El Catalina: Pontiac to Get U.S. Version of Holden Ute
By: Mike Levine Posted: 11-18-07 23:54 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com

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Update #1: 11-30-07 07:50 PT

The name of Pontiac's Ute will be the 'G8 ST', short for Sport Truck. It will only be sold with Holden's new 6.0-liter Gen IV V8. No V6. Pricing is expected to start at $31,000.

For some first drive impressions, check out our time behind the wheel of the right-hand-drive 2007 Holden Ute down under.

Ok, so it's unlikely it will be called El Catalina, but, barring a further slide in the value of the U.S. dollar versus the Australian dollar, Pontiac will be the General Motors brand that sells a rebadged version of the Holden Ute stateside.

This news puts to rest hopes of GMC resurrecting the historic Caballero name for a car-based pickup, according to a story in this week's Automotive News.

Bob Lutz, GM's Vice Chairman of Product Development, told PickupTruck.com back in September that it looked likely the Holden Ute would make its way across the Pacific from the Aussie factory where it's produced. Mr. Lutz also expressed hopes that GMC would sell the utility as the new Caballero.

The Holden Ute is expected to join the 2008 G8 sedan and Commodore wagon to create a family of high-performance rear-wheel-drive cars in Pontiac's portfolio later this decade.

History buffs will note this won't be the first car-based pickup for Pontiac. Two prototype "El Catalinas" were used as parts haulers around the factory in 1959, years before the GMC Sprint or Caballero arrived. The El Catalinas were based on the Pontiac Catalina full size sedan. Jay Leno has also custom-built a third El Catalina, using a stock four door Catalina body.

We're expecting the new Pontiac pickup will debut in January during the North American International Auto Show. We'll be there!

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