An in-car video of Hill driving the 250 GTO, minus sound, narration, or anything else that would get in the way.. Just listen to this magnificent car and enjoy!!
Pontiac Rust in Peace 1926 to 2009
The fourth generation GTO is a rebadged G3 Holden Monaro; wholly manufactured and imported from Australia for the N, American markets. Bob Lutz, a board member of GMC in the States, had read an article in Car and Driver magazine on the power and performance of the Holden Monaro. Bob later drove a Monaro while on a business trip to Australia, which convinced him it would be the perfect car for the American muscle car market revival and a profitable venture for GMC. The idea is also attractive to General Motors because it promotes a closer relationship with GMC internationally owed holdings. The Monaro receives a new “Pontiac” looking grill insert, the GTO motif is embossed into the front seats and a tuned exhaust are the biggest changes made. The original Monaro style duel exhaust is kept, but the rumble emitted from the twin tailpipes is reminiscent of the Iconic ‘’60’s GTO and not by accident. The sounds had been stored in GMC’s historical archives and these recordings were studied in detail to achieve a similar sound effect for the new GTO. The Holden Monaro genuine duel exhaust system is duplicated and the two independent pipes exit the vehicle at the rear, both on the driver’s side, but with the right sound.
The car is factory equipped with a 5.7 Liter LS1 V8 engine, which is the same power plant under the hood of the ’04 Corvette, and it is bolted to a four speed automatic or the six speed standard transmission. The G4 GTO can do 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.4 seconds and will do the quarter mile in 13.8 seconds, according to Pontiac tests and is backed up by assorted magazine tests as well. Mr. Lutz engineered the importing of the new GTO, but the original price tag had been inflated from the $25,000 USA funds to more than $34,000 by the time the vehicle was actually landed in the USA, partially due to a drop in the value of the greenback in relation to the Ozzy currency.
The American public received the vehicle coolly, not only due to its high initial cost, but the GTO was also a little non-descript looking to appeal to true muscle car fans. The majority of performance demanding buyers were more attracted to the Ford Mustang, Dodge Magnum or the Chrysler 300. It is 2004 before the Monaro reaches here, after making revisions to meet our stricter crash test standards. There were only 13,569 sold in ’04 of the 15,728 units that were shipped, or almost 15% less than the original 18.000 ordered. A dealer installed sport appearance package was offered in ‘04 that would become basic equipment next year consisting of a deeper inset grill and a taller spoiler on the rear deck. The last 794 GTO models to enter the country all came with the W40 appearance pack which included a pulse red exterior paint, matching red embroidery on the seats and a gray colored instrument cluster.
For 2005 the rear fascia is refreshed and the latest GTO is now basically equipped with optional hood scoop from last year and there are now 18 inch rims also on the table. The biggest news is a new 5.96 Liter (364.1 cu in) LS2 engine that delivers 400 hp (300 kW) and produces 400 lb-ft. (542 N·m) of torque. GMC published test results for a GTO powered by the LS2 engine equipped with the automatic transmission rate the car at 0-60 (97 km/h) in 4.8 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.3 seconds achieving 105 mph (169 km/h) in the process. Car and Driver does a similar test with a standard transmission GTO turned in an 11.7 second time going from 0-100 mph (160 km/h) and 0-130 mph (209.2 km/h) in 19.6 seconds, but equipped with BFGoodrich g-force 17 inch rubber.The car is equipped with a heavier drive shaft, upgraded half shafts and a bigger flange on the differential to handle the added power. The newer version also adds larger rotors and calipers complete with other hardware which are the same as the Corvette’s. The instrument readout graphics have been changed in all units for ‘05 and there is a new dealer installed Sport Appearance Package available. This pack adds aftermarket muffling system complete with four exhaust pipes, a different spoiler, altered rocker panels, a more recessed grill, then also includes a front and rear fascia extension kit to give a ground hugging look. There were only 24 units of the GTO sold to customers without a hood scoop and 17 units that left the factory with the chrome rim option out of a total of 11,069 vehicles imported in ‘05.
There are only a few minor changes in 2006 for the GTO with a slight increase in the units sold this year and a total production of 40,808 units over the three year run.
The 1970 GTO was not available with hidden head lights they were replaced by four round head lamps outside of the grill although the car still retained the protruding hood ridge as well as the Endura (low impact speed - no damage) cover around the bumper, head lights, and grill. The GTO was made more stable with the addition of a rear sway bar which complemented the heavier front sway bar to reduce the lean and the under steer. A handling option made available in 1970 was “variable ratio steering” which reduced the turning radius by about 8% from lock-to-lock.
In 1970 the GTO economy engine was deleted, while the basic engine remained the same, while the Ram Air III and Ram Air IV power option were both sold but the latter was a special order. The new power option available was Pontiac's 455 HO long stroke slightly different from the one offered in 1971-72 model years. This new engine was about the same power as the Ram series but it was less difficult to keep running smoothly at low speeds and it did not have the ropy idle associated with the Rams. A rare option made available in 1970, for a short time only, was “Vacuum Operated Exhaust” (VOE) activated with an under dash lever marked “exhaust” which reduced back pressure when accelerating; the result was the engine had a little more power but a lot more noise. The only engine with this option is the “YS” 400 CID 350 hp equipped with a four speed manual or the turbo-hydra-matic transmission; very rare with 233 units leaving the assembly room so equipped. Skyrocketing insurance rates applied to muscle cars in 1970 contributed to the downward spiral of sales but GTO was still the third bestselling car in its class.
In 1971 the GTO had a few changes in front; the head lamps were closer together, horizontal bumper bars added, with the duel hood scoops moved further forward towards the restyled wire mesh grill. This year the Ram engine series was not available. The basic option was the 400 CID V8 but with lower compression and lower horse power than previous years. The 400 engine is rated at a modest 300 hp (220 kW) at 4,800 rpm. All the engines had a more conservative compression ratio as G.M. was gearing up for the non-leaded fuels soon to come on line. The second engine available is the 455 CID V 8 with a four barrel carburetor which developed 325 hp (242 kW) at 4,400 rpm and was only available with the Turbo-Hydra-matic TH-400 transmission. The power engine option is the new 455 HO V 8 with a four barrel rated at 335 hp (250 kW) at 4,800 rpm. The standard rear end is an open ten bolt with posi-trac available as an option on the 400 engine but the 455 engine could have been ordered with a 12 bolt rear end with posi-trac as a second option. The 455 with a four speed could do 0-60 in 6.1 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds reaching 102 mph (164 km/h). “The Judge” GTO was retired in February 1971.
Our Canadian cousins had a Pontiac Beaumont available as an option for the Acadian from 1962-‘65, but it is a separate model from ’66 through “69. For these four years the Beaumont looks almost identical to a Chevelle from the same period. The tail lights are the only exterior feature that is unique to the Beaumont.
The Beaumont has a dashboard the same as the Pontiac Tempst/LeMans high performance GTO. Poniac’s arrowhead motif has either the fleur-de-lis or two red maple leaves added as a distinguishing feature. Body styles offered include two sedans, two hardtops, a convertible and a wagon. The four door hardtop was not a big seller and is the rarest of the Beaumont line, making it highly collectable today with any drive train. The trim levels are basic, custom, Deluxe and the performance Sport Deluxe (SD) line-up which compares to the Chevelle SS.
Prior to 1968 the SD is a trim option, but for the last two years it is only available with the 396 under the hood. The SD package could have been ordered with the two door hardtop or the convertible models. Like its sibling, the Beaumont SD has the bucket seats and center console available, but would also have body striping and chrome trim identical to the SS Chevelle. The Rally wheels are borrowed from the Chevelle, but they would be fitted with LeMans wheel covers. The engine and drive chain are from the Chevelle, with its full range of three six cylinder engines, including the OHV in-line six, five small block V8’s and the big block Mark IV 396 producing 350 hp. The transmission could be the two speed Powerglide or three speed Turbo-Hydramatic, or the three speed standard on the column, but the four speed floor shifter is the top performance choice.
The most desirable Beaumont to collectors is the SD396 with a four speed standard transmission and could have been ordered through-out the models production run. In 1968 there were only 65 Beaumont convertibles produced, all of which had the 396 under the hood. Harsher winter conditions north of the border coupled with low production numbers have made the Beaumont a very rare, but highly collectable. As a separate model, there were only a few more than 72,000 Beaumont models leave the Canadian production line in four years for the domestic market. The Beaumont was also exported from Canada to Costa Rica, with GM South Africa and GM Chile manufacturing them domestically.