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Goodyear Grabber 442 2

Pontiac GTO “Mad-Max” Off-Road Rendering, How Does It Compare to the Real Thing?

Updated July 3, 2017

The 1968 Pontiac GTO is a legendary vehicle from the muscle car era.  What happens when you take the legendary muscle car, add a raised suspension and give it the Mad Max treatment?

Fortunately, digital master Remy Trappier has provided us with an answer to that question.

Pontiac GTO Mad Max 2

 

Remy starts with a 1968 Pontiac GTO then adds a raised suspension with aggressive off-road tires and wheels,  a bulbar with integrated lights and tops it all off with a ‘Mad Max’ paint job and body affects.  The end result is overall, quite impressive.

The digital renderings of this vehicle remind me of a car that actually did exist.

In the 1960s and 70s when muscle cars were all the rage and off-road racing was just gaining traction, it was not uncommon to see Rancheros, Mavericks, Dusters, a GTO, some older Mopars and even some Chevelles entered into the passenger sedan classes of races throughout the Western United States and Mexico.  One of the more successful and iconic competitors were Oldsmobile 442s.

 

Pontiac GTO Mad Max 1

From 1969 to 1971, American actor, race car driver, and team owner James Garner raced Oldsmobile 442s in off-road races.  Affectionately called the Goodyear Grabber 442, James raced in the Mexican 1000 in a 1970 Olds 442, one of three pre-production cars built by off-road legend Vic Hickey.  What was unusual was that the there was no factory involvement in the campaign.  It was run by a private team.

Goodyear Grabber 442 1

The Olds was ahead of its time.  In the 69 Mexican 1000, Garner was an hour ahead of his class until he was sidelined with tire problems and an oil leak.   In the end, he finished just 23 minutes behind the lead vehicle for a second place finish.

Garner continued to race the 442 for an additional two years as he waited for off-road building legend, Vic Hickey to build his next vehicle, the Olds Banshee.  Interestingly enough, this very vehicle was the precursor to today’s Trophy trucks.  The Banshee was a tub-frame vehicle with a Dale Smith-built, aluminum-block 410 cubic inch V8 engine that was placed where a passenger would normally sit.  This provided the shortened wheelbase vehicle with 50/50 weight distribution.

Goodyear Grabber 442 2

Personally, I love the look of the Pontiac GTO “Mad-Max” off-road vehicle.  However, if given the option of choosing between that and the Goodyear Grabber 442, I would take the Olds.  It just looks much more aggressive to me and I think it has performance to match.

To see what I mean, take a look at the video from Jay Leno’s Garage looking at the tube-framed Banshee.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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