Look: 2010 Pontiac G8 sport truck
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The rumors and speculation have been building for the better part of a year, fueled by the uncensored comments of 'Maximum' Bob Lutz and our sources. Several times the program was closer to the trash can than the driveway. Now, '–amino' fans, celebrate! You've waited twenty years for this moment to arrive. General Motors is bringing the new 2010 Pontiac G8 sport truck to the 2008 New York Auto Show two decades after deep-sixing the 1988 Chevrolet El Camino, the last of the great American coupe utilities.
For US car-truck enthusiasts who bided their time patiently, this is like receiving a bike, puppy, and Red Ryder BB Gun on Christmas morning. Make sure you send a thank you note to Papa Lutz.
You Get To Name It
Sharp-eyed readers will note 'sport truck' isn't capitalized above. That's because when this car-truck arrives in showrooms its name will have been influenced from entries submitted online by -amino lovers, like you.
The G8 sport truck was originally going to be named the G8 ST. As late as three weeks ago, when the show car was getting ready for its press photos, it still wore upper case ST badging on the tailgate. But the 19th and 20th letters of the alphabet have been removed to make way for the TBD nameplate. If you want to participate in the naming, you can submit your entries at http://www.pontiac.com/namethiscar.
"Sport truck is a good descriptor but it doesn't really do the vehicle justice. We want our customer to help us name the vehicle. The only criteria we'll have is that G8 has to be in front of it," says Pontiac spokesperson Jim Hopson.
Funny that Pontiac would ask for help naming the 'sport truck' using a URL that says "namethiscar". But the coupe utility (or 'ute' for short) is the original segment-blurring vehicle. It's been around since way before 'crossover' was coined to describe car-based sport utility vehicles and pickups, like the Honda Ridgeline. The ute dates back to the 1934 Ford V8 Model 302 Ute, first sold in Australia. The Model 302 was joined shortly afterwards by the Holden GM-H, assembled by GM's Aussie subsidiary. Two decades later, in the late fifties, the car-truck concept took off in the US when Ford introduced the Ranchero and GM responded with the Chevrolet El Camino.
As utes came and went in the US, they continued to evolve in Australia. Last year Holden introduced its latest car-truck, the unibody VE Ute, based on GM's new 'Zeta' global rear-wheel-drive platform. Zeta underpins a set of new vehicles, including the Holden Commodore and Pontiac G8 sedans and upcoming 2010 Chevy Camaro. And it opened the door to the return of a US ute.
But what to call this reinvented vehicle and the unique segment-blurring niche it occupies? We'll humbly make a couple of recommendations.
We think Pontiac should maintain the tradition that American car-trucks have a Spanish identifier. Since popular sentiment online is calling for the return of the Chevy El Camino, why not transplant that name from Chevy to Pontiac? Diehard El Camino fans will surely find a way to graft the front clip from a Middle Eastern, Zeta-based Chevy Lumina on the front of the G8 sport truck. Or carry over the old Caballero name from GMC. Or maybe resurrect one of the Caballero's trim package names, like Diablo – sans flaming devil head on the hood. Wait, how about the 21st century counterpart to the Diablo? Call it the Pontiac G8 Chupacabra, Spanish for demonic goat sucker. Put one of those on your hood!
There's sure to be lots of suggestions and Pontiac is prepping to receive several cargo box loads of names. So how will they determine the winner?
"Depending on the number and quality of the names we receive, it's possible we could go to a second round and give people the chance to vote on the name," says Mr. Hopson.
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