The Pontiac Aztec is widely regarded as the ugliest car currently in production, but what if General Motors adds 22-inch mags and a 496 kW seven-litre V8 Corvette mill to the package?
The Pontiac Aztec is widely regarded as the ugliest car currently in production, but what if General Motors adds 20-inch mags and a 496 kW seven-litre V8 Corvette mill to the package?
The Aztek sold fewer than 25 000 units in its first year on sale after buyers could not come to terms with the vehicle’s looks. It’s not a traditional sport-utility vehicle, but a crossover - one that combines aspects of a SUV and a minivan.
GM vehicle line executive Mark Reuss was given the task of putting the Aztek into production, a vehicle described as “one of the ugliest, most misconceived vehicles to ever see an assembly line”. Since then, the General has decided to ditch the Aztek in the middle of 2004.
First, though, Reuss — now boss of GM’s Performance Division — wants to roll out the ultimate – in both senses of the word – Aztek, beefed up with good, old-fashioned cubic inches.
South Africans were exposed to the Aztek when it was offered as a prize in the immensely popular American reality TV series Survivor II (Survivor Outback), which was screened on SABC3 two years ago. At the time, most CARtoday.com readers hated the Aztek, but will this bruiser minivan win them over?
Above the beltline, the truck is true to Aztek heritage, although the origami rear end has been angled downwards, rounded out a bit and fitted with a new spoiler. Door handles, mirrors and front fascia also get fittingly refashioned.
There are flared fenders that swoop over the wheel wells, complete with gill-slit vents, 22-inch rims and tyres, two pairs of exhaust tips emerge ahead of the rear wells. Below the grille, a pair of fog lights bookend a lemon-wedge screen behind which sits a Corvette C5 racing radiator and other modifications.
The Ultimate Aztek’s firewall has been moved and GM ripped out all the none-essentials so that engineers could fit the same seven-litre aluminium pushrod V8 that powers the C5-R. The output was wrenched up to 496 kW with maximum torque a colossal 847 N.m. produced between 4 000 and 6 800 r/min. A modified six-speed manual with a heavy-duty clutch is mated to the engine and the steering system consists of a heavy-duty rack-and-pinion fitted with steering arm adapters to allow the use of spherical rod ends in place of standard tie rods. Front suspension is a C5 double-wishbone setup with polyurethane bushings, while rear is five-link with adjustable coil-over triple adjustable shocks.
Inside, the Ultimate Aztek closely resembles a racing car. A modified instrument cluster includes “pro series” gauges for oil pressure, water temperature, speed and engine revs. Virtually everything else inside you would operate or touch is custom, including front racing seats, abbreviated rear bench, carpet, racing-grade shifter and wheel. There is no radio, air conditioner or cupholders. And if a six-point roll cage and racing belts don’t convince occupants that this Aztek means business, nothing will.
Original article from Car