The recent return of the Hummer marque as a GMC sub-brand for electric vehicles has sparked joy even outside the SUV community. For one, performance enthusiasts who have never truly gotten over Pontiac’s demise back in 2010, yours truly included, are wondering if the said move couldn’t be repeated. And this unofficial rendering seems to have a potential recipe all figured out, bringing an all-electric GTO under the spotlights.
For somebody who wasn’t around back in the post-WWII era when Detroit’s Big Three pushed their business to new heights, it can be difficult to grasp just how massive GM’s reach was in the industry (it also got the company in anti-trust trouble, though). For instance, if we zoom in on its American operations, the company mainly focused on eight brands, which shared platforms, being differentiated by front and rear-end styling, as well as by a part of the engine range.
Pontiac was the enthusiast-oriented brand that sat above Chevrolet, but wasn’t as luxurious as Cadillac and targeted a much younger audience than Buick. And while the marque wasn’t among the first GM children to find its way in the post-war era, its contribution to the muscle car craze of the 1960s, namely the GTO, confirmed the status mentioned above.
Before being an icon, the GTO was a mere package
It all started with the 1961 Pontiac Tempest, a compact whose Tempest LeMans version was gifted with a GTO option for 1964 and 1965. Standing for Gran Turismo Omologato, this could be had with Pontiac’s meatiest V8, the 389 cu in (6.4 L), which would’ve normally been reserved for larger models.
The GTO’s popularity saw this morphing into a standalone model in 1966 (keep in mind that the era often brought significant visual and tech revisions for each model year), while the second-generation model that took over in 1968 carried down the muscle route, even adding spicy assets such as a hood-mounted tacho.
However, this rendering brings back the iconic nameplate by focusing on the original GTO, namely the 1965 model with its vertically arranged quad headlights.
This modern Pontiac GTO started out as a sketch done by a Ford designer
The story of this virtual GTO revival started out back in February when a Ford designer named Heath Hilliard made a sketch of it (you’ll find this at the end of the gallery). The penning master currently holds the role of creative exterior designer, having worked on the Maverick compact truck. Nevertheless, as shown in his LinkedIn profile, he has completed multiple internships with big names in the car industry, including spending three months in such a position at GM, even though he served the Cadillac brand.
The work was picked up by an Italian artist named Massimo (aka serafini_swaphead), who brought it into the 3D realm.
His work captures the spirit of the original by adding to the retro-styled front fascia—the long hood is yet another example of revived classic design.
However, instead of sticking to the muscle coupe silhouette of the retro GTOs, which was also adopted by the Australian car-based 2004-2006 revival, this proposal brings a sleeker, low-slung silhouette with a lower profile and meaner wheel arches. And if you’re thinking Corvette right now, you’re not the only one.
Speaking of which, Pontiac has aimed to expand its sportiness in such fashion over the years, but the efforts never made it past the concept form, as the status of the ‘Vette had to be preserved. Ironically, the first of the Banshee concepts, which was introduced in 1964 as Project XP-833, has a silhouette that evolved in the C3 Corvette.
Why the electric take on the entire Pontiac brand?
Now, if we zoom in on the quarter panels, just behind the rear wheels, we seem to find a pair of elements that may or may not resemble exhaust outlets. Regardless, with an ICE (internal combustion engine) Pontiac revival appearing to lack any base, we can at least dream of the said Hummer-style EV revival.
Sure, positioning the Pontiac brand wouldn’t be a simple matter. After all, the differentiation issues were one of the main factors that led to the demise of the company in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. But making use of its heritage is one of the assets giants such as GM can use in the battle against stock market and social media rockets like Tesla, an asset that can’t be easily discarded.