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 that gives a sizzling report on the power and performance of this Holden model; then later on he drove a Monaro while on a business trip to Australia.
The car was factory equipped with a 5.7 Liter LS1 V8 engine, which is the same engine as the ’04 Corvette, and it could be bolted to a four speed automatic or the six speed standard transmission. The man became convinced that this would be the perfect car for the American muscle car market revival and would be a profitable venture for GMC. The idea is also attractive to General Motors because it promotes a closer relationship with GMC internationally.
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, although this is not by accident. These sounds had been stored in GMC’s historical archives and the recordings were studied in detail to achieve a similar sound for the new GTO. The Holden Monaro genuine duel exhaust system is duplicated and the two pipes exit the vehicle at the rear, both on the driver’s side. 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 does seem to be close to accurate, 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, mostly 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 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 of the 15,728 shipped units that were 13,569 sold in ’04 which is less than the original 18.000 units ordered. A dealer installed sport appearance package was offered in ‘04 that would become basic equipment next year included 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.