaro and its twin...

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what they ought to do... is on the G8... make a GT0 edition...

fully stripped out v8 rwd manual 6spd...a/c and radio...

let the aftermarket world reap wild... and you could also have a gxp version... fully loaded same $h! tho...

but yes firebird... plus a g8 GT0 trim line

Wow, very interesting idea. I don't know about this case in specific, but the idea of a stripped down model that would appeal to the aftermarket junkie...very interesting.

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Please no 4 door GTOs. It should be a coupe, and more upscale like the current GTO. There should be a 3.6L DI, or 5.3L version called Tempest, with the V8 top of the line coupe being called GTO.

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i just hope they don't make it a rebadged maro like it looks like they are going to. i would like to see a new car with it's own design based on the current pontiac design cues.

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Please no 4 door GTOs. It should be a coupe, and more upscale like the current GTO. There should be a 3.6L DI, or 5.3L version called Tempest, with the V8 top of the line coupe being called GTO.

The GTO 4 door is a G8 GXP.

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i just hope they don't make it a rebadged maro like it looks like they are going to. i would like to see a new car with it's own design based on the current pontiac design cues.

Very unlikely that this will ever happen, if Firebird ever returns it will likely have nothing to do with Camaro and even then would be unlikely to happen.

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Honestly, I'd buy a UNIQUE Firebird in a New York second. However, I think GTO is the better alternative as it is, and always has been, the top-of-the-line Pontiac. Not to mention even if some consider the recent GTO a failure, which it WASN'T, it still carries a better image than the Firebird. (Sadly, our society is so SHALLOW MINDED that it associates a car with a certain class of people)

The recent GTO, while staid in the looks department, was celebrated as an awesome performance value even by the most cynical anti-Detroit/anti-GM.

Besides, I thought the Firebird was planning to make a comeback on Alpha to essentially replace the G6 coupe.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Well, as long as a convertible model is offered, I'd be happy (assuming I like the design). I love my SKY and would like to keep it a long, long time, but honestly a 4-seater convertible would be much more practical for my family (and would get driven more). I like the new Camaro, but not enough (atleast yet) to part with my SKY. I attached a picture of someone's Trans Am chop - if a convertible version of that car was available, I'm sure the SKY would have a "For Sale" sign on it waiting for my ordered T/A convert to arrive :lol:

post-418-1182549549_thumb.jpg

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firebird has hickish connotations. the GTO at least established itself as somewhat modern. previous poster had a good idea......G8 GTO

here's the deal though. no one wants musclecars. and if they do, mustang and camaro have the market cornered. Recent GTO was more of a performance car in the vein of BMW. Much better perception in the market place than redneck musclecar image. not really needed when suv's, green cars and consumer reports specials are what sells. this doesn't really help gm in the market that much.

Edited by regfootball
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firebird has hickish connotations. the GTO at least established itself as somewhat modern. previous poster had a good idea......G8 GTO

here's the deal though. no one wants musclecars. and if they do, mustang and camaro have the market cornered. Recent GTO was more of a performance car in the vein of BMW. Much better perception in the market place than redneck musclecar image. not really needed when suv's, green cars and consumer reports specials are what sells. this doesn't really help gm in the market that much.

Perhaps not GM as a whole, but Pontiac certainly needs this car - no matter the name.

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The GTO or what ever it ends up being needs to be modern adult performance coupe. It is a given it is going to be more expensive and bigger.

The car needs to address a non retro crowd that can afford to spend more than a Camaro but still can't afford that M5.

If GM can deliver on performance and a quality build and interior it may not surplant a M5 in the pecking order but it will sell to the many who pine for a M5 that just can't afford it.

Lets face it there are more people who want and can't afford a BMW than those who have them. So let get GM to give them something to be proud of.

And if you can't afford the new Pontiac just drive down to the Chevy dealer and put your money down on a Camaro.

In the end I just would forgo any of the old names as too many expect to live in the past but want GM to move foward. There is too much of a pre concieved idea of a car with a old name and it is not the same for all. I can point out 5 or six ideas people will give you when you say GTO.

If you say GTO you can hear back

Tri Power

Ram Air IV

Judge

455 HO

Ventura with a 350

None of which fit any one year or any one style as I have pointed out GTO means a lot of thing to many people and few will ever agree on the same thing no matter what Pontiac does.

GM needs to remember the past but live in the future.

Edited by hyperv6
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The GTO or what ever it ends up being needs to be modern adult performance coupe. It is a given it is going to be more expensive and bigger.

The car needs to address a non retro crowd that can afford to spend more than a Camaro but still can't afford that M5.

If GM can deliver on performance and a quality build and interior it may not surplant a M5 in the pecking order but it will sell to the many who pine for a M5 that just can't afford it.

Lets face it there are more people who want and can't afford a BMW than those who have them. So let get GM to give them something to be proud of.

And if you can't afford the new Pontiac just drive down to the Chevy dealer and put your money down on a Camaro.

In the end I just would forgo any of the old names as too many expect to live in the past but want GM to move foward. There is too much of a pre concieved idea of a car with a old name and it is not the same for all. I can point out 5 or six ideas people will give you when you say GTO.

If you say GTO you can hear back

Tri Power

Ram Air IV

Judge

455 HO

Ventura with a 350

None of which fit any one year or any one style as I have pointed out GTO means a lot of thing to many people and few will ever agree on the same thing no matter what Pontiac does.

GM needs to remember the past but live in the future.

I hear you, but I can't quite agree on the GTO. The new car should build on the 2004-2006 definition of what a GTO is now. Real names need to supplant the idiotic G# scheme, and I think a mix of old and new names would be best.

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I vote for both... but either way I want to see both/either as HARDTOPS.

The GTO was never given a real chance in it's last resurection attempt.

GTO... then if Pontiac can build a business case for it the Firebird/TA too!

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I hear you, but I can't quite agree on the GTO. The new car should build on the 2004-2006 definition of what a GTO is now. Real names need to supplant the idiotic G# scheme, and I think a mix of old and new names would be best.

Whoa hold on!

I never said to use G number. Instead of relying on old names to bring new magic I just feel it is time to bring in a new real name to make some new magic with no preconcieved stereo type good or bad. You place a burden on any new car when you bring back a great name from the past.

Just ask Dale Earnhardt Jr He is a good driver but has had a heck of a time trying to prove he is more than just his fathers son. A great name is as much a curse as a blessing

Let's face it if John Delorean and Bunkie had not brought us some new names in the 60's we would be arguing they should be naming the new car a Sliver Streak, Laurentiana or Star Chief. If they had not had the balls to bring a new type of cars and new names in the 60's we would have never had a GTO, GP or Trans Am. What new ledgends are we going to miss if we saddle Pontiac with the mandate to only live off the past.

Could this be part of the reason few young people demand cars other than Pontiac since in their eyes it was there grandfathers car and never turely theirs.

All I am saying it is time to make some new history vs trying to live off the old history.

It is time for many of us to let Pontiac reach and be the car company it can be and not hinder it with too much of the past. It is time for the A and W crowd to realize the 50's are over and they really did build cars after 1970.

Learn from your history and appreciate it as much of it was very good. But the key is never try to relive it. High school may haver been fun but your never going to bring it back just as it was.

I may not be a fan of the old names on a new car but I no way will endorse any of the G number names.

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>>"The GTO or what ever it ends up being needs to be modern adult performance coupe. It is a given it is going to be more expensive and bigger. The car needs to address a non retro crowd that can afford to spend more than a Camaro but still can't afford that M5. If GM can deliver on performance and a quality build and interior it may not surplant a M5 in the pecking order but it will sell to the many who pine for a M5 that just can't afford it. Lets face it there are more people who want and can't afford a BMW than those who have them. So let get GM to give them something to be proud of."<<

Hi.

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Thanks Balthazar, I am indeed proud of my GTO.

Hyper: note that I said a mix of old and new names. Considerable effort was put into bringing back the GTO nameplate and I think that the car has a good rep - so I would build on it.

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quote name='hyperv6'

The GTO or what ever it ends up being needs to be modern adult performance coupe. It is a given it is going to be more expensive and bigger.

The car needs to address a non retro crowd that can afford to spend more than a Camaro but still can't afford that M5.

If GM can deliver on performance and a quality build and interior it may not surplant a M5 in the pecking order but it will sell to the many who pine for a M5 that just can't afford it.

Lets face it there are more people who want and can't afford a BMW than those who have them. So let get GM to give them something to be proud of.

And if you can't afford the new Pontiac just drive down to the Chevy dealer and put your money down on a Camaro.

word.

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