Americans always says that Canadians are “just like us.” They talk (almost) the same, look slightly paler, and they just happen to use those funny little kilometers per hour instead of the proper miles per hour. After much thought though, it’s the Australians that are most like Americans– especially when it comes down to the shared passion of muscle cars.
The Holden Commodore last made its appearance on our shores in 2009 as the Pontiac G8 . It was a big, full-size, four door sedan, complete with an equally big Corvette-sourced V8 engine. What’s not to love about it?
Unfortunately for us, the G8 left our market with the demise of Pontiac in 2010 and we’ve been without our fair share of Australian cars since then. But alas some good news: according to GM Inside News, the Holden Commodore has been confirmed to return to the United States as a 2014 Chevrolet SS Sedan.
Even better news follows. GM Inside News also reports that General Motors is considering bringing the Holden Commodore Ute and Commodore SportWagon to our shores as well, as the Chevy El Camino and SportWagon. If these rumors hold any water, we’d expect to see the El Camino the same time we see the SS Sedan and the Sport Wagon released soon thereafter.
For the record, this isn’t the first time these rumors have popped up. Some of you may even remember that we were supposed to get the Commodore Ute back in 2009 as the Pontiac G8 Sport Truck before the economy tanked and it was cancelled. Also in July of the same year, Bob Lutz said that the G8 would be saved and become the Chevrolet Caprice. That also turned out to be untrue although the Commodore’s big brother, the Statesman went on to become the new Caprice PPV .
While there is hope for these awesome Aussies on our shores, we’ll have to wait to believe it when we see it.
We are going to start betting on the fact that Top Gear USA is going to be a household name by the time it wraps up its third season. The show is gaining fans all over and the naysayers of the show are starting to come around.
And why shouldn’t they? With the funny challenges, the decent reviews, and the big stars, Top Gear USA is building itself up rather nicely. Let’s just hope that the balloon doesn’t deflate before we can win our little bet.
In this week’s episode, the guys from Top Gear USA run a few old GM models through a series of challenges to see which one should reenter production, Tony Hawk takes the Subaru around the Top Gear USA test track, and the news segment comes around again.
UPDATE 12/21/2010: Check out Top Gear USA’s rendering of their 2011 Buick Roadmaster in the gallery!
Hit the jump to see all of the details for this week’s episode of Top Gear USA.
The sport of Drifting is catching on like wildfire the world over, and that’s not exactly surprising considering it carries the most entertainment value of any motorsport out there. Even F1 has become mundane with cars lapping continuously in a “follow the leader” fashion for two hours. There isn’t much in the form of action, except when spectacular crashes happen, sending carbon fiber shrapnel everywhere. Not exactly safe, but it’s action nonetheless. Yes, aerodynamics make it difficult to overtake blah blah blah.
Drifting brings together the most exciting aspects of our favorite forms of racing in an exciting showcase. What could be better than watching massive horsepower cars going sideways, door to door with each other at breakneck speeds with smoke bellowing out their arches? Okay, well, participating would be better, but not all of us have the type of skill and precision needed to pull off some of these stunts. Of course, some may, so learning a bit about the best vehicles to take out onto the track is important.
The recipe for a great drift car is a generic affair with the following characteristics at the fore: RWD (Duh!), good chassis balance, engine tuneabilty, a limited slip differential, and obviously accessible tuning parts to make the aforementioned a reality. In the list below, you will find a short description on what unique attributes each of the cars bring to drifting, and hopefully will give you a better understanding of the sport and what building a good drift car requires.
Hopefully this will get you swatting bugs with your side windows in no time. Proceed with caution though, as this is a highly addictive adrenalin rush waiting to happen.
Imagine cruising along a highway on a relatively peaceful day and, all of a sudden, a Pontiac Firebird blasts through on the left side, hits the guard rail, and gets sent straight up into the air before breaking into three pieces and disintegrating in a matter of seconds right before your very eyes.
Totally unbelievable, right? It also happened. Recently, in fact.
The scene was the I-675 highway in Ohio where a police cruiser was driving along with the in-car camera turned on. What happened next was a scene straight out a Michael Bay movie. A Pontiac Firebird driven by a 19-year old blasted past the cruiser and proceeded to do the launch and crash right in front of the flabbergasted police officer.
Miraculously, the driver of the Firebird survived the crash, but is in critical condition after being airlifted to Miami Valley Hospital. While we’re hoping that he fights his way back to recovery, we don’t know what on Earth this guy was doing when he decided to use the guard rail as an off-ramp.
We thought we’d seen it all, and given the proliferation of Batmobile wannabees roaming the planet, we thought that we were safe from anything worse than what we’d already laid our eyes on. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Dead wrong.
Straight out of Ann Arbor, Michigan comes this old 1994 Pontiac Grand Am, which was regrettably turned into Bruce Wayne’s own four-wheeled machine of justice. After buying the dilapidated car for $100, the man only known as Gabe decided to do something bombastic with his new purchase. So he did what any self-respecting fan of the Dark Knight would do. He went out and turned it into his very own Batmobile.
It was tedious work, no doubt about it, but in the end, Gabe somehow managed to pull it of. Sort of.
One kicked things off with a bang; the other faded into obscurity with barely a whimper.
A few weeks after Kia celebrated its first-ever US-built vehicle, Pontiac rolled off its last US-built vehicle – a white G6 sedan – in its assembly plant in Lake Orion, Michigan. And no, there weren’t any screams of delight or champagne bottles opening, but rather a simple and eerily quiet ceremony that painted a clear picture of the what it all meant: the end for Pontiac has come.
There was a stark difference from what we saw a few weeks ago with Kia. This time, a group of employees simply took out their phones to take photos of the G6 as it was rolled out of the assembly line.
No speeches, no cheers, no hugs; just a simple send-off to one of the most iconic car brands in US auto history.
Pontiac will shut down as soon as the calendar turns to 2010 so if you’re the sentimental type and would hate to see Pontiac ride off into the sunset, now’s the time to buy your own Pontiac before stocks run out.
According to Pontiac’s Twitter page, the car brand has a little over 3,600 units left in the US with the Pontiac G8 GXP having the most limited of supplies with only 16 remaining. Stocks of the Pontiac Solstice are also running low with only 139 of the base model still remaining and 160 of the higher-end Solstice GXP coupes available.
We normally wouldn’t advise anyone to purchase a car, but if you’re a Pontiac fan, now’s your last chance to buy your favorite car before, well, supplies go kapoot.
The one comment that every automotive enthusiast made when they would pass one of these modified 2010 Chevrolet Camaro s at the 2009 SEMA Show is what kind of a bonehead move it was for GM to bring an end to Pontiac. The Firebird has always been a fan favorite for performance enthusiasts with its attractive styling, powerful engines and affordable price. Well have no fear because the screaming chicken is back, after all what is the automotive aftermarket for.
The American tuner Lingenfelter has prepared a 655 HP Trans-Am using one of American Specialty Cars conversion kits and a set of honeycomb wheels. Offering something for everyone, Smokey and the Bandit fans will appreciate the black and gold 2010 Pontiac adorned with a kit from Kevin Morgan that would even make Burt Reynolds shed a tear. Even though GM has officially ended our hopes for a new Firebird, enthusiasts can still build their own if they really want to.
Pontiac is riding off into the sunset in 2010 so it seems fitting that fans of the disheveled American car brand is taking the time to celebrate its long and illustrious history as an American car pioneer.
Organizers of the Faifield County Concours d’Elegance held a recent promotion to find the oldest Pontiac they could find from the brand’s inaugural year in 1926 so they could proudly display it at the Concours.
After months of search – with a few missed leads here and there – the organizers found a magnificently-restored 1926 two-door coach in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
The car, which is co-owned by Roy and Paul Jaszczak, is still in pretty good shape, especially when you consider that it’s around 83 years old. Apart from replacing the valves and the obviously-outdated Lindbergh tires, the coach remains in tip-top condition.
The Pontiac G8 GXP is a tremendous performance bargain, built with the best parts from the GM parts bin; the GXP offers owners quite possibly the best fun/dollar ratio on the market. It comes complete with a 19 inchCadillac CTS-V inspired wheel and brake package as well as an LS3 V8 from a Chevrolet Corvette sending 415 HP to the rear wheels via an optional six-speed manual and a very racy limited slip differential. This is all good for a quarter mile time of 13 seconds flat at 108 MPH and a 0 to 60 MPH time of, with the luxury of four doors.
There was once a Car and Driver comparison with a subtitle that read: Dundee and Goliath: A dark knight from Down Under rattles the BMW M5 , and you’ll never guess who builds it. The car that author Aaron Robinson was comparing with the luxury performance sedan back in 2001 was the Holden Commodore HSV GTS R 300. Think Cadillac Catera body on top of an LS1 Corvette power train and whatever other special parts that GM had ad their disposal. At the end of the article, the BMW squeezed ahead thanks only to fit and finish, but the fun to drive award went to the Holden. This was even more astounding because the special edition HSV was selling for only a fraction of the pride of the M lineup.
Since the turn of the century General Motors has invested heavily in their rear wheel drive platform and imported another Australian V8 super car, the Holden Monaro based GTO with LS1 power. After the initial test run, Pontiac brought over the 21st century goat’s cousin, the Commodore, except it was more commonly known at the G8, which is a tremendous performance sedan. With the recent demise of the brand the Pontiac G8 could go the same way as the ill-fated GTO, but if that means no more GXP we are going to have to ask Obama for our bail out money back. It would be just like an American automaker to kill a $37,610 sedan that makes a BMW M5 seem ridiculously overpriced. GM is offering a $3,500 cash incentive on all variations of the G8 Sedan.