General Motors is one of the most legendary car companies that has ever existed! At one point during their history they were the largest corporation in the world. Throughout their history there have been many ups and downs. They helped bring in the era of the muscle car. They built cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac GTO that cemented their names into the history books as some of the greatest cars that have ever existed. While they definitely had their strong points.
They had their struggles as well. Once consumers became more conscious of things like fuel economy and the price of fuel they had a hard time bringing about their own like of economy cars to compete against the likes of the Japanese and Germans who brought strong competition to the American Market. There are a few cars that they build that didn’t last very long. For one reason or another they just weren’t the cars that brought car buyers into the dealership. Cars that were probably before their time, like the Buick Rendezvous and the Pontiac Aztek. Despite their poor reputations, would probably sell pretty well in today’s crossover crazy market.
At the same time, they built great cars that sold well. But over time became aged, sadly, forcing General Motors to take them out of production without having a replacement. Here are a few cars that we think would make a great comeback!
20 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
The Cadillac CTS-V wagon is probably one of the most underrated cars to ever be born from immediate post-trouble General Motors. Jalopnik summed it up well by saying, “The Cadillac CTS-V Wagon has a wicked combination of serious performance, great looks, low production numbers and a big novelty factor—it’s a freaking factory-made hot rod luxury station wagon!”
It was powered by the same 6.2 litre V8 engine as the Corvette, which produced over 550 horsepower!
The Cadillac CTS-V Wagon was one of the last truly American station wagons ever built. The powerful, rear wheel drive station wagon is nearly extinct.
19 Saab 9-3 Aero
There are few car brands that were as strange and unique as Saab was. The Swedish manufacturer was born from the minds of two airplane engineers that though they’d take a crack at building cars. Unlike the other more refined and reserved Swedish brand, Volvo. Saab seemed to make a point to go against the grain of conventional car building. They were Turbo crazy! Even during the days when turbos weren’t a mainstream item. Killing Saab off probably want a hard choice for General Motors. The Swedish company had been hemorrhaging money for years. But you have to think that in today’s society of hipsters and retro design enthusiasts, Saab would probably sell pretty well.
18 Saturn Sky Red Line
Saturn was a General Motors brand that struggled to find its niche throughout its entire existence. It wasn’t until the end that they really seemed to have found their place in the automotive world. The Saturn Sky Red Line was one of the best cars produced by the brand before it was shut down by General Motors financial troubles. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0 litre four cylinder engine, the Sky Red Line produced 290 horsepower and could launch itself from zero to sixty miles per hour in 5.5 seconds.
With more aggressive styling and a peppy exhaust note, the Saturn Sky Red Line was the black sheep of the Saturn line up.
Had they been given a chance to survive, who knows what Saturn would have come up with for a second generation Sky.
17 Pontiac G8
Right before the big General Motors financial situation, Pontiac was doing a lot of things right. For over two decades the sports oriented brand struggled to find its place in a new world where fuel economy and price were become the most important things for automakers. But in the years before the financial trouble, they seemed to have found their niche. US car buyer were once again looking for big, rear wheel drive, powerful cars and General Motors had just the thing. The Australian arm of General Motors, Holden, had been making the very car that US car buyers wanted for years. Pontiac saw the potential that the cars had and brought them over to the states as the Pontiac G8. Unfortunately Pontiac was shut down before they had a chance to really flourish. But the G8 is a car that we all would love to see make a strong comeback.
16 Chevrolet SS
The Chevrolet SS was the ritzy reincarnation of the Pontiac G8. It was an Australian developed, rear wheel drive, V8 powered sports sedan. Using a similar engine as the Chevrolet Corvette, the SS produced 415 horsepower! Unfortunately the Chevrolet SS was far too expensive. It came with nearly every option that GM could throw at it. But the starting price was over $46,000. With that high price tag the car never sold well. If General Motors could figure out a way for the car to cost under $30,000 to take on cars like the Nissan Maxima, GM could have another hit on their hands.
15 Pontiac Fiero
The Pontiac Fiero was a car that could have been incredible. But because General Motors was a publicly traded company looking out it bottom like, it never achieved the greatness that it could have been. Had General Motors kept the Pontiac Fiero in production, think of how great it would be!
A modern, mid engine, US built sports car with a peppy little turbocharged engine.
At the moment there isn't a small economical mid engine sports car for sale. The closest thing we have to it would be a Mazda MX-5 and the Fiat 124. But they’re front engine, which is nowhere near as balanced as a mid engine car. With modern customization and aftermarket parts. A modern Fiero would be a pretty great little car.
14 Cadillac XLR-V
The Cadillac XLR-V was an effort for General Motors to rebrand Cadillac from the kind of car your grandma drives, to a sports car oriented brand. Built right along side the car it was based on, the C6 Corvette. The Cadillac was powered by a 4.4 litre, supercharged V8 engine. It produced 440 horsepower and jumped from zero to sixty in less than five seconds. The Cadillac XLR-V wasn’t as fast or as powerful as some of the Corvette variants, it was by far more luxurious and “refined.” It featured comfortable leather, real wood trim, and a more comfortable ride. At its time of production it was one of General Motors’ most expensive products reaching prices over $100,000.
13 Saturn Astra XR
The Saturn Astra wasn’t a Saturn at all. It was actually an Opel. The Opel Astra was one of the best selling budget cars in Europe. So, naturally, General Motors figures that it would do well selling in the United States under the Saturn name. From the get go, the Saturn Astra was a little different. The gauges and dials were in a different font than the rest of the GM line up, the radio buttons were arranged in a very different manner, and it was a hatchback. The 1.8 litre four cylinder engine was a little weak for most enthusiasts taste. But the handling was above average and the car itself was actually fun to drive.
12 Cadillac ELR
Post-financial trouble General Motors was all about alternative energy cars. Tesla hadn’t yet developed the Model S, so this was a new frontier for plug in luxury cars. The ELR was not received well by critics. It was too slow, the Range was too short, and the price was too high. Some ELRs were sold for prices upwards of $100,000. It didn’t sell well.
According to Auto Trader, some ELRs sat in Dealer lots for over a year.
Had the Cadillac ELR been given another generation like the Chevrolet Volt, it could have been the car to give Tesla’s Model S a run for its money.
11 Pontiac Firebird
Pontiac was the brand under the arm of General Motors that was known for making some really great muscle cars. They were known for making sport oriented cars, and it showed. One of their greatest muscle cars was the Pontiac Firebird. When the Firebird made its debut it was meant to take on the hot, new Ford Mustang. Based on the Chevrolet Camaro it was one of the first General Motors cars built with the bumpers integrated into the bodywork and design of the car. Loaded up with V8 power, the Firebird launched itself into the heats of American. Unfortunately, when Pontiac closed up so did any hope for a new Firebird in the near future.
10 Oldsmobile Aurora
During the late 1980s, Oldsmobile found themselves in a bit of trouble. Their lineup was a giant badly, and they were falling behind the competition. Especially when compared to Japanese luxury brand that we’re becoming more and more popular. So they decided to take a gamble, they build one of the most radically designed cars in the 1990s. It was based on the same platform as the Buick Riviera and given a version of the legendary Cadillac Northstar V8. Next to the Cadillac lineup, the Oldsmobile Aurora was the last word in big US made sedans built to be powerful and more importantly, comfortable.
9 Chevrolet Blazer
When the original Chevrolet Blazer denied, it was the rough and tough off road vehicle what wasn’t only ready to take on any terrain, but competitors like the Ford Bronco and Jeep CJ as well.
In today’s car market, SUVs and crossovers are becoming more and more popular.
Not to mention the rise in popularity of performance oriented off road vehicles like the Ford Raptor. It makes a not of sense for Chevrolet to reintroduce a vehicle using the Blazer name. It needs to be an off road ready vehicle that looks sharp and performs well!
8 Hummer H3T
One of the first casualties of General Motors financial trouble shake up was the Hummer brand. For years Hummer has been the brand that ranked fuel efficiency dead last on their list of priorities. But before they closed up shop, they accidentally built something that was pretty great. The truck version of the Hummer H3, the Hummer H3T. The H3T was the little truck that was capable of going anywhere on earth while bringing all the utility of a truck. With truck buyers scrambling for small trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado and the Toyota Tacoma, the Hummer H3T would be a sales hit in today’s market!
7 Chevrolet Silverado SS
There are two very different types of car buyers. One is a group that loves trucks, and the other is a group that loves high performance street cars. What about those car lovers that want a little bit of both? The Chevrolet Silverado SS is the perfect vehicle for you! The Silverado SS is essentially a truck built on a Cadillac Escalade powertrain. It used the same 6.0 litre V8 that produced 345 horsepower and the same four speed automatic transmission. The Silverado SS gave its drive the ability to haul a mattress in the back, while at the same time winning street races on the way home from the furniture store.
6 GM EV1
The GM EV1 was the very first production car General Motors built that was 100% electric. When they put it on sale it was only available Saturn dealers (oddly), only available in California and Arizona, and only available for lease. Once the leases were up, General Motors took back all the EV1s, studied them and then crushed them all. In the 1990s, people weren’t as ready to accept electric cars as they are today.
In today’s world, a purpose built, sporty electric car would do GM a lot of good.
Especially with the incoming of the new Tesla Roadster on the horizon. Redirecting the EV1 as an electric sports car would I’ve Tesla a run for their money.
5 Chevrolet Caprice
The Chevrolet Caprice might be one of the most American, American car that has ever been built. Since its inception it has always been a V8 powered, rear wheel drive powerhouse. It not only found its way into the driveways of car buyers, but it was very at home in police forces. Nearly every generation of the Caprice has been used by police forces. It’s roomy interior, tough body in frame design, and powerful engine made it the perfect vehicle for the day to day rough work police put their cars though every day. What’s not to love?
4 Pontiac G6
Before their demise, the Pontiac G6 was one of General Motors biggest volume selling cars of the time. The basic platform for the Pontiac was endlessly useable. It was used by Pontiac, Saturn, Buick, Opel, Saab, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and even Fiat! The Pontiac was powered by both four cylinder and six cylinder engines. The V6 variant produced 214 horsepower and got up to 30 miles per gallon! Not too shabby. It was available in sedan, coupe, and even a hard top convertible. Another basic little car like this would do GM a lot of good!
3 Isuzu Rodeo
Believe it or not, ISUZU is over 100 years old. Like many other companies building cars is just a small part of their business portfolio. When ISUZU was selling cars in the United States, small SUVs were their specialty. Cars like the Rodeo, Amigo, and the bizarre VEHIcross littered the streets in the United States. Most of the cars used recycled General Motors platforms, but that wasn’t a bad thing.
One of the best things about GM was to use a platform or basic engine until it is painfully outdated.
Which also means that they’re pretty reliable and tough. That’s exactly what a little SUV like ISUZU needed. Imagine how well ISUZU would sell today in a world where it seems like all anybody wants is a small SUV.
2 Chevrolet Malibu SS
At some point between 2000 and 2009, General Motors grew a little wild hair. Part of this wild streak was building performance cars that didn't really make any sense. One of these cars was the Chevrolet Malibu SS. The Malibu SS wasn’t a perfect car, but with a few changes it could have been great! The Malibu SS was powered by a 3.9 litre V6 engine that produced 240 horsepower. Unfortunately, it was hooked up to a four speed automatic. Had General Motors used a six speed the Malibu SS could have been great! Don’t give up GM! Bring back the Malibu SS and give it the powertrain that it deserved!
1 Pontiac GTO
One of the most legendary cars that General Motors ever built was the Pontiac GTO. The roots of its legendy reach all the way back to its inception in the 1960s. Developed by John DeLorean, it was one of the cars that started the Muscle Car Era. The last generation of the Pontiac GTO was another Australian product that was brought over to the United States in the form of a Pontiac. Hiding under its seemingly humble exterior beat the heart of a monster! It was powered by both a 5.7 litre and a 6.0 litre V8 engine! Plus! Those great motors were hooked up to a six speed manual transmission. It was nearly a perfect car that helped Pontiac bolster their reputation of Pontiac as a sports brand.
Sources: CarAndDriver.com, MotorTrend.com, NetCarShow.com