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Pontiac powers up Monaro

GTO go: While the GTO Autocross is a SEMA special, it's one that could easily hit the street.

The Monaro is on the way to the US and already Pontiac is adding power

4 Nov 2003

THE Holden Monaro has only just started shipping to America as the 21st century GTO, but that hasn’t stopped Pontiac showing up at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas with an even hotter version.

New engine components and a number of production accessories from GM Performance Parts distinguish the GTO Autocross.

This show version continues to be powered by the LS1 5.7-litre V8 engine, but a new camshaft and heads from the LS6 engine boost horsepower to 400 (300kW) - from 350 (261kW) standard.

The GTO Autocross also features a tougher appearance with a new line of accessories including front and rear fascia extensions, rocker panel, rear spoiler and symmetrical dual exhaust.

Custom 18-inch wheels are wrapped with BF Goodrich g-force T/A KD performance tyres, while mounted behind them are custom rotors and callipers by Stainless Steel Brakes.

Inside, there are machine-drilled aluminium pedals, colour co-ordinated sport gauge package and satin nickel appointments to add a performance touch.

The SEMA show is dedicated to the tuning and after-market industry, although all the major US manufacturers get involved. GM, for instance, has nearly 40 cars on dispaly at this year's event.

Meanwhile, it appears Americans are getting a better deal on the Monaro than Australians.

The Pontiac GTO version of the Holden coupe has been priced at $US33,495, including destination and gas guzzler tax. In Australia, the Monaro costs $59,350 excluding delivery.

On a straight exchange rate basis, the Pontiac GTO costs $A48,000, which is 80 per cent of the Australian price.

But, using the famous Big Mac index from The Economist as a measure, it takes 18,500 Big Macs for Australians to buy a Monaro but only 12,640 Big Macs for Americans to buy the Pontiac GTO.

On that scale, Americans are only paying 70 per cent of the price Australians are paying.

Note: The Economist uses Big Macs to compare costs between countries because Big Macs have the same ingredients and are sold by the same staffing policies using the same promotion from similar stores. They are therefore a measure of the price of produce, labour, advertising costs, real estate costs and purchasing power in different countries.

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