2004 Pontiac GTO

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$31,795

starting MSRP

2004 Pontiac GTO

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

1 trim

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2004 Pontiac GTO review: Our expert's take

By Tom Strongman

Pontiac’s original 1964 GTO was a legendary muscle car that defined performance for thousands of baby boomers who are now in their middle 50s.

When Pontiac decided to build a new GTO, it turned to General Motors’ Holden division of Australia. A 5.7-liter Corvette engine was stuffed into the rear-wheel-drive Holden Monaro coupe, and presto, it became the reborn Pontiac GTO. Production is projected to be about 18,000 vehicles, so don’t expect to see one on every street corner.

The new GTO was met with some skepticism because it didn’t have the muscular look of the original. Because of the rounded coupe body, you may think this isn’t the same _in-your-face_ car as the original _ until you punch the gas. The Corvette motor rumbles like the soundtrack from American Graffiti, and its six-speed manual gearbox provides plenty of entertainment.

The test car was a 2004. Updated 2005s, with a bigger, 6.0-liter engine, 400 horsepower and optional hood scoops, will be in dealerships by early December. Prices may go up slightly.

But don’t let the soft looks deceive you. The GTO is all about performance, and the 2004 test car was delightful. The Corvette engine pulls hard enough to flatten any hill, and it accelerates out of a turn like Jeff Gordon in a NASCAR race. I can only imagine what the 2005 will be like with 50 more horses.

One of the beauties of a honking big V-8 is a torque curve as flat as Kansas, and the GTO’s engine is an excellent example. The optional six-speed transmission has a gear for any occasion, and the engine accelerates strongly without downshifting every time you turn a corner. Accelerate slowly from a stop, and the car’s computer forces you to shift from first to fourth to improve gas mileage. The skip-shift is one of the car’s least endearing qualities, but the engine doesn’t balk because of the relative abundance of torque. The bigger engine in the 2005 will only be better.

An automatic transmission is standard, but who wants an automatic in a muscle car? Especially one with roots in the 1960s. Not me.

The GTO’s interior has been dolled up for driving. The deeply contoured bucket seats provide excellent support for fast driving. Older folks might find them too confining, and tipping the driver’s seat forward for access to the back seat is a pain because the side bolsters hit the seat bottom. Because rear-seat legroom is pretty snug, the back seat gets used mainly for kids, pets, briefcases or grocery sacks.

Because the GTO is built in Australia, the interior had some elements that were more like those of a European car than a car built here. The Blaupunkt audio system sounded good, but the controls were frustrating to figure out.

Putting 350 horsepower to the ground effectively takes big tires and a tight suspension. The GTO has both. The 17-inch wheels are 8 inches wide and have low-profile rubber. Traction control intervenes to prevent excessive wheelspin when you punch the throttle. The four-wheel, antilock disc brakes erased speed easily.

Even though the 2005 GTO is on its way to dealers, some 2004s are still available.

Price

The 2004 test car had a base price of $32,495. The six-speed manual transmission added $695, bringing the sticker price to $33,190.

Warranty

Three years or 36,000 miles.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 4.6
  • Performance 4.9
  • Value for the money 4.8
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

4.4

One of 1,591 HO-equipped GTO Convertibles produced

One of just 1,591 HO-equipped GTO Convertibles produced in 1967, this car features a long list of coveted factory options that include an upgrade to Ram Air set up, power steering, power-assisted front disc brakes, power convertible top working 8 Track Tape Player and a 3.90:1 Safe-T-Track Posi-traction rear end. Only 1.9 percent of the total 1967 GTO production run were allocated to HO-equipped convertibles, making this car extremely rare. This Pontiac GTO presents beautifully in its Red finish with a black convertible top, highlighted by a set of Rally II rims. The interior is classic GTO with black vinyl upholstery, wood-grain dashboard, Rally gauges with a tachometer, sport steering wheel and factory-issue seat belts, both front and rear. This particular GTO is a low-production example with all of the right equipment, making this a very desirable, high-performance classic. The Rebuild and Balance of this HO 9786133 WS motor was performed by a professional engine build speed shop to provide peak performance with long engine life. The rebuild included re-work of the 670 heads, 72cc chambers with a fresh 3 angle competition valve job, resurfacing of deck, new Viton positive valve seals and new hardened exhaust seats. The 9786133 WS motor was fitted with a new complete Stroker Rotating assembly from Butler Performance with dished Forged Piston to provide 9.75:1 compression with the 72cc #670 cylinder heads fitted with a COMP Ram Air IV Cam, Scorpion Raving 1052 Roller Rocker Arms, 4 barrel Quadra-Jet with a RAM AIR configuration sitting on top of the original 9786286 intake manifold with Power Coated HO D Port Exhaust Manifolds in place for connection to the new 2.5” PYPES no X- pipe SS exhaust system, running on pump gas 92-93 octane.

4.7

It's a muscle car incognito.

This car is faster than I imagined. I bought it from a friend who kept it up very nicely. It's in beautiful shape inside and out. Everything about this car I love except for two things: 1. Getting in and out is difficult. It could just be me. 2. It's hard to see out the back window using the rearview mirror because of the angle of the back window. But other than that ... it's the bomb!!

3.1

Slowly becoming a money pit,at 80,000 miles

Great when I bought it when it was 2 yrs old,27,000 miles. I've owned it since 2007....and took good care of it,never really thrashed it. Now at 80,000 miles....new trans,waterpump,a dash wiring issue,struts too close to the tire....and I just replaced the struts again. I just got new tie rods,rack n pinion,there's a slow oil leak,power steering makes a tiny knocking noise in the left wheel. I've put 6 grand into this car....when it's now at 90,000 miles. It's a money pit.used to love it,can't stand this car now

See all 32 consumer reviews

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