In our last (September/October) issue we announced the
reincarnation of the GeeTO Tiger. The "new" GeeTO Tiger is not your
ordinary magazine project. The "new" GeeTO Tiger is a merchandising
effort of Pontiac Enthusiast Magazine and Jim Butler Performance
teaming together to incite the Pontiac community through the resurrection of a
nostalgic vehicle built with todayís contemporary parts.
Pontiac Enthusiast Magazine and publisher Jim Wangers are
dedicated to not only preserving, but actually growing the Pontiac hobby. PE
feels itís not enough to simply report on certain products now available,
although such reporting still remains a valuable service to our readers. In
concert with our participating business partners, the "GeeTO Tiger"
is a planned project to showcase exactly what these products can do with
respect to building a modern hobby "Supercar." At this writing, the
"GeeTO Tiger" is finally ready to unleash its full potential. It isnít
easy to put together a project of this magnitude in less than a year, let
alone six months, so itís going to take a little while longer to get
everything completely "dialed in."
In the mid-60s Jim Wangers hatched the original GeeTO Tiger
Show that predictably was a smashing success for Pontiac and the participating
vendor partners. The show not only validated the performance potential of the
GTO, it provided a platform for a young and emerging after-market industry.
Again, Jim Wangers is up to his old tricks. So whatís the
deal with the "new" GeeTO Tiger? Is it simply nostalgia, vendor-tent
"eye-candy," or is it really something else? While the new
"Tiger" is obviously both of these things, it is intended to be
considerably more. The nostalgic appeal of the "new" GeeTO Tiger is
reviving an emotion that is certain to energize todayís Pontiac enthusiasts.
The 1966 GTO is no longer manufactured, but today they can be built better
thanks to an ever-growing after-market community. It was this connection
between the product and its availability that made the original GeeTO Tiger
Show such a successful marketing campaign, helping to sell thousands of GTOs.
Well, as they said about Steve Austin, "today we have the technology to
build it better."
A multitude of businesses now market contemporary products
the GTO as well as for numerous other Pontiacs built during that period, and
even into modern times. Showcasing these products within the framework of a
famous and legendary vehicle draws attention to the fact that modern
technology can upgrade almost any hobby car to an overall performance level
unheard of just a few years ago. Most active hobbyists are more than willing
to benefit from modern improvements in power, braking, transmission and
drive-line reliability, cooling, suspension, ignition, and in numerous other
Its success as an event "showcar" has already been
established. Appearances at the GTOAA Nationals and the POCI Convention, as
well as additional exposures at Maple Grove, the Ames Pontiac Nationals at
Norwalk, and the famous Woodward Avenue "Dream Cruise" have all been
extremely well received. The "new" GeeTO Tiger is now poised to flex
its muscles and demonstrate what its credentials are really all about. Even in
its "dormant" state, prior to unleashing its performance potential,
admirers and sharp observers have already seen enough to contact numerous
companies involved in the project. Our GeeTO Tiger partners understand what
this project represents and are already beginning to benefit, and these
benefits are only the tip of the iceberg.
At the heart of our GeeTO Tiger is a contemporary drive train
from Jim Butler Performance, TCI and Moser Engineering. Making certain that
our tiger was the king of the lair, Year One, Inc. provided all of the
restoration parts. And, ensuring that our tiger is as agile as itís name
implies, Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation, Hotchkis Performance, and Eaton
Detroit Springs provided the braking and suspension needed.
Although there are currently multiple aftermarket products
showcased within the new "Tiger," special attention is directed to
Jim Butler Performance and Year One, Inc. Jim Butler Performance (JBP) has
developed perhaps the most significant product in the traditional Pontiac
performance market with its big-inch "crate" motor. Faced with a
dwindling supply of larger-displacement 428 and 455 Pontiac blocks, engine
builders were increasingly forced to revert to risky and/or expensive
practices in order to convert 400 blocks into bigger-inch dimensions. With the
development of a new high-quality cast-iron 3" main "stroker"
crank, JBP is now providing reliable 467-cid engines in a variety of power
levels using the still ample supply of 400 blocks. In our judgement, JBP must
be largely credited for the explosive rebirth of the traditional Pontiac
engine as a serious modern power alternative. Perhaps the biggest advantage
for the JBP "crate" motor customer is the fact that all the
frustration connected with trying to find reliable shops to perform the
numerous machining and assembly functions is now completely eliminated. The
JBP engines are machined, assembled, engineered properly, and
"ready-to-fire" as received. Needless to add, the "GeeTO
Tiger" sports a new JBP "Tiger" crate engine.
Year One, Inc. recognized the significance of the "GeeTO
Tiger" to the Pontiac hobby at once. Their involvement and support has
been critical in our ability to rapidly transform a weather-beaten hulk into
the spectacular-appearing recreation you see photographed within these pages.
appreciates Year Oneís involvement, as well as the quality of their
components and promptness of delivery.
Within the pages of future issues of PE we will be
reporting on the application of our partners contemporary products so that you
can build your very own version of a tiger, disguised as your current kitten.
Based on the reaction we have received during this summerís shows, we know
the contemporary improvements are much sought after.
Back in 1966, GM General Manager Jim Roche attempted to
eliminate the entire Pontiac "Tiger" theme as
"undignified." In retrospect, "dignity" had nothing to do
with it. The "Tiger" theme is still the most recognizable icon in
all of Pontiacís heritage. Let no reader doubt that the man most responsible
for the "Tiger" theme was ad genius Jim Wangers. He knew what he was
doing then, and he knows what he is doing now. The new "GeeTo Tiger"
will highlight traditional Pontiac restoration and performance products like
no other project car in recent memory. When it comes to marketing, the more
things change, the more they remain the same.