Today I'm giving you a preview of my new weekly 2015 feature : Forgotten Classics.
The goals of this series of essays will be to bring cars that are getting no love back in the limelight. FC is also a thorough analysis of why such cars remained obscure and never got the praise they deserved.
Subject of today's special Christmas edition is the 7th generation of the Pontiac Grand Prix in top of the line GXP trim, featuring a 5.3L LS4 V8 engine.
Introduced in 2003 as a 2004 model, the seventh gen Grand Prix was quite the looker. Wide, long and low, it meant business. Under the hood was a selection of two 3.8L V6's (one being Supercharged) and a 5.3L V8.
This particular GXP trim of the Grand Prix meant a lot for Pontiac, it was basically an E55 AMG for people on a budget. Now, before throwing tomatoes at me for the above statement, I know it had a few shortcomings compared to the MB, but it was only half the price, so it's hard to complain.
The list of goodies on the GXP model didn't stopped there. Performance suspension : Check. Performance brakes : Check. Performance tires : Check. Performance front seats with leather and white stitching: Check. Performance exhaust system that goe BBRRRRRPRPP : check, Aluminium pedals : Check. And the list goes on an on.
Inside the GXP was a driver oriented dash for enhanced hoonage. It also featured a screen which was a novelty for the era.
The interior was also a lot cleaner compared to previous Pontiac cars. It was a clear sign that Pontiac was going back to its roots of pure performance.
The whole dashboard was made so the driver could concentrate on clipping that apex rather than asking himself : "hey what's that button for?".
On the outside, Pontiac applied the same ideology of not overdoing things. Gone was the plastic cladding of the 90's and the useless rear spoilers, the GXP was looker in a very German kind of way; muscular but classy.
The immense amount of torque and power the LS4 delivered made this car capable of tremendous accelerations, watch this video and see how it pull to 100 MPH, just astonishing. And that sound.
Used examples can now be found for real cheap, but why ? There's a lot of theories about that, but I think the lack of marketing efforts and the poor brand perception at the time are the main culprits.
Not many GXP were sold, and nobody ever talks about them now. I think it's sad because they are very capable and affordable enthusiasts cars that are slowly dying alone like 10 years old mixed race dogs in a shelter.
Let's not wait until they're listed on Hagerty's extinct car list to give them some love.
See you all in 2015, stay safe !