2004 Pontiac GTO Coupe (488)


This week I drove the 2004 Pontiac GTO Coupe (Coo – Pay as they would pronounce in the 1940’s). You’ll definitely want to buckle up real tight and lash everything else down for rough seas when you drive this bad boy.

I have to tell you up front that the price noted below includes a $1,000 gas-guzzler tax. I agree with half of you that we should tax those who like to burn an inordinate amount of gasoline to travel one mile, while sympathizing with the other half who say, “What’s that all about?” If I burn a lot of gas I pay the tax at the pump.

Well, those who hold the power over these kinds of laws are control freaks and if they want a “Gas-Guzzler” tax they’ll find a way to convince us we need it. I think both halves would agree on that point.

Well, the GTO was first introduced in 1964 and with over half a million sold during the 10 years it was made. It has a lot of followers who think highly of that early GTO. They are primarily made up of energetic baby boomers that came of age with that James Dean rebel in them. Remember the Brando days “On the Waterfront” and “The Wild One”? It was a restless time, and cars were a symbol of freedom that gave a new meaning to independence from parents and authority. It was the vehicle that gave wings to would-be eagles. It afforded a place to experiment and spawn the next generation if you lived through the back street drags. Ok, so they weren’t simpler days and it’s time to come clean with our kids who we’ve convinced we were angles back then.

General Info:

Parts –  n/a

Assembly – Elizabeth, Australia

Class:  – Compact

Cars: – Aztek (Specialty SUV), Bonneville, Grand AM, Grand Prix, GTO, Montana (Van), Sunfire, Vibe (SUV).


Handling & Performance:

Awesome. Like, what do I need 350 horses for, dude? My brother has 20 and feeding them takes a lot of hay too. Not as much as the price of these 350 horses, but then he can only ride one at a time, while I was riding all 350 at the same time. Don’t tell the Highway Patrol. Ok so it takes brother John longer to get places but just think how much more of the countryside he gets to see. Oh for the simple life.

I note the pricey price tag on this GTO, but if you are hell bent on performance and brute force from your car, you won’t find one that will give more for the money. Example: I just finished testing the Cadillac XLR at $76,000 that will do 0-60 in about the same 5 seconds. Wanna race for pink slips? Other than racing, however, I just don’t think most folks will ever need this kind of speed capability from either car.

One last observation about these two cars – the GTO gets 21 highway mpg and the XLR is rated at 25 mpg. Why no gas-guzzler tax on the XLR? If you know I’d like to hear from you.


I don’t know about you but a GTO doesn’t look like this. Oh, this is a GTO, you say. Well, some folks will always see a GTO like they were in the mid 1960’s to the mid 1970’s.

Fit and Finish:

Actually pretty good for an American car. Ok, so it was built in Australia. But you wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t tell you. Does anyone else wonder what happened to the pride of workmanship in America? We’re not a country who reveres any more the artisan heritage from whence we came. Watchmakers and other fine skilled workers like woodworking, engraving or fine stitch work are no more. Americans simply do not have the patience for that kind of detail. So things are thrown together with little care so they can get back on the freeway and suffer even more.

Not to worry, other countries still have time even though they don’t have watches. But they too will tire of paying attention to detail in time. They will probably have watches by then too.


Not to many, but enough.


Too much for a muscle car. Nostalgia just isn’t worth the extra cost… in my view.

Consumer Recommendation:

Bargain with the dealer because you can. This has a lot of fat in it – from a profit margin standpoint. If you can disprove that statement, call me.

The competition:

Pontiac GTO $31,795, Mazda RX-8 $25-27,000, BMW 3-Series $28-44,000, Volvo C-70 $40-42,000, Chevrolet Corvette $44-52,000, Ford Mustang $18-39,000, Nissan 350 Z $26-36,000, Audi TT $33-43,000, Mercedes Benz C-Class $26-51,000, Infiniti G35 $28-32,000.

Good News:

Powerfully fun car to drive.

Bad News:

Pricey, poor mileage and a Gas Guzzler tax to add insult to injury.

Standard Equipment:

5.7 liter 350 horsepower V8 engine, 4-speed auto trans, 4-wheel independent suspension with 4-channel 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes, Traction control, power steering, dual front air bags, theft deterrent system, rear child anchors, daytime running lights, keyless entry, leather sport bucket seats with 8-way power adjustment, 200-watt 10 speaker audio system with 6 in-dash CD changer, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with radio controls, power windows and locks, driver computer system, air conditioning, cruise control and fog lamps.

Gas Stats:

16 City and 21 Highway MPG.


MSRP $33,495.

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