We go back to 1999, car makers were working at the time to introduce something that commemorates the end of a century and emphasizes their ambitions & visions about the new millennium.
Looking back at this concept which can be said to be one ambitious move by GM’s Design Divison. Three years later after the concept was out, GM killed off the poorly selling Camaro & Firebird.
After that came the confusing shit-storm, of our current days, in which 1/2 if not most of GM’s models are basically re-badged Daewoos, Opels and Holdens divided among some five brands. Oh and of course, the termination of the Pontiac brand in late 2010.
The idea behind the concept was to revive and reestablish the identity, originality & design philosophy of the Pontiac brand. We picked the story from Deans Garage:
The GTO Concept was created in the fall of 1998 in only three or four months. It was done when Brian Baker had the Advanced Design Group, during the time when Wayne Cherry wanted to explore designs 15 years into the future. Wayne Cherry also wanted all of the brands to have their own identity. They made brand character models for each brand and after that the designer could only use those ques that related to a certain brand.
The design of the overall concept is truly ahead of its time, it can potentially fit in with the current modern day Camaro, Mustang & Challenger designs. I guess they were close enough to with their vision of how muscle cars could be 15 years ahead of the time this concept was out.
Here is what, GM’s Senior Creative Designer, Brian Baker said about the concept:
The 1999 GTO was inspired by our work to find design legends within each brand that would maximize the differences between them. Kip Wasenko had done a smooth F car like concept with the GTO brand on it a few years before. This helped keep the GTO name in our heads.
We wanted to capture the coke bottle Shape that Jack Humbert, Bill Porter and their team had created for the 1968 model. At the same time the wide track look and diagonal mesh that the 1967 GTO had was important too. Jay Bernard did a sketch that captured Jerry Palmer’s eye and the sheer look that made it look fresh. We struggled with details like the peaked hood tach and how to put just a hint of the Pontiac “ribs” without the “armco barrier” look some Pontiacs had at the time.
Perhaps too angular and too ‘Nascar like’ from the back.
Rendering of the interior: