In 2004, Pontiac released the 4thGeneration GTO to lackluster enthusiasm, which is sad for such a great name in the muscle car family.

Most car enthusiasts agree that the 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge is considered  one of the best muscle cars of all time. The GTO Judge came with a standard Ram Air III naturally aspirated intake, a 400 cubic inch displacement motor that produced 366 crank horsepower. The GTO sported posi-traction, power steering, and front disc brakes. The GTO Judge was an all-American embodiment of the Pontiac muscle car.

After all that nostalgia, what happened to the 4th generation GTO?

Well, first of all… It’s not American. The 2004-2006 GTO is also known as the Holden Monaro in Australia, which was based on the European Opel Omega B. Sporting the Corvette 5.7 LS1 engine in 2004, and followed by the 6.0 LS2 in 2005-2006, the 4th generation GTO had up to 400 CHP, and 400 foot-pounds of torque. The motors were mated to a 6-speed transmission that took the GTO to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.

With those specs, the GTO should have had nostalgic auto enthusiasts breaking down dealership doors to get the newer GTO. But, they didn’t. The problem with the GTO was the looks, and the fact that it isn’t American at all. As much as I hate the overused retro-styling of older cars into newer ones, the GTO could have used retro-style to its advantage. But, GM didn’t. They just took a European/Australian car, put a new grille on it, new badges, and stitched some GTO rubbish into the front seats.

Gearheads.org asked the question: Did the 4th Generation GTO kill Pontiac? My answer is mostly. Pontiac was already shin deep in the grave at this point, and the GTO was probably meant to save it, in my opinion (this conjecture has never been stated by GM).

The good news is, if you can overlook everything that turned automobile enthusiasts off about the GTO, you can get yourself a low mileage beast of a car for very little money. I just could never bring myself to that shame.