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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK...this is too weird.

A lady here at my new gig and I were talking today. She asked if I was the one with the Yeallow GTO...I confessed. She asked me how I liked it. I told her that I think it's a great car...fast, solid, and comfortable. She agreed and told me a story about how she and her husband borrowed one and had a blast melting the rear tires into slag near their home-- much to the chagrin of their neighbors.

When she left, one of the IT guys spoke up. "You know who she is, right?"

"I dunno...she works over in North Shop, right?"

He nodded. "Yeah. Also, her Dad is Bob Lutz."

"The Bob Lutz? As in the GM VP Car Czar Guy Bob Lutz?"

"The very one."

So, I fired off an email to the lady, asking her to please pass on to her Dad about how much I like the GTO (his brainchild), and how it wooed a hard-core German import guy over to an American drivetrain.

I get an email back:

Bob, please YOU tell him...he will LOVE to hear that...he is addicted to his blackberry...he will respond. There was just a really nasty letter in automotive news form a Chevy dealer saying that he would rather drive a Chrysler 300 than almost anything GM makes. He stated that Bob has NOT delivered the hot cars he promised, so poor Dad could use a boost. He has a pretty tough job right now.
So, I did.

Hello Mr. Lutz-

I have recently taken the position of Purchasing Manager here at the company where your daughter XXXX works, XXX. Up until 3 weeks ago, I was purchasing Manager at Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan's outfit in Mojave. We built the SpaceShipOne manned spacecraft....I only bring that up as I know you are a big aviation kind of person--- that beautiful L-39 of yours gives you away there.

I was just talking to XXXXX about my new beloved car-- a 2004 Yellow Jacket GTO. My previous two automobiles were BMW 3-Series cars--Yes, I was a die-hard adherent to the Bavarian Way. Last September, I had almost settled on another German export as a replacement for my long-in-the-tooth 323i. My wife, a native of the GM Belt in Ohio, suggested I try a car made by the General. I must admit to being less than enthusiastic about it. A domestic car? A pushrod V8? Me? Nein.

I spoke to the salesguy at Motor City Pontiac, a true gearhead. I laid eyes on a beautiful Yellow Land Rocket in their showroom, with black SS stripes and 18" Momo wheels. Nice, I thought, but...He answered my questions intelligently, saw my doubt, shrugged, and gave me the keys.

Then, I drove the dealer's demonstrator. Hard. The incredible acceleration and beautiful wailing song of that LS-1 powerplant...the solid and precise Tremec 6 speed...the solid feeling of a modern chassis and IRS...oh, man. The classy interior design and way-above-price-point materials....but mainly, that snarl. I was hooked. I put down a deposit to hold it and bought the yellow GTO three days later.

My commute out here to Glendale is 105 miles each way from my home in Bakersfield, taking me an average of one hour forty minutes each leg (I open her up once I'm out of LA traffic). The GTO lives up to its name-- it is a world-class Gran Turisimo car. Comfortable, fast, taut, fast...oh yeah, I said that. It is an absolute joy to drive. The car is exceedingly well built and has been trouble-free since day one. And anyone who says that the styling is boring should have to explain the thumbs up I get from guys driving Porsche Carrera Cabrios on the 5 Freeway, the approving nods I get at stoplights, the kids pointing with mouths agape as it rumbles by. The car gets people's attention...in the best of all ways.

The GTO has made me this BimmerHead into a GM believer. When it's time to put my Goat out to pasture in three years or so (210 mile daily round trips will eventually take their toll), I will get a Cadillac CTS-V, or possibly a C6 Corvette. Oh man oh man...if I'm really good, maybe the amazing Z06 C6. Drool.

Sir, under your guidance, GM has become a true car guy company again, and I just wanted to thank you for that.
Sure enough, I get a response from him:

Thank you very much. Stories like that are the reason we go to work every day and try to create exceptional cars. My one request to you would be: Talk it up! Hget others to try! Get them out of the import rut! Anyway, thanks again, and enjoy the car. I know I love mine!
Bob Lutz is the man behind the Holden Goat...but I had no idea that he owns one!

:) :)
 

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I got a call about a week ago from GM asking how i liked the car. the caller knew the car, had insight, and asked what i wanted changed. I said get rid of the passenger electric seat because of the baby seat, add memory to the drivers seat and screw the damn shift knob on.

he asked about the exhaust, i said i didnt care, told me how they rushed an 04 intro to celebrate 40 years (i thought 30! ;) ) etc.

Overall this has been a very pleasurable ownership/lease experience. much better than the first 2.5 years of my Aurora!!!
 

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Wow this is really cool. Nice you were able to share your feeling with the man that made it, wow again.....very cool.

I think I would have tried to grill him on what the 06 has in store.... ;)
 

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Tom said:
I got a call about a week ago from GM asking how i liked the car. the caller knew the car, had insight, and asked what i wanted changed. I said get rid of the passenger electric seat because of the baby seat, add memory to the drivers seat and screw the damn shift knob on.

he asked about the exhaust, i said i didnt care, told me how they rushed an 04 intro to celebrate 40 years (i thought 30! ;) ) etc.

Overall this has been a very pleasurable ownership/lease experience. much better than the first 2.5 years of my Aurora!!!
I had a similar experience last week. Polite young man, very knowledgable aboujt the GTO called and asked what I would change. Told him not much, maybe a bigger trunk and a different front fascia that didn't resemble a Grand Am. He said that was part of what made it such a sleeper. I told him I viewed it as half-price BMW 645. He said there was talk in GM of losing the back seat and making it a two seat coupe at some point.
 

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I think we are giving lutz a bit too much credit. I find it hard to believe that when they killed the F body they had no plans for a replacement. I know things shifted to trucks, but I think he inherited at least a general plan to bring something over. Did anyone think GM was just going to hand the pony/muscle car market over to ford? On the other hand, the FWD coupes are more the rage/more in demand than the RWD coupes. maybe ford was just a dozen years too early with the probe as a mustang replacement.

I subscribe to autoweek, road & track and sports car market. Why is it that I read in businessweek and not autoweek that bmw did not design the X3 ? why did the mustang and corvette win awards and the low volume GTO get knocked.

I know an engineer at GM. he hinted to me that there was some resentment when lutz came on board because the press made it like the messiah came over to wake up the sleeping engineers and designers that did nothing for years. The catera was here, and was a flop. why should the gto be more successful? why is lutz a genious for bringing us the GTO and the guys that brought the catera are fools?

i give him a lot of credit for being in charge, and pushing for things like the solstace, GTO, rebadged aurora as bonneville, etc. but lets not forget, GM is a big company, and people dont make decisions, committes do.

Im not knocking what groucho got/did, or what was accomplished with lutz at the helm. i think it is very cool. I also think my GTO is about theh nicest car Ive owned, and Ive owned some nice ones. it is a combination of my Legend Coupe and my worked Z28. The best of both with the exception of the trunk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is gonna piss off the Pontiac faithful, but...

Thank God the F-Body was killed. It needed to go.

It was a cartoon of everything wrong with Domestic cars. A stake has been put in its heart.

May it's flexible chassis forever RIP.
 

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Groucho, I'm not surprised you got a personal reply from Mr. Lutz, he's like that.

Some years back when Mr. Lutz and I were both at Chrysler, I (your basic engineering pawn) sent an e-mail to him with my concerns over the just released 300M and the compromises made that, in my lowly opinion, rendered the car less of a serious sport sedan. My boss at the time told me that I was crazy for doing it. A week later I received through the corporate snail mail his hand written response, thanking me for my note, outlining the reasons for the decisions and actually expressing agreement with some of my points.

My opinion - he's the best thing that could have happened to the old lumbering GM. There's more pure potential in that company than in any other, it just needs to be unlocked at any cost, or Toyota and company will swallow the U.S. auto indistry alive. The U.S. companies just need to quit trying to copy the Asians, and do their own thing, but do it with a passion, while applying the lessons that they admittedly needed to be handed to them by sheer competition. Say what you will, but the new Chrysler 300 does just that. Now it's GM's turn, and if anyone can let the creative juices run there it's Bob. Oh yeah, I still have his note.
 

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Groucho said:
This is gonna piss off the Pontiac faithful, but...

Thank God the F-Body was killed. It needed to go.

It was a cartoon of everything wrong with Domestic cars. A stake has been put in its heart.

May it's flexible chassis forever RIP.
I had a 944S2 which handled about as good as any car out there and then some (my brother sold his mid 90s 325 to his ex and bought a mid 80s regular 944, and hasnt looked back, a S2 is his 944 and a lot more). When it was stolen she who must be obeyed said no to another porsche (got one 8 months later after six months of searching). I got a 93 Z28 with 32k miles and a worked suspension.

Six speeds, no T tops, and a very stiff suspension. The car handles great! I autocrossed it a few times with the local PCA, and it did better than the 944s and 3s! Stiff, Raw, solid axle fun, lots of fun. the shifter was nicer than the GTOs, the seats were lower more sports car like than the GTO, just sold it Tuesday, and miss it (until I drive the GTO that is - no regrets).

I think the F bodies got a bad rap because of the kids that think they can re engineer the car better than the engineers.

I just hope the GTO that replaces ours is a step forward, not like the 73 to 74 GTO. It has to be a better car, and if they screw up like they did with our Aurora and then compare it to something good like they did with the Aurora comparing it to the Acura, they will screw themselves - again.

The QC has to be there, it isnt in the 37k Aurora's details, it is in the 32k GTO's details.
 

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Groucho said:
This is gonna piss off the Pontiac faithful, but...

Thank God the F-Body was killed. It needed to go.

It was a cartoon of everything wrong with Domestic cars. A stake has been put in its heart.

May it's flexible chassis forever RIP.
:eek: a stake through my FBODY heart! ::gasp::
 

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Groucho said:
This is gonna piss off the Pontiac faithful, but...

Thank God the F-Body was killed. It needed to go.

It was a cartoon of everything wrong with Domestic cars. A stake has been put in its heart.

May it's flexible chassis forever RIP.
Dude please, right on :lol: . The F body was awful. This is not ground breaking discovery. The only thing it really had going for it was the motor. I have tons of memorys of IROC's and trans am's....leaking, awful interiors. OMG the things I have seen taking those apart.....lol
 

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II-Savy said:
Dude please, right on :lol: . The F body was awful. This is not ground breaking discovery. The only thing it really had going for it was the motor. I have tons of memorys of IROC's and trans am's....leaking, awful interiors. OMG the things I have seen taking those apart.....lol
If we de-content the GTO by say 10 grand, dump the IRS we have a F body/mustang!

The only thing the GTO has going for it is the motor and fact that it wasnt designed by american bean counters. Look at how much more it sells for overseas!

The F bodies/mustangs are/were the best performance bang for the buck!

My RX7s had less power and cost about the same, the ZXs cost more, the 944 had the same 150 hp as a early 80s TA but cost twice as much.

Yes they were crap, but they were good crap.

Im sure the build quality of Lutz's prowler and viper are not much better than a F body. Lutz had price points to meet over at chrysler too.
 

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Tom said:
If we de-content the GTO by say 10 grand, dump the IRS we have a F body/mustang!

The only thing the GTO has going for it is the motor and fact that it wasnt designed by american bean counters. Look at how much more it sells for overseas!

The F bodies/mustangs are/were the best performance bang for the buck!

My RX7s had less power and cost about the same, the ZXs cost more, the 944 had the same 150 hp as a early 80s TA but cost twice as much.

Yes they were crap, but they were good crap.

Im sure the build quality of Lutz's prowler and viper are not much better than a F body. Lutz had price points to meet over at chrysler too.
I hear ya...
"Yes they were crap, but they were good crap." ;)

The RX's were nice. My pop had a 79 once, way nice. I liked the white Turbo II, with the dual exhaust.
 

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I guess to each their own. After I buy the '05 GTO, I will own my 2 dream cars...I don't think I could possibly be happier with these 2 cars. Owning and driving these gorgeous machines is all I could possibly want and ask for. :cheers
 

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GTOJon said:
I guess to each their own. After I buy the '05 GTO, I will own my 2 dream cars...I don't think I could possibly be happier with these 2 cars. Owning and driving these gorgeous machines is all I could possibly want and ask for. :cheers
Bet you marry your high school sweetheart. I am almost willing to lay odds on it! :cheers:
 

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You guys are giving the F-bodys a bad rap, Ive driven and owned them since the late 60s. For the cost theres no comp. I now own a 99 Z/28 which i purchased new. I wasnt extremely fond of the excessively sloped windshield and hatchback design, but when they dropped the LS1 in them, for the price it the way to go. With a 6spd, the 1LE suspension , no t-tops and no power accs its an awesome car. Its not luxurious and i didnt want a overweight musclecar. GTO?. Go to LS1 .com see what these cars are capable of. Labor disputes in canada is the only reason there not in production.Actually this was my 1st Camaro, ive always owned Trans Ams or Goats, but i couldnt get a stripper Firebird like i wanted in 99. I really like the new GTO , the Ls2 powertrain etc, with the exception of the rear end styling. Those quarterpanels have got to go. So I understand this was some kind of hack job from downunder GM had no choise to keep all the extra equip. GM should try getting back to basics, ie when you could order a car with as much or as little bling as you prefer, And stop trying to be a half priced BMW. Geez id like to add a GTO to my garage but for the price im thinking 02-04 Z06?
 

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Great emails. :cheers:

While there may be a lot of committee driven decisions at a company as big as GM, do not under estimate the influence one person can have. Bob Lutz is already improving things and will continue to do so. It takes a strong and/or well known personality to steer decisions away from the group-think choices that produce bland products.

You are always going to have the realities of the market to deal with while considering the bottom line. That doesn't mean you can't improve the fundamentals of the products though. The long term health and profitability is going to be improved with better products, not short term group choices based on immediate bottom line feedback.

I'm glad to have a car guy back in a position of power at GM.
 
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