Holden muscle has grip on CIA
By Kevin Hepworth
July 29, 2004
AMERICA'S secretive CIA chiefs are setting their sights on an Australian muscle car as the new motor for agents.
The agency likes Holden's American Monaro - the Pontiac GTO - because of its speed.
Pontiac marketing manager Larry Pryg told The Daily Telegraph: "There's been serious interest from the CIA in using the GTO's qualities for high-speed pursuit and training work.
"We are treating it seriously and listening to just what they would like us to do to make the car as suitable as possible."
State police forces across the US have been expressing interest for some time in the GTO as a highway pursuit car.
But the approach from the CIA had come from left field, said Mr Pryg.
"We've been talking to the police for some time now and their main concern was an upgraded brake package.
"Those guys are brutal on the brakes. As far as the CIA are concerned they see the GTO as ideal for their high speed pursuit and avoidance training programs.
"We are certainly being very active in finding ways to meet their demands."
The new GTO will feature a pair of air intake scoops on the bonnet, dual exhausts and the new General Motors LS2 V8 engine with 295kW from the next generation Chevrolet Corvette.
And it is expected the new Holden Monaro will share the unique bonnet scoops - but not the new engine and exhaust system - when it is launched in Australia in September.
Holden has a history with police vehicles in the United States with several state and local forces adopting the Chevrolet-badged left-hand drive SS Commodores manufactured for the Middle East.
While Pryg conceded that sales of the current GTO had been "disappointing'' he was adamant that lessons learned would make moving the revised 2005 car - due to be launched in December or January - much easier.
He admitted: ``Nobody is saying it is not a great car to drive but the less aggressive look of the GTO did not go down well with many people and the fact that it was launched in winter at the slowest selling time of the US market did not help either.
"The 2005 car addresses many of the issues and will certainly appeal to more traditional GTO purists.
"With the revisions and the addition of the new engine I am really confident that the GTO is going to be a winner.
"It will definitely have a future as the hero performance car for Pontiac - the meanest and fastest performance star in the badge."
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Hope it goes ahead, just swing the cars through Harrops on the way.
Two interesting points in the article, the first being the GTOs under consideration as highway patrol cars, and also some of the US police forces already using Commodores as HWP cars even though they are not sold there. If they were available surely a 4 door would be more practical than the GTO for HWP (as long as the fuel tank was relocated)? With the number of police cars sold in the US wouldn't it be worth GM's while to export SS's specifically to police, even if they don't sell them to the general public - although that might generate some demand.
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