Is that a... GRAND AM!?!? Nope. Just your 400-horsepower champion.

Is that a… GRAND AM!?!? Nope. Just your 400-horsepower champion.

The winner of the Late Model Performance Playoffs—based on YOUR votes—is the 2006 Pontiac GTO.

The question you might be asking yourself is: In a tournament with the Camaro ZL1 and Z/28, the new Corvette Stingray, the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, the ’13 SRT Viper and the 2013 Shelby GT500, how in the heck did an Australian captive import based on the Holden Monaro slaughter all opponents?

There are a few reasons. Let’s talk about them.

1. People love Pontiac.

2. People voting in this competition showed a clear preference for aftermarket performance and wrenching on their cars, over factory performance.

3. Pontiac GTO owners and enthusiasts proved to be a passionate bunch and organized a get-out-the-vote campaign that pushed their favorite car to victory.

4. The 2006 Pontiac GTO is powered by General Motors’ six-liter, 400-horsepower LS2 V8, the same engine powering the concurrent year’s Chevrolet Corvette.

The result isn’t particularly popular with people who love Ford, Mopar, Chevy, first- and second-generation GTOs, or people who consider the fourth-gen Goat to be little more than a spunky Grand-Am.

We were accused of taking money from GM to pimp their now-defunct Pontiacs. (We’re still waiting for our checks.)

A whole bunch of people questioned one another’s manhood and called each other names. Even the girls.

Many highly inappropriate and mean-spirited Internet memes were shared.

In other words, it was a whole lot of fun, and we’re probably doing it again next year.

If you don’t want “really fast Grand Ams” beating your favorite late-model performance car, you will only have one choice: Organize a get-out-the-vote campaign stronger than the GTO faithful, or stronger than Diddy’s.

The Road to Glory

To sit atop the throne, the Pontiac GTO ran through a gauntlet of beloved late-model performance vehicles, including the:

2013 Shelby Mustang GT500

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

2014 Chevy Camaro Z/28

2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

If you own or are interested in learning more about the performance potential of the ’06 GTO, you need only peruse the Pontiac GTO section of Summit Racing’s website.

Congratulations, Pontiac GTO.

You proved that conventional wisdom isn’t always true.

You proved that life is still full of surprises.

You proved that people are still passionate about modern vehicles and that our hobby lives on.

And just maybe, you proved that Pontiac will never really be gone.



Author: Matt Griswold

After a 10-year newspaper journalism career, Matt Griswold spent another decade writing about the automotive aftermarket and motorsports. He was part of the original OnAllCylinders editorial team when it launched in 2012.