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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

HPP teases Firebird, Camaro customs for SEMA

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HPP teases Firebird, Camaro customs for SEMA

by Jeff Glucker (RSS feed) on Oct 26th 2010 at 7:58PM

hpp-trans-am.jpg

We've seen companies attempt to turn the Chevrolet Camaro into a Pontiac Trans-Am, but the results are often mixed at best. Heide Performance Products, a customizing company out of Madison Heights, MI, is looking to change that. Is it successful? Well, let's just say we're looking forward to seeing HPP's pointy-nosed '69 Trans Am knock-off with our own eyes at SEMA next week.

The company has detailed the build process on its Facebook page, and there's also a second Camaro with T-Tops the company is bringing to SEMA. Finally, we have modern versions of the Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird based off the current Challenger. See for yourself in our high-res photo gallery below.

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/26/hpp-teases-firebird-camaro-customs-for-sema/

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I like the idea... results are mixed.

For the most part, I like the front. I guess I'd like to see a little less rake out of the beak... and body color... but the chrome is not bad. But at the rear, this comes completely apart. The lights are totally boring from a distance and the thin chrome bumper isn't working for me.

It seems like the rear of all the Firebird concepts is a weak point... and I think part of the problem is that (non 4th-gen) Firebirds' had relatively flat taillight panels... and broad, horizontal lights... which are not translating to the kinda odd-looking rear Camaro panel.

Let me say this... there is no need to stay true to one particular generation of Firebird for the rear... and adaption of the rear is going to have to be a bit unorthodox to work.

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Wow, that grill is pretty terrible. Reminds me of the G6 GXP...too tall and cuts too low into the fascia. The chrome geill trim which juts out from the body like it was just glued on as a last minute afterthought just adds an extra layer of tackiness to it. Yes I see the the inspiration but IMHO it doesn't work well at all on the new car.

The rest of it? Ok I guess. At least they bothered to do something with the sides of the car.

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The red on the interior does nothing. And better, uncluttered pictures taken at a lower vantage point are required.

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The red on the interior does nothing. And better, uncluttered pictures taken at a lower vantage point are required.

Agreed, I think the beak will look better at a more "normal" viewing angle.

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Final results are mixed, but done right, this could make me drop big bucks at a GM dealership.

Conceptually, I like this MUCH better than the new Camaro, which I already love!

but Agree with SA and DF on the beak...

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With the reactions on most of these converstions I think it is time to leave this idea behind.

The Pontiac people try to like it but still find it needs a little more this or little less that and the general public just hate these [note comments on most non GM web sites].

Before I would spent the money on one of these pretend cars I would spend the large amount on a real TA from the early 70's. Do you understand how nice of a car you could get for this money and it would be a real Pontiac with a real Pontiac engine and climb in price vs this. Or just get the Z28 when it comes out and save some money.

I give them credit for trying but these car is like keeping grandma body around the house after she died just because you miss her. It is just not the same as it once was nor will it ever be from a outside company from GM.

I do have to say this one is the best one but still not right.

Edited by hyperv6

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Apologies, but I do not see any cars on the photo you posted together with the article. :smilewide:

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Finally one of these conversion that uses the right generation!

I'll wait for better pics before passing judgement.

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I'm a sucker for blondes, so now that I've had a chance to actually make myself calm down and hunt around for more photos I will say that: a.) the nose is fine, although it could have used less of a dramatic peak at the bottom and b.) hell no to that pointless, thin chrome faux-bumper (is this an option?).

Other than that, it's probably as close to a real '11 Firebird as we're going to get.

hyper, I'm sorry, but I think the onslaught of Camaro to Firebird conversions we've seen shows there is still a place for Pontiac. I hope more of these will continue to crawl out of the woodwork so that, you know, we might stand a chance at getting something more ... proper.

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hyper, I'm sorry, but I think the onslaught of Camaro to Firebird conversions we've seen shows there is still a place for Pontiac. I hope more of these will continue to crawl out of the woodwork so that, you know, we might stand a chance at getting something more ... proper.

Well lets just see how many they sell and how many companies are still making these in 2 years.

I sorry but just in my opinion when you take the things that make a Pontiac away from a car that made it a Pontiac is it really still a Pontiac?

They took away the engine and drive line that were to heart of Pontiac and now they they stole the soul wanting to build cars that really is not even a Pontiac even in name.

To me this is kind of like a Ferrai Kit car on a Fiero space frame. It may look cool and be kind of a neat car but it does not fool me into thinking it really a Ferrari.

They took the Pontiac engines and drivelines away and now they have taken the Pontiac name. All you have left are a few old styling cues and to me that is not what makes a Pontiac a Pontiac.

If GM can get their house in order and bring together product not shared with Chevy and Buick {Holden is ok] then bring back the name. The way they retired the name it is not damage to the point they can not reuse it someday. But for now GM has it's hands full just getting Chevy, Cadillac and Buick right. Once these three are in the tops in sales in their classes then lets talk Pontiac again when GM can focus on them and do it right.

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Well lets just see how many they sell and how many companies are still making these in 2 years.

Well, considering that this is probably going to be a another 35K+ upgrade, it has a very limited market... much more limited than the expected ~$5K upgrade of a OEM, factory Firebird over a Camaro.

Well, I imagine that sooner or later, these will be like KITT knock-offs... and 5 companies will be selling them fairly cheap. Is that a good thing? Probably not, but it still shows that there are Pontiac people out there.

I sorry but just in my opinion when you take the things that make a Pontiac away from a car that made it a Pontiac is it really still a Pontiac?

They took away the engine and drive line that were to heart of Pontiac

Oh, for Christ's sake... that was 30 years ago, unless you were a Iron Duke fanatic, and has divided the fan base ever since. The simple fact is that GM needed to streamline production and the drivetrains needed consolidation. You know, technically, they don't make Chevy engines, either. They are all GM engines. Nobody complains when a Ford engine is in their Mercury (yes, yes, I AM aware of the MEL engines) or a Dodge engine is in their Plymouth. I don't see Buick fanatics up in arms over the loss of their engines... oh, well, there are hardly any Buick fanatics who even noticed the passing of the 3.8.

Don't get me wrong... I liked that Pontiac and Buick has unique engines... but those days have passed. A Pontiac build out of Chevy parts? Gasp! Pontiacs, Buicks, Olds have been build out of GM parts for 80 years. I can live with that. I can live with rebadging... even some blantant rebadging. Where do I draw the line? Pontiacs made out of Daewoos and Toyotas. Heck, Chevys made out of Isuzus and Toyotas.

So in the end, we have to ask (once again), What makes a Pontiac? My opinion is that it IS the styling. And in this day and age of severely muted styling, the styling cues. Yeah, its the honeycomb, the split grill, the horizontal striped taillights, the outrageous hood scoops, the unique wheels, even the plastic ribbed body cladding. Yeah, I like the cladding. It is as '90s as the tail fin was '50s, the vinyl roof was '60s and the opera window was '70s. It was what people wanted and it sold millions of Pontiacs. 20 years from now we will look back at the '00s with the LED/halo headlight jewelry and 20" rims and we'll go "WTF were we thinking?!?"

GM has killed a desirable brand... so the rules to what makes the spiritual successor are open to wide interpretation. I don't see people bashing home built Pontiac styled El Caminos. I don't see people bashing the Avantis made long after Studebaker disappeared. I don't see people ranting at Indian Adventures for making an improved Pontiac engine block. I don't hear of people protesting in front of CARS because you can make an entire '69 Camaro out of non-GM parts (And Firebirds now, too) and Chevy STILL EXISTS!

If someone builds it and it looks reasonably like a Pontiac, its going to be a Pontiac in spirit. If someone plunks money down to buy it, we apparently have a consensus. If GM has abandoned us, someone has to step in.

In any case, I think most people will agree this is more Pontiac than a Toyota Matrix clone is.

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Well lets just see how many they sell and how many companies are still making these in 2 years.

No one is expecting some pie-in-the-sky number. These are boutique cars. They have an audience they cater to which will buy an example and there's aspirational appeal here in that you'll have something unique that few people will own that looks cool, is dripping with nostalgic value, and performs great. When someone sees one rolling down the street, it is guaranteed to pique interest.

I sorry but just in my opinion when you take the things that make a Pontiac away from a car that made it a Pontiac is it really still a Pontiac?

They took away the engine and drive line that were to heart of Pontiac and now they they stole the soul wanting to build cars that really is not even a Pontiac even in name.

To me this is kind of like a Ferrai Kit car on a Fiero space frame. It may look cool and be kind of a neat car but it does not fool me into thinking it really a Ferrari.

They took the Pontiac engines and drivelines away and now they have taken the Pontiac name. All you have left are a few old styling cues and to me that is not what makes a Pontiac a Pontiac.

Congratulations, you've just had a Sixty-8 moment. See SAmadei's post for my rebuttal since I can't really say it any better myself.

This HPP conversion is in no way like the Fiero kits. I've seen one in person; someone in my town owns a Fiero-cum-Countach and the end result is laughably terrible and as fake as a pair of ten dollar Oakley sunglasses from some hole-in-the-wall flea market. The HPP conversion looks like it could be a GM production car (or a design proposal for a production car at the very least) save for the tacky, faux retro rear bumper attachment.

The Lingenfelter T/A also is a convincing conversion, aside from the fact the styling cues do not match at all.

Now, the Kevin Morgan T/A and Firebreather concept do have a touch of that "woodshed" feel about them, but they each have their own charm and the end result is still more polished than the Fiero kit car I mentioned.

If GM can get their house in order and bring together product not shared with Chevy and Buick {Holden is ok] then bring back the name. The way they retired the name it is not damage to the point they can not reuse it someday. But for now GM has it's hands full just getting Chevy, Cadillac and Buick right. Once these three are in the tops in sales in their classes then lets talk Pontiac again when GM can focus on them and do it right.

I'm not going to argue GM has to get it's house in complete order before it can bring back a brand.

But, on the other hand, GM doesn't have to have 50 percent market share for this brand to work, really. A two or three car line-up is all it would need. It might would have to come at the cost of losing one or two high-performance Chevrolets, but that's the price that I think would have to be paid. Chevy was never a true performance brand, anyway. It's an Everyman's division and always will be.

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You guy prove my point.

I too once though Pontiac was all styling and I thought the old timers were wrong and short sighted about Pontiac dying when the 400 went away.

No that I see how Pontiac went and ended up I understand why they felt the way they did and I can not disagree with them.

Pontiac used to be inovation, Power [their own], styling and engineering. This gave you a car for years that was more than a Chevy in many different aspects. You paid more but you got more. I have been in and driven many of the great cars from the 60's and early 70's and know what they did.

Once they gutted the engines and then the seperate engineering all you had was the styling. Even witht he corperate motors Pontiac the performance division was shorted even on performance.

How sad is it that the performance divison offered cars like the 2+2 in the 80's that was loaded with everything including a special boday and not at least be give the 305 HO like the Monte Carlo SS? I mean it was even a limited production car and they would not give Pontiac even the small number needed. The G5 and G6 should have had performance based engines. I was at Lordstown and even the guys at the plant made a G5 with the Cobalt SS engine and suspension. This as far as I know is the only on built and it just runs parts at the plant today.

The way I see it Pontiac just became a fancy Chevy that really had little special and Pontiac only. I had hopes when Lutz gave us the Solstice and G8 that they may move back to real performance and cars not shared with Chevy. The Holden connection could have helpped and even cars like the Regal today would have set them apart vs the G6.

Sorry if I do not buy the line it was the styling that made Pontiac special as it used to be only part of what made them special. If they had kept witht he original formula Pontiac may have still been around today. Even like in the last yearts of the Trans Am I would have been ok with the LT engines but at least give Pontiac more HP and dress the engine different. Pontiac did this witht the 2.8 V6 in the Fiero they could have done it with the V8 Chevy.

All I can say if the the two of you are willing to accept less you will always be given less.

Sorry if as a Pontiac owner and fan for many years expect more than a lttle trim and small syling changes to make a real Pontiac. I drive a Chevy today because in the kind of car I needed Pontiac did not offer performance.

Either way Pontiac is gone and if GM does not see their way to bring them back properly then leave them dead.

There is no right or worng here you have what you are willing to accept and I have what I am willing. I just expect Better.

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Turning the page, I'm curious as to why BPG dealerships still have the "PONTIAC" signs on their lots and buildings still. If the brand is truly dead, why then isn't the sign company collecting their signs? (FYI: dealers lease their signs through a GM subsidiary company) I know when a GM dealership closes for good, usually within one month of the closing the sign company has their trucks out there collecting the signs (I've seen this happen at three local dealerships in the past 2-3 years). I think GM has other plans for Pontiac, plans that PCS/Oracle of Delphi has hinted at, that aren't being made public anytime soon (well, at least until the IPO gets issued; maybe a Holden connection?). If Pontiac truly ended on May 31, 2010, why then are the signs still up almost five months later?

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Congratulations SAmadei, you've hit the reason why I love Pontiacs - styling. I was born December of 1974, so I never experienced Pontiac-made engines personally. My first encounter with a Pontiac was my mom's brand-new '83 Grand Prix LJ in the spring of 1983, and even with a 3.8 liter V6 that wasn't Pontiac made I fell completely in love with Pontiac. Since that time I grew to love all Pontiacs, but it never mattered to me about the engine or transmission, it was the styling that caught my eye. With every other GM car division, there were years I liked, not decades like with Pontiacs (for example, I love the mid-'50s Oldsmobiles, but only have a few favorites from the '60s and '70s, whereas I pretty much like all of Pontiacs offerings through the years). Do I appreciate Pontiac engineering? Sure, but to me that's an added bonus, not a requirement (if I ever owned a classic Pontiac, you sure bet I want a Pontiac engine & trans in it because that's what it came with, but an '80s/'90s/'00s Pontiac with a GM-produced engine is what I know). To each their own, but I won't discredit hyperv6 reasons for his love of Pontiac because he has an appreciation that's different from mine. From my experience, it seems that GM enthusiasts of the '80s through today typically were fans of their brand due to the styling first, performance second. I know that's a generalization, but I never met anyone in the '80s to today that said they bought a new GM car or truck primarily because of the engine. It was the styling that caught their eye, the rest sold them completely (performance, options, safety, fuel efficiency, etc...)

Edited by GMTruckGuy74

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Pontiac used to be inovation, Power [their own], styling and engineering. This gave you a car for years that was more than a Chevy in many different aspects. You paid more but you got more. I have been in and driven many of the great cars from the 60's and early 70's and know what they did.

How much innovation are you expecting? The '50s and '60s had new innovations every year. Pontiac AND Oldsmobile had lots of innovation back then, but the automobile market is much more mature now.

Most innovations nowadays are very incremental... 18 airbags instead of 17... or are spread across the entire drivetrain lineup... like DI. Or software changes spread across lines. Same thing happens at Ford and Chrysler.

With the exception of the Corvette and Cadillac, where you EXPECT innovation for the price, Pontiac has still had some innovation. Pontiacs innovated with HUD on Grand Prixes and Bonnevilles, and it was far more common on Pontiacs even as it became available on other cars. The Solstice was one of the most innovative cars GM produced in years. Any debate on innovations is going to be filled by nothing but minutia.

Its not like GM has done a lot of earthshattering leading innovation in the last decade. Projector headlights, LEDs, etc, turned up elsewhere first. I can only think of Onstar and the Volt.

Hey, you know what innovation we need today? Distinctive styling!

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How much innovation are you expecting? The '50s and '60s had new innovations every year. Pontiac AND Oldsmobile had lots of innovation back then, but the automobile market is much more mature now.

Most innovations nowadays are very incremental... 18 airbags instead of 17... or are spread across the entire drivetrain lineup... like DI. Or software changes spread across lines. Same thing happens at Ford and Chrysler.

With the exception of the Corvette and Cadillac, where you EXPECT innovation for the price, Pontiac has still had some innovation. Pontiacs innovated with HUD on Grand Prixes and Bonnevilles, and it was far more common on Pontiacs even as it became available on other cars. The Solstice was one of the most innovative cars GM produced in years. Any debate on innovations is going to be filled by nothing but minutia.

Its not like GM has done a lot of earthshattering leading innovation in the last decade. Projector headlights, LEDs, etc, turned up elsewhere first. I can only think of Onstar and the Volt.

Hey, you know what innovation we need today? Distinctive styling!

Never mind you are just don't understand.

Stying is one part of Pontiac but in in it's prime it was only just one of the reasons to buy a Pontiac over a Chevy. At the end it was one of two reasons to buy a Pontiac, the other was a large discount.

Even when forced Delorean took the 1967 Firebird and used a bigger and better engine options, Lowered the car 1 inch and used a chrome bumper to hide the Camaro fenders. Pontiac also employed arms to keep the real springs from winding up and acted as a factory traction bar that Chevy never offered. While it may have chased a platform with Chevy they moved it away as much as they could even under GM's thumb.

The 4 gen only really was different in styling and nothing else. Pontiac should have been given the ability to tune the engine to their spec. Tune the suspension to their spec etc. In other words make the standard factory Firebird more like the Firehawk compared to the stock Z28.

I bought my GTP because of Heads up and the fact they discounted it more then the Impala SS. I like the GTP but if the Chevy had been cheaper I would have had to think about it.

Also I needed a small car for a daily beater. I wanted good MPG but I needed to haul things and I wanted it to be fun to drive. I looked to Pontiac and they had nothing. I bought the HHR SS not because of the styling but because of the performace the the performance division did not offer in a small packeage. I may have even considered a GXP G6 or G5 if they had offered a Turbo.

Even at the Pontiac National few new Pontiacs are ever there. We have a few G8's and Solstice [1 Aztek]. Out of 575 cars few post 1980 cars are there. These are the hard core Pontiac fans. It is not that they hate the new cars but they just don't find them as special as the Pontiac's in the past. I show a 1985 Fiero and find I am accepted pretty well just because many there feel that the Fiero was special to Pontiac warts and all. I even was awarded a Top 5 award for the event.

I am not going to say you are wrong, It is just I expect more when I buy a Pontiac than a rebodied Chevy. I am sorry I expect more and would be willing to pay more if I could get more. I just hope if they ever bring Pontiac back it will be cars no shared with Chevy, They need use GM cars not in this market like the Holden line. If they had done this in the 90's Pontiac may have survived?

Just my take and nothing to argue about. I just expect more than just a restyled Chevy.

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SEMA: HPP Comes up with its own Trans-Am Camaro kit

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2010

HPP-Trans-AM-Camaro-01.jpg

The last time we heard from Heide Performance Products (HPP), the Michigan-based tuner showcased a Daytona conversion for Dodge's Challenger. Keeping with the vintage theme, HPP is now ready to show its next pony car conversion - a Camaro-based Trans-Am kit - at this year's SEMA show in Vegas.

As with all the other Firebird body kits out there (Lingenfelter's, ASC's, etc), HPP's version does its best to bring back the good-ol' days of the screaming chicken. The results, as with any "we're selling you memories" conversion, vary.

Regarding the proposition of selling this conversion (for anything other than the collectability factor), I don't see a point. Pontiac is D-E-A-D, it's not coming back, and that means anyone's "new" Trans-Am will forever be a Chevy wearing a costume. It's similar to having a Plymouth nameplate on a modern Chrysler or Dodge; the vintage naming works for the Daytona, but not for the Superbird.

Alongside HPP's Trans-Am will be a body kit for the Camaro that helps give Chevy's kinda-sorta-dated sports coupe some extra flair. Also, HPP will have a Camaro wearing an HPP T-Top kit, too. Expect more info, including pics, pricing, and power, as it becomes available.

By Phil Alex

link:

http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2010/10/sema-hpp-comes-up-with-its-own-trans-am.html

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How did they get the rights to use "Pontiac" and "Trans Am"? GM knows about this car. I have been reading the posts. GM has to get its house in order with Cadillac, Buick, and Chevrolet. The car brands. After things are settled, GM may look at bringing Pontiac and Oldsmobile back as niche or boutique brands through the existing dealer network. They would not be full line brands. They would have three or four models tops. That is a possibility down the road after GM gets the house in order. Right now GM is focusing on conquest buyers and the mass market buyers. The niche or boutique buyers are the people on sites like this. GM reads the things you say and see your frustration. You are just going to have to wait. In the meantime, just watch GM and hope it gets back to a good place.

I know three Pontiacs GM would bring back: Firebird, Bonneville and Grand Prix. The same could be said for Oldsmobile: Ninety Eight, Toronado and Cutlass and maybe Custom Cruiser.

Just sit back and hold on and wait and watch for the other brands to be restored. In todays market it is all about styling. That is the thing that makes cars different. Nothing else does. As far as power trains, GM could easily tweak current power trains for Pontiac. There is no need for different engines.

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I know three Pontiacs GM would bring back: Firebird, Bonneville and Grand Prix. The same could be said for Oldsmobile: Ninety Eight, Toronado and Cutlass and maybe Custom Cruiser.

Well, I feel the best we can hope for is that Pontiac is a niche brand with a Firebird, a GTO (Zeta coupe) and a GrandPrix OR Bonneville (Zeta sedan/wagon). I still feel a Mini or Miata fighter would be best as Pontiacs... but it would have to be a 110% effort, which GM is not capable of.

While I'd love to see Olds come back, I don't see it happening... Olds wasn't able to keep its loyalists as long as Pontiac. A Riviera would do better than a Toronto. A Cutlass would overlap with the Pontiac Zetas... and a 98 or a Custom Cruiser as large cushmobiles, wouldn't really be true to Old's history... they'd be better as a LWB Buick Zeta with super floaty suspension. I don't see it happening.

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Well, I feel the best we can hope for is that Pontiac is a niche brand with a Firebird, a GTO (Zeta coupe) and a GrandPrix OR Bonneville (Zeta sedan/wagon). I still feel a Mini or Miata fighter would be best as Pontiacs... but it would have to be a 110% effort, which GM is not capable of.

While I'd love to see Olds come back, I don't see it happening... Olds wasn't able to keep its loyalists as long as Pontiac. A Riviera would do better than a Toronto. A Cutlass would overlap with the Pontiac Zetas... and a 98 or a Custom Cruiser as large cushmobiles, wouldn't really be true to Old's history... they'd be better as a LWB Buick Zeta with super floaty suspension. I don't see it happening.

I agree, which is a shame. At one point Olds was the "technology division" of GM...

I'd love to see it be a flagship again.

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HPP-Trans-AM-Camaro-01.jpg

Oh! Now I can see cars!!! :P

Seriously, though... I see one nice looking car (the red one) and one of the ugliest things I've ever seen (the white one).

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