The Truth About Cars » Pontiac G8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 07 Dec 2014 13:37:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Pontiac G8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com TTAC AMA: I Own A Pontiac G8 With A Holden Commodore Conversion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ttac-ama-pontiac-g8-holden-commodore-conversion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ttac-ama-pontiac-g8-holden-commodore-conversion/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933386 This week’s AMA comes courtesy of reader APaGttH, who has a Pontiac G8 GT that has been converted into a Holden Commodore replica. Read on below to hear the story. Seeing the handwriting on the wall for Pontiac, and after my one week experience with a 2008 V6 rental, I purchased my Pontiac G8 GT in […]

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Pontiac G8 GT current state
This week’s AMA comes courtesy of reader APaGttH, who has a Pontiac G8 GT that has been converted into a Holden Commodore replica. Read on below to hear the story.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall for Pontiac, and after my one week experience with a 2008 V6 rental, I purchased my Pontiac G8 GT in May of 2009. This is an early production 2009 GT, called a 9L1 car in G8 owner lingo, built in June of 2008. The car is White Hot (or Heron White if you’re not from North America) with the premium package, sport package, and sunroof. Just 60 days after purchase, the car got shelled by a gravel truck causing over $2000 in paint, headlamp and glass damage. It was only by coincidence and blind luck that the restomod work done produced a “2010” Holden Commodore SS V-Series Special Edition. The additional modifications, and eliminating a number of GM bean counter decisions continued from there. I have drag raced, auto crossed, and lapped in the G8 and found it a very competent platform, outside of being under braked. I pulled a 13.354 quarter mile at 105.85 MPH using a Cortex tuner only on stock rubber in very damp, cold conditions at Bremerton Motorsports Park in 2009. Currently I have 34K miles and although not my retirement plan, I have no intentions of selling the garage queen. Ask your questions!
Pontiac G8 GT at Uluaru 3 Pontiac G8 GT at Ulurau 2 Pontiac G8 GT at Ulurau Pontiac G8 GT brand new and before any modifications - June 2009 Pontiac G8 GT center stack with Holden triple gauges Pontiac G8 GT current state Pontiac G8 GT engine bay plaque in kW and Nm Pontiac G8 GT Holden SS dash cluster Pontiac G8 GT Infotainment screen modified to support Vehicle In Motion showing MP3 integration Pontiac G8 GT rear with Australian license plate Pontiac G8 GT with Holden converted interior LHD
 

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Bark’s Bites: Please Stop Ruining Your G8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/barks-bites-please-stop-ruining-g8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/barks-bites-please-stop-ruining-g8/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 14:12:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930002 I have a fond spot in my heart for the Pontiac G8. I was once the proud owner of a White Hot G8 GT. I bought it new in March of 2009 and somewhat regrettably traded it in June of 2012, putting nearly eighty thousand loving miles on it along the way—you can see a […]

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markg8

I have a fond spot in my heart for the Pontiac G8. I was once the proud owner of a White Hot G8 GT. I bought it new in March of 2009 and somewhat regrettably traded it in June of 2012, putting nearly eighty thousand loving miles on it along the way—you can see a picture of mine from the day I brought it home at the top of this page. Sure, I endured the occasional broken crankshaft, and yes, the interior would have been better suited to a $15K Cobalt or G3 rather than a halo car, but what a machine! It combined 361 horsepower derived from a massive 6.0 liter V8 engine with all the interior and trunk space anyone could ever need. Of course, there was also the much-less-desirable-but-still-decent V6 variant, well as the unicornish GXP, which was avaiable with a 6MT and shared the Camaro SS’ 6.2 liter LS3, generating a diff-crunching 412 horsepower.

Unfortunately, the untimely demise of Pontiac led to a very small production run for the G8—fewer than forty thousand of them were made in total. Therefore, on the rare occasion that I see one on the road (I actually saw my old car on the road recently), I can’t help but smile.

Lately, however, when I see one, I’m more likely to cringe than smile.

The sticker price on my G8 in 2009 was roughly $34k—that was for a G8 GT Premium Sport package with every available option checked, including leather, roof, 19″ rims, leather-wrapped steering wheel, etc. In 2014 dollars, that’s a little more than $38k. Not a huge amount of money, but it was enough to ensure that most G8s were purchased by middle-class consumers who likely had little to no interest in doing severe cosmetic modifications to their cars.

However, as G8 transaction prices continue to dip well under $20k, I’m starting to see a lot more of them that look like this:

redblackg8

Or this:

carbonfiberg8

Or this:

stripeg8

Or, God forbid, this:

neong8

STOP IT.

The G8 was an aggressively styled car, to be sure, but it had an air of class about it. People who didn’t know exactly what it was often confused it with the car against which it was specifically benchmarked—the E60 BMW 5 series. It was a car that an executive could have driven and not looked out of place.

It was never meant for the Fast and Furious set. Unfortunately, as the cars become more affordable, the owners are trending younger, dumber, and less tasteful. As a result, most G8 forums have turned into a place where the Signal to Noise ratio is about 1:100. You’re much more likely to see a video of somebody laying waste to a V6 Mustang at a stoplight than anything else.

Normally, these sorts of rolling atrocities, when done to something like a Civic, don’t particularly bother me—it’s your car, your money, do what you want. But there were less than forty thousand G8s made. That means that every time you decide to put neon on a G8, or lower one to where it hits the bumpstops, or put Plasti-Dipped TR Motorsports wheels on one, you are doing the automotive equivalent of putting a Mickey Mantle rookie card in the spokes of your bicycle wheel. No, I don’t think that G8s will ever be worth any money as a collector’s car, but for those who want one there just aren’t going to be that many of them available on the used market. Couldn’t you just take your $18K and go ruin a WRX or Eclipse instead? Here, I’ll help you find an E36 on AutoTrader. Or if you really want an American (sorta) V8-powered sedan, buy a Charger R/T and go nuts with tasteless mods (like every other Charger owner ever). Just leave the G8s alone!

It wouldn’t be so bad if travesties like the ones pictured were somewhat of an occasional transgression, but the G8 pages and boards are full of them. I fear the day is coming soon when finding an unmodified G8 GT will become impossible, much like finding a Sentra SE-R with an virgin SR20DE. Listen, if you simply must modify a G8, keep it simple—buy some Kooks headers. Get a set of nice Koni Yellows. I don’t dig the total de-badged look, but, hey, there are worse things you could do (LIKE PUT NEON ON IT).

So, please, keep your G8 stock. If you won’t do it for me, do it for the kids. Or the whales. Or the epileptic dogs. Thanks, and Lutz bless you.

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GM’s wishful thinking swallows the Pontiac G8, spits out the Chevrolet SS. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/gms-wishful-thinking-swallows-the-pontiac-g8-spits-out-the-chevrolet-ss/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/gms-wishful-thinking-swallows-the-pontiac-g8-spits-out-the-chevrolet-ss/#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2012 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=468756 A couple of years ago, I attended my last General Motors press event. It was the debut of the Cadillac CTS-v Coupe and it was held at the Monticello country-club racetrack. I recall being impressed with the car, and I recall being impressed with Mark Reuss, the second-generation GM executive who brought his own helmet […]

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A couple of years ago, I attended my last General Motors press event. It was the debut of the Cadillac CTS-v Coupe and it was held at the Monticello country-club racetrack. I recall being impressed with the car, and I recall being impressed with Mark Reuss, the second-generation GM executive who brought his own helmet and his Grand-Am license to the event. Like Bob Lutz, Reuss is a big, handsome, improbably wealthy fellow who travels with a personal assistant, speaks in a no-nonsense tone, and carries himself with impervious confidence.

My attitude to the superstar dudes of the industry closely parallels that of O’Shea Jackson (warning: listening to that song at work will GET YOU FIRED) so I didn’t bother to chat Mr. Reuss up until we found ourselves side by side in the airport terminal. I asked him his opinion of the handling differences between the various CTS bodystyles, listened to him tell a couple of stories about road racing, and received some mild chastisement for turfing “his” Cadillac at high speed. It wasn’t until my flight home was halfway over that I realized: Yeah, he’s a great guy, but his company is failing miserably and he really isn’t doing anything to stop it. GM is chock-full of likable, even admirable people who are nevertheless collectively part of a great tragedy. It really doesn’t matter how “cool” a guy like Mark Reuss is. He’s being beaten out of his socks by “uncool” people at other companies, and as automotive journalists we’re not serving the truth if we don’t remind our readers of that simple fact every time it’s necessary. Every single time. Even if nobody else is willing to discuss the enormous elephant in the room — you know, the one with “18% Market Share” and “Bailout” and “Worst Product Line In the Industry” tattooed all over its wrinkly bottom.

So with that in mind, let’s talk about the new “Chevrolet SS”.

TTAC wasn’t invited to the Las Vegas party for the NASCAR SS, so we’ll have to rely on Autoblog’s Jonathon Ramsey, who sat with Mr. Reuss at lunch and faithfully reported the great man’s words. Readers who want the complete remarks should read the article, which is entitled “How the SS will become Chevy’s four-door Corvette halo car”. Much of the article discusses NASCAR’s struggles to maintain a competitive balance while still giving the viewing audience a field of cars that at least vaguely resembles what’s available at dealerships. I’d like to skip over that and concentrate on Reuss’s remarks regarding the 2014 Chevrolet SS.

If you’re just arriving on the Internet, here’s the scoop: For a third time, GM is trying to bring over one of its rear-wheel-drive Australian cars for American consumption. The first effort was the Pontiac GTO, which was nice big coupe caught in an unfortunate crossfire of dealer greed and almost perfect resemblance to the Chevrolet Cavalier of the time. The Pontiac G8 sedan which followed was well-liked but couldn’t compete effectively with the Camry on one side and the Chrysler LX-platform cars on the other. Will the third time be a charm? Ramsey writes

There are two vital ways in which the SS will not be The Pontiac G8 2.0, however: It’s going upmarket and it’s not for the masses. In fact, Reuss said the SS is a completely different car from the G8, specifically in terms of refinement and NVH, and that’s before you get to the high-power small-block V8 that, in his words, makes the SS “a four-door Corvette.”

That’s odd; I seem to recall that the Pontiac G8 GXP had a high-power small-block V8 from the two-door Corvette. Still, there’s a kernel of sense in this popcorn bag of insanity. Your humble author found the V-6 G8 to be a pretty decent ride, but the rest of the market clearly preferred the V-8 models. Like it or not, the day when regular American families wanted a 200-inch-long rear-wheel-drive V-8 sedan for everyday use is long gone, and most of the families who do want that are probably better served by the Chrysler LX cars with their superior electronics and look-at-me styling. Why not make an ornament of an inconvenience and pitch this relatively low-volume car upmarket where you can make money on the few you will sell? Now for the rest of the popcorn bag:

Any time you mention the word Corvette, you’re probably not talking about an inexpensive car… Therefore, Chevy is treating the SS like a halo car: Instead of making grand predictions about production volumes or churning out a performance car that sits on dealer lots, Reuss said, “We will fill the orders of the people who want them.”

Gotcha. That’s manufacturer code-speak for “we asked the dealers about it and they didn’t want any inventory, not at what we’re charging”. Earlier in the interview, Reuss says the decision to bring the SS to America is “all about racing”. So why bother with the car at all? I don’t want to sound like I’m not a fan of auto racing — I’ve certainly spent a lot of my own time and money doing it — but shouldn’t GM be focusing its competitive efforts on the marketplace rather than the Talladega 400? What’s the point of bringing over a car you can’t sell and spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting it? Wouldn’t that money be better spent developing solid product? Furthermore, the company is still on the receiving end of taxpayer money, making this decision to go racing look uncomfortably like a stereotypical welfare recipient’s decision to spend his welfare check on drugs or liquor while his children starve at home.

As for the name, there is a bit of heritage to the SS badge as a nameplate, but it seems this was more about steering clear of what has come before… “We raced the Impala, Monte Carlo, Regal, Grand Prix, and they were all front-wheel-drive in their last [production] versions,” Reuss said, “and we didn’t want to come up with a new name for it.” As such, what’s happening now is also about returning some lustre to the SS badge, assuming it wins on Sunday come 2013: Reuss said he purged all of the SS models from the Chevrolet line-up except on the Camaro because none of the other offerings were about increased performance, only trim pieces, which is a bit of a slap in the face to an acronym for “Super Sport.”

I’ve yet to speak to anybody who thinks calling this Australian sedan the “Chevy SS” is a good idea. It’s just as stupid as, oh, let’s come up with a few other takes on the subject:

  • The Honda Si
  • The Ford LX
  • The Toyota GT-S
  • The Nissan GT-R… oh, damn.

The prospective “Chevy SS” buyer will probably spot other “SS” cars during his test drive: a Trailblazer SS, a Malibu Maxx SS, a Cobalt SS, an HHR SS. If he’s particularly lucky, he will see one of the non-supercharged Monte Carlo SS models. None of those will have ever cost what the “Chevy SS” does. He might see a Camaro SS, but the Camaro SS is at best third place in the Camaro hierarchy, below the ZL-1 and the 1LE. If he buys the “Chevy SS”, he will have the unenviable task of explaining to his neighbors what he’s purchased, said conversation likely being made additionally difficult by most people’s awareness that SS has meant a trim level of some type since time immemorial. “A Chevy SS what?”

“Uh, a Chevy SS.”

“Yes, but what kind?”

“Just, um, a Chevy SS.”

Assuming this “halo sedan” costs at least forty-five thousand bucks, which is what a G8 GXP would cost today, it’s easy to conjure any number of more satisfying conversations that someone might be able to have with their neighbors for that kind of money, and none of them involve General Motors products. Speaking of: will this sedan be permitted to be as fast as, say, a Cadillac CTS-V? If not, how much slower will it be? Will it be faster than the regular CTS 3.6? If so, then why would anybody buy the Cadillac? Why, exactly, does Chevrolet need a “halo car”? Shouldn’t the Chevrolet buyer be aspiring to a Buick or Cadillac? How many high-dollar halo performance sedans does GM need, particularly in an era where they can’t even be bothered to engineer their own small cars?

It’s also a little confusing to read Mr. Reuss’s assertion that the “SS” is called the “SS” because calling it anything else would have required a “new name”. I’m no Chevy historian but I can think of a few names which would have some positive associations. Biscayne. Bel Air. Chevelle. Eurosport. Just kidding about that last one. If none of those work, why not really put some juice behind the “four-door Corvette” idea and call it the “Corvette Touring”? That’s no less credible than, say, the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe.

In the end, it won’t matter. The “SS” is doomed, as DOA as its predecessors were. The market for an upmarket halo Chevrolet with a silly name just isn’t that good in the current economic climate — or any other. Not that the auto media will bother to tell you about that. They’ll fawn over the car, enjoy the lavish press event, burn the back tires off the “long-term tester”, then write a wistful article about what a great used-car value it is after GM cancels the program in 2016 or so.

Still, it didn’t have to be this way. It would be nice to have a time machine, wouldn’t it? We could go back to 2003 or thereabouts and convince GM to bring the GTO over as the Chevrolet Chevelle. It would have been a nice fit in the lineup and the resemblance to the Cavalier would have been a benefit, not a hindrance. The revised G8-based Chevelle would have brought volume and repeat customers to Chevy stores instead of clogging up soon-to-be-closed Pontiac dealerships. By the third generation, the cars could be made in the United States, serving the livery and police markets as well as providing a genuine alternative to the Dodge Charger. The feckless new-gen Malibu and an Azera-alike Impala wouldn’t be quite so disappointing with a $28,000 V-6 Chevelle next to them on showroom floors. Everybody wins.

Of course, if you really had access to a time machine you wouldn’t bother to visit the General Motors of 2003. You’d buy stocks during the Crash of ’29. You’d sneak into Versailles and impress Marie Antoinette with your iPad. Or you might do something that has always been near and dear to my academic heart; you’d travel back to the final days of Imperial Rome to find out why the greatest civilization in history up to that point simply gave up and let the barbarians storm the gates. Imagine the final emperors, serene in their bubbles of misinformation and fawning praise, believing they would continue to rule even as their doom was laid plain for all to see.

Time machines are a fantasy, but I don’t need one to know what a Roman emperor looked like before the fall. I’ve seen it with my own eyes — and so has Jonathon Ramsey.

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Regal: More Than Just Bred On the Autobahn http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/regal-more-than-just-bred-on-the-autobahn/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/regal-more-than-just-bred-on-the-autobahn/#comments Thu, 12 Nov 2009 14:51:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=335086 The single trim level is what tipped us off, and if we’d looked closer at its spec sheet, we’d have seen that its manufacturing location is listed as “Rüsselsheim, Germany.” Automotive News [sub] reports that Regal will be built in Germany for 15 months before production shifts to Oshawa. Which makes the Regal even more […]

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Born and bred in Deutschland

The single trim level is what tipped us off, and if we’d looked closer at its spec sheet, we’d have seen that its manufacturing location is listed as “Rüsselsheim, Germany.” Automotive News [sub] reports that Regal will be built in Germany for 15 months before production shifts to Oshawa. Which makes the Regal even more of an odd duck. In addition to being stuck into GM’s bursting lineup of Epsi-II midsize sedans, it’s also losing whatever profit it might have made on the dismal foreign exchange rate and the boat ride over from Europe. Or it will be just plain overpriced. Think of it as the love child between a Saturn Astra and a Pontiac G8. And another sign that some things never change.

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