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Old 10-25-2006, 04:26 PM   #1
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GTO Godfather Jim Wangers

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Interview: GTO Godfather Jim Wangers

Holden-based GTO was the right idea, says GTO Godfather Jim Wangers. So is a Holden-based Grand Prix

"It was just so right. And Bob Lutz must get a lot of the credit. He looked at what he had when he got to GM and realized Pontiac needed a rear-drive V-8 coupe. He searched all over the world and could find only one--the Holden Monaro. So he took the folks at Pontiac by the hand, sat 'em down with the Holden people, and said, 'You guys work this out.'

"I consulted with the Holden guys on the project and told them what heritage they needed to keep--not too much--but the GM people killed every single suggestion they had. They changed the GTO emblem from that nice stretched vee into that rounded thing, which was the dumbest move ever made. They allowed the hood scoop to get away from them.

"I understand the new Commodore is a sensational car. And it would make a great Grand Prix: It's virtually a four-door GTO. There's no question a rear-drive V-8 is what people want.

"The problem is GM has lost two generations of Pontiac buyers. Almost everyone under 30 grew up with a Toyota, Nissan, or Honda in the driveway, and to them a Pontiac is an Aztek. But there are a bunch of people 50 and older with money in their pocket, and they want to like a Pontiac again. You can sell them a sophisticated, get-it-done car. Just make sure you talk to the people who want to know about it."
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