If I were the Emperor from Star Wars, I would start this article as „there is a great disturbance in the Force”. But you don’t have to be a Jedi or a Sith to sense the consuming budget crisis, we are in the midst of it thus everyone is exposed to it.
Now, there are rumors around the Globe that Chrysler would cease to exist for good but currently they are in a discussion with Fiat for future cooperating, also, the Italian manufacturer is in talks with Opel for the German GM „embessador” is threatened by bankruptcy. Vauxhall, however seems to be fitted by GM’s promise that they will be converted to post-Daewoo Chevrolet producers, nothing is official yet.
However, the first two official victims of the crisis has already named: first Saturn then Pontiac.
The good news: concerning Saturn, in the past years it had been recorded as the „Opel-in-America” brand, its death actually means good for muscle-enthusiasts: in GM’s reorganization it seems Buick will take Saturn’s position as the rumor says. And you already know what I’m thinking, right?
In China, the latest model, the Insignia is being sold as the Buick Regal. Mind that, the upscaled versions of the Insignia come with V6 Turbo engines, the top one with all-wheel drive. See if we can get a Buick Grand National in the not too distant future! And the Opel Insignia OPC/Vauxhall Insignia VXR is soon to be out on market thus the potential GN has already arrived.
The bad news is that the late performance division of GM had been on diet for the past years and have not been produced anything relevant except the rebadged Holden Monaro, sold as the Pontiac GTO… Mind that, that was the car that revived our modern muscle-car craze. I mean you could get SS versions of various Chevrolets before the GTO as well, but the return of the legendary nameplate marked the revival of the muscle car era for good for these three letters had been worn by the first ever muscle car. It was followed by the retro-designed Mustang, the revived Charger and Challenger and currently the brand new Camaro…
…which set high anticipations for people being hungry for a new Trans Am, but this dream has ended forever. Although ASC was clever enough to grab the opportunity and we were able to have a look at a concept a few days ago that showed a redesigned Camaro fitted with a new front and back-panels to resemble a new Trans Am. Such as the Cuda versions of new Challengers I guess this again will be realized because no one has ever forgotten Burt Reynolds or the Hoff…
So you might be sorry that you cannot afford the brand new Camaro even without the Trans Am package but fear not! There are plenty of cars out there waiting for YOU to have them rebadged to Pontiac!
Let’s take the most immediate examples first, the two most well-known: the GTO and the Trans Am. The Opel Kadett E that were also sold as Daewoo Racer and Vauxhall Astra as well were badged as Pontiac LeMans on the US market. The Pontiac LeMans is the key to all American muscle cars: first it was a trim package for the Tempest just to be turned into a new model. Later on the LeMans also got a performance package: the GTO. Yes, it is the father of the first muscle car making the ugly-looking Kadett related to the Holden Monaro. Kadetts are no longer sold but its successor has a great fame all around the world. As it was sold in Britain so it was run further on: under the Astra nameplate. All over the globe the Astra was badged under all the trademarks of GM: Opel, Vauxhall, Chevrolet, Holden, Saturn and it is being rumored that this will be the first Opel to be sold under the Buick badge in North America. Following the analogy: if the GTO was a somewhat successor and empowered version of the LeMans then it means that the Opel OPC/Vauxhall VXR IS the current GTO! Right? Just like the Insignia OPC being the Grand National. Or followed by another analogy: the GSi version of the Kadett is again a performance package so tell me what it is? Yes, it is a GTO once yet!
To add another twist to it: the Daewoo Racer had its own successors as well. First, the Daewoo Lanos that was followed by the Kalos, which is the current Chevrolet Aveo that is also named as Pontiac G3 and Wave. Analogy again: these SHOULD be the GTO but they are just not: neither of them has performance packages… that is a luck!
Ultimately the winners of this round are the Opel Kadett/Vauxhall Astra GSi, the Opel Astra OPC/Vauxhall Astra VXR/Holden Astra HSV and the Holden Astra GSi/South-African Opel Astra GSi.
You can also badge almost everything to Pontiac that had something to do with GM. Suzukis, some Toyotas one Honda, Isuzu and so on. Any today’s Chevrolet can turned into some Pontiac if it is an upscaled version. You just have to be a little cunning and make up some floppy ideas.
There is one problem though: you will not be able to convert anything to Trans Am. The problem is, that both the Camaro and the Firebird were build on the F-platform. There are numerous cars built on the Zeta-platform but the Camaro is iconic. It is inseperable from the Trans Am and vice versa.
Are you willing to revive that has been lost? I’m afraid the performance-car industry is in danger. There is nothing in-between ultimate supercars and compact vehicles. Don’t let it go!
Right, Mr. Racer X?
„Kid, go-faster stripes won’t do a thing. Power is power!”
Good for you, you get any car you want…
You can read this article at this address as well: http://www.nextautos.com/recycled-performance-badge