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Companies often think up bold ideas and present them without any remorse. What happens is either the audience is extremely receptive or they downright hate it. The latter happens far more often than the former. A lot of car companies have experimented with designs and concepts throughout the years.
In fact, the very reason you see a tremendous amount of popular and varied car designs is a result of this experimentation. You might be thinking as to how you cannot recollect an example of a failed design. It is probably because it was unmemorable or that there have been so many to keep track of. Both of it is possible, however, there are a few ideas that can and have been endearing.
The biggest example that springs to our mind are the Pontiac truck and it is also the topic of this article. The Pontiac brand has built some extremely memorable cars throughout its years. Pontiac met its demise in 2009 after GM decided to shut down the company. However, that does not dissuade us to talk about an iconic car, one that combined the design of its sedan with the features of a truck.
Why did it never come to fruition?
The answer is a bit tricky; as GM did actually bring the Pontiac truck to life. In Australia, Pontiac sold a version of the famous GTO called the G8. It had a V8 engine and was loved on the continent. For Australians, however, there was an even more desirable version made available. A car-truck hybrid called the Ute was very popular in Australia. Funnily enough, it was manufactured by the Holden brand which was also under GM.
A bit confusing, we know, the point here is that Pontiac knew the American market wanted a car of the same specifications. After all the United States once had cars with pickup truck features back in the 1980s. The likes of Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero once dominated the roads.
A Pontiac truck 1980 was not too far out of the picture, it just never had a stable platform to be built on and by the time it was a concept, the auto industry moved onto other things.
Despite that, the Holden Ute in Australia existed without any issues and remains running to this day. As the American market yearned for a Ute of their own specifications, the Pontiac G8 was set to make its debut on American shores in 2008.
The reignition during 2008
The car market wanted something new and the Pontiac brand was poised to deliver. After years of promise, an actual Pontiac truck was unveiled at the 2008 New York Auto Show. It was a rebadged version of the Holden Ute carrying a 326 bhp V8 engine. The car was termed a sports sedan. It was all set to go into production and would carry the name of a Pontiac G8 sport truck.
Pontiac G8 sport truck: The car that never was
In the chaos between the announcement, the expected sales timeline of the Fall of 2009, the company fell into a huge problem. It spiraled into huge debts and the Pontiac truck was only a prototype. GM was facing bankruptcy and had to let go of the Pontiac Brand. The disastrous consequences of the housing bubble robbed the American public of a car they had dreamed of.
Despite the closure of the Pontiac brand, GM still ran and operated the Holden brand in Australia. GM imported the Holden Commodore as the Chevy SS. It was sold between 2014-17 and it attracted more eyes than ever before. There was once again a distinct possibility that GM would bring back the infamous Pontiac G8 sport truck, with a different branding of course.
However, all hopes were dashed when GM decided to wind down the production of the Holden Commodore itself. In 2017, the Holden brand itself was closed down and now the Utes are becoming a rare commodity.
Plans for a new Pontiac truck?
The American dream of seeing a unique car-based high-performance truck is never out of the realm of possibility. Pick-up trucks are transitioning into some of America’s most popular cars and there is no reason to think that the Pontiac truck could return in some shape or the other. Perhaps GM will revisit the various concepts and prototypes that were set to find some success in the late 2000s.
What to do if you are really looking for one?
We do our research well. If you really want a Ute, there is a company based out of Colorado that can get you one. They import some Utes from Australia, strip it down, and remake it for American Roads. It is aptly named Left-hand Utes. They also rebuild the car from other compatible cars such as the Chevy SS, Caprice, a Pontiac GTO, and a G8.
This makes their Ute a car that can be easily retained and maintained well. The usage of parts also means that the cars can be titled and registered in the United States without any hitches. As the car happens to be a niche, you can customize it to a great deal. The Lefthand Utes are rather expensive though. The range starts off at 35,000$ and can go all the way up to 125,00$. If you really want a car of this caliber, you should most definitely get it.
The concept and why it would have been a success
To put it simply, the car would have thrived in the market. The Pontiac truck might even have brought around the revolution of pickup trucks much faster than the Ford Raptor did. The design merged the glancing and swept up looks of the Pontiac GTO, the iconic grille, the bumper, and the demeanor to go along with a rear that not only elongated the car but also gave it purpose. Couple that with a powerful engine and you got a car that would brush aside even the most capable of sports cars, it was a recipe for victory.