Some car enthusiasts really have it good nowadays. I don’t mean that in terms of modern technology or as in horsepower numbers, or even the aesthetics and cosmetic trends the masses are into. Some guys and gals can’t drive without setting up the navigation system or even backing into a parking spot without a back-up camera (trust me, I’ve witnessed both many, many times). After everything is all said and done, car owners leave their cars in the street or driveway and forget about it until the next day when they need to get from Point A to Point B. But you, me and the team at ModBargains, we’re nothing like that. We cherish our cars. We love our cars. We treat and respect our cars like they’re our very own babies. Sure, some of us wants to do certain things with their cars that others might not necessarily deem as “proper” for that specific vehicle, but nonetheless, we all are passionate about automobiles.
Our passion for cars goes beyond our own generation of vehicles. I’m talking about the cars from decades ago, as in the cars that your dad and grandfather used to do their shenanigans in. If you haven’t already pinpointed which heritage of cars I’m referring to, it’s the illustrious, renowned monster of a muscle car; the Pontiac GTO. Legendary in its original sixties form, the last generation of Goat lives up to the name.
The Pontiac GTO goes way, way back to the heyday of Muscle – 1964 – and since has grown into an iconic, storied and distinguished “Gentleman’s” muscle car for the ages. In every generation of the GTO, a the biggest V8 engine they had lying around stuffed into the engine bay of an “Excecutive Car” was a recipe for success, every “goat” rolled off the factory floor bay ready to paint the roads with black rubber.
When the GTO nameplate came back from the dead, it was critical Pontiac (itself now a ghost) have a car that was worthy of the name, unlike many of the legendary Musclecars in today’s world, the GTO cars maintained their tradition of big motor in smaller body – and so the rear wheel drive, LSx powered Zeta platform Holden Monaro was chosen as the platform to carry the torch. The adherence to the tradition of a big V8 and rear wheel drive says a lot to a lot of Pontiac enthusiasts and it’s very much appreciated. Car makers in the modern world tend to make excuses (reasons?) for dramatically changing engines to a more “conservative” jumble of sorts (by conservative, I mean weaker). The GTO is definitely an underrated car – likely because it’s not as flashy as a Camaro or Mustang, and yet it has an enormous amount of potential for improvements of all sorts, from making stupid horsepower numbers to carving corners. People tend to dismiss cars that are a just a few years old, but they have no idea what they’re missing.
Naturally, we’ve compiled a list of the best mods for 2004-06 Pontiac GTO to give you some ideas to make your Goat a joy to drive and turn heads when you roll up to the drive-in.
As avid readers of our blog already know, wheels are an absolute MUST for practically any car. Without a nice upgraded set of aftermarket wheels to compliment your ride, your car just looks plain, boring, blah, lame, and just… ‘off’ – something’s not right. A hidden gem of a car like the Pontiac GTO without a decent set of wheels that AREN’T the stock wheels is like putting a great actress into the role of an extra in your stageplay – sure you’ve got a pretty girl, but she’s not front and center, so you’re not going to notice her. She doesn’t stand out. And neither does your GTO on stock wheels. When you see one of these modern classics on the road out on stock wheels, you might wonder to yourself, “Did the owner of that sexy, low-key powerful GTO just “ignore” the ugliness of the stock wheels?” You’re damn right he did.
With wheel selections that span longer than Santa’s naughty/nice list, it’s for sure a difficult task to decide on which wheel to go with for your car.
Without seeing these diamonds in the rough every day on the street or even at the track, you really have no frame of reference as to which design you can mentally picture will look on the GTO. Check out the Klutch SL14 for Pontiac GTO. They look simply superb!
It’s as if these wheels were made with the GTO lines in mind. They look gorgeous! The multi-bespoke style of the Klutch SL14 are wheels that stand out to the eyes of the starer and makes the whole car look like an upgraded high-class car. With lowering suspension, the sexiness of the wheels definitely show, but more on suspension later…
Probably one of the first sets of aftermarket wheels I’ve seen to serve as instant eye-candy are the Forgestar CF5 Wheels. I’ve seen these wheels and actually on a Pontiac GTO in person and wow, it really does change the entire attitude of the car. Something about a simple 5-spoke design that goes so well with the car. The Forgestar CF5 Wheels come in a lot of different finishes too!
The clean look of the Forgestar CF5 Wheels mold the car into somewhat of a “show” car for the crowd. These wheels give it that fresh look into the modern world while still retaining the classic GTO-esque nature of the car.
Forgestar has many models of wheels that all look amazing on their own and look even better on a car.
Specifically, on the Pontiac GTO, another great wheel to consider upgrading your stock wheels to are the Forgestar CF10 Wheels. They sport a simple, 10 spoke design that really will look awesome on practically any car you can think of, which is why I love them.
It’s not a design that is easily recognized because a lot of people are already used to mesh-related wheel designs. In my honest opinion, I love something different and the Forgestar CF10 Wheels are simple enough to be something nobody is used to and that makes it a special wheel.
Artists Rendering of CF10 on GTO
Just look at how the wheel rests perfectly with the entire car. What’s also great is that this wheel comes in two different concavities to choose from. If you’re not familiar with Forgestar Wheels, aside from their custom offsets, their wheels are available with a “Semi-Concave” and a “Deep Concave” for that extra pizzazz of a look you want on your car.
In many ways, a wheel can not only change the look of the car, but make the car look sleeker and cleaner. With the Sportline 8S wheel, any Pontiac GTO can become something out of a magazine. Sportline Wheels have catered to numerous makes and models and their particular mesh design wheel is unique in its own right.
One of the ModBargains company owner Mike Brown absolutely loves the Sportline 8S wheels and are actually one of his all-time favorites. The beautiful finish and highly-protective clear coat allows for a long lasting, sexy wheel look for years and years to come. Did I mention how light these wheels are? The 18″ wheel is almost exactly 19 lbs and the 19″ wheel is right around 21 lbs. Available in both Silver and Gunmetal, no matter which finish you decide to go with, this 8S wheel looks fantastic. For the Pontiac GTO, we recommend a 19×8.5 ET45 for the FRONT and 19×9.5 ET45 REAR. Basically, a “square” fitment.
Wheel brands and wheel models come and go, and it’s no surprise as nowadays people are changing their wheels like they change their shirts and with that change comes a sort of trend of following what’s popular among the car enthusiasts of today’s generation. That isn’t the case for VMR Wheels.
*Custom 69.56-to-72.56 Hub rings w/Cut Fender Lips
*Custom 69.56-to-72.56 Hub rings w/Cut Fender Lips
Time and time again, they never cease to innovate – to be their own brand of aftermarket wheels that guarantee freshness for the youngsters out there. Particularly, the wheel I’m referring to is the VMR V710FF Wheels.
Why are these so different, you might ask? Well, my over-eager GTO owner, these wheels are what’s known as “flow formed”, meaning the process of construction to produce these wheels are distinct to the wheel itself. A flow-formed wheel means the wheel itself is made using a precise combination of high-heat, high-pressure, and certain rotations of spinning to create an amazing strength very similar to that of a forged wheel but without the high-cost of a forged wheel.
There are the regular, but still just as awesome, VMR V710 Wheels as well! Though not “Flow-Formed” like its lightweight sibling, the V710 Wheel itself is a bit easier on your wallet while also looking amazing! Being able to choose colors is a huge advantage for a lot of wheel models and the V710 come in three finishes: Hyper Silver, Gunmetal, and Matte Black. An offset of +35 works also, it is a bit more aggressive, but some people might love that. +40 works just fine too!
Whatever option you choose to go with, there’s a great wheel option out there for your GTO, and the Mod Experts are here to help you find it. Give them a call at 714-582-3330 today or stop by the showroom between 8-5 M-Sat.
*Custom 69.56-to-72.56 Hub rings w/Cut Fender Lips
The Pontiac GTO is a special car. It requires a kind of “unique” attention to really become 100x better than it already. Throughout the past decade, there have been a lot of talk going back and forth as to what a car enthusiast should modify on their GTO and number one on that list are the bushings, particularly the “rear cradle front bushings”. The best that we highly recommend are the BMR Rear Cradle Front Bushings for the 04-06 Pontiac GTO. These are extremely important as it basically allows the wheels to stay grounded and not “wheel hop” when you really put the power down.
The GTO rear cradle is isolated with two major bushings toward the front of the crossmember. These receive a good brunt of the rear suspension shock and have a tendency to move around quite a bit. As a result, the GTO is prone to wheelhop from cradle distortion. These rear cradle bushings are stiffer and more durable because it’s made out of polyurethane which are less prone to deformation over time.
You’ll find a certain trend here when it comes to bushings. For the particular 04-06 GTO, changing the mediocre bushings are quite essential to a long lasting, great handling muscle car and with all the power the wonderful LS engines produce, you’ll be glad you changed out the bushings.
To even further press down the tires to the ground for more ‘murican muscle action, the Whiteline Essential Front Vehicle Kit are a full set of rubber bushings which improve handling, grip, and driving comfort. Your suspension parts will thank you for this upgrade. Worn out bushings can add additional stress on the suspension components and can damage them if driven on for a long period of time. Pretty much, suspension is used more efficiently, braking power improves, and the chances inevitable “clunking” significantly decreases.
With an epic engine comes epic torque, naturally. I’m sure you’ve seen drag racing videos of cars that have so much torque that when they launch, the front of the car literally shoots upwards at an angle. That’s pretty awesome already, but most people don’t realize the potential frame damage that can cause. I mean, maybe you won’t be the guy to be drag racing and be doing lifts off of launch, but regardless, the BMR Suspension Sub Frame Connections are a a vital additional frame component upgrade for your Pontiac GTO. Color really doesn’t affect performance, but having the choice between red and black is always appreciated.
The chassis of your car will surely be more rigid and will for sure tighten the handling characteristics for any scenario. It connects to 5 areas of the frame and the cool thing is that it’s not a bolt-on. Bolt-on might sound cool because it’s direct and simple, but when something is welded onto the chassis itself, it proves to be the most effective in sustaining its quality. Besides, a bolt-on anything to your frame has the potential to be loosened by the sheer force of the driving environment. You wouldn’t want your aftermarket parts to be loose, would you?
Finally, to the good stuff. After you’ve successfully installed the new bushings which can be tedious, I admit, lowering your car’s ride height is the next most important thing. For many, the stock suspension height is just too much for the eyes to bear. It might be an obvious modification to most of you readers, but I assure you, I have met with and talked with people who have almost literally done every mod that can possibly be done on whatever car they’re driving EXCEPT the suspension components; particularly the springs. It happens more often than you might think. It’s an epidemic, and us car enthusiasts must band together to rid the world of a fist-width gap between the tires and fenders!
After a set of wheels, the next most important thing to any GTO is a drop in order for it to look right, and a set of Eibach Springs for Pontiac GTO is a great way to do that.
A great option to improve not only the look of your Pontiac GTO but also the handling ability and suspension characteristics are the Eibach Pro-Kit Lowering Springs for the GTO. These springs are also super comfortable to sit in and if you don’t already know it, you’d think the car is running on stock springs. It lowers the car about an inch or close to it and although it doesn’t sound like it’s lowering very much, it makes an enormous difference in how the car appears. Couple lowering suspension with a sexy set of aftermarket wheels, and you’ll be drooling over your own car as you walk toward or away from it.
*Custom 69.56-to-72.56 Hub rings w/Cut Fender Lips
Next to a stock ride height GTO, the difference is really noticeable.
Lowering springs get the job of lowering done, but there may be a time where you want to go lower either for cosmetic reasons or actual functional track-inspired reason. With any set of just springs, you’re stuck at whatever ride height the springs bring your car down to and settle in. I’m cool with that, but eventually, upgrading even further to a full set of coilovers is the smarter option, especially for the long-term life of your GTO.
Getting a good set of coilovers for a good price is hard to find, but with many options to choose from out there, the BC BR-Series Coilovers have proven themselves worthy of awesomeness time an time again on practically every car and used in every way. These coilovers ride amazing and have full adjustability with ride height (approximate 1″-3″, aka lower-than-stock all the way down to super-super-frame-to-ground low), compression, and rebound. At its full soft dampening setting, “comfortable” is probably the best word to describe the ride quality. Don’t worry, for all you track-heads, you can adjust the dampening to be as stiff as rocks or anywhere in between. They’re simply amazing and one of the best suspension upgrades you can do not only on your GTO but on whichever car you’re driving.
At some point in your driving career, especially if you go to the track or race your car, you’re going to need to make a right or left turn. It’s funny, I know, but if your GTO is purely a drag racing car or if you’re just used to doing highway pulls, then the thought of turning isn’t too much of a priority. But regardless, it is important. After all the bushings and the springs and the sub-frame connectors are installed, the last, but not least, great bit of suspension upgrades you can do to make your GTO more epic, are the Hotchkis Sport Suspension Sway Bars.
With all that power waiting to push you back into your seat, something would have to stabilize and make sure that while you are going fast as hell, that when you touch a corner, you can be confident that you wont go plowing right into the wall. These Hotchkis Sport Suspension Sway Bars improves your steering response, chassis response to the road when turning, reduces the amount of body roll mid-turn, increases the amount of tire traction on the road, and are multi-hole adjustable for different stiffness preferences. For real, upgrading your thin, fragile, tiny sway bars to the lightweight, fat, and durable Hotchkis Sway Bars helps you put all that power to the ground WHILE turning for even faster lap times and a car-is-glued-to-the-road experience.
Nothing makes your car more awe-inspiring than an exhaust system. Without it, your car just sounds like a Nerf football whizzing through the air – aka, unnoticeable. Your Pontiac GTO has a very powerful engine in it, and deserves an exhaust that tells the world “YOOO I STILL MATTER”. I’m not saying that you absolutely need an exhaust, but it definitely helps your car more than hurts it. If anything, the only “con” of an aftermarket exhaust would probably be not being able to see it and appreciate it unless you’re under the car.
Increasing the amount of horsepower in an LS engine might sound, unfathomable, but I assure you, it’s definitely possible. When thinking of an exhaust worthy enough to be on the all-great Pontiac GTO, there are only a good handful that come to mind. For the 2004 GTO owners with the LS1 under the hood, the Stainless Works Factory Connect Exhaust has no equal. This exhaust is meant to fit directly behind your catalytic converter and with a clean, polished look as well as a raw sound it can provide, it’s an easy choice to make when upgrading your stock exhaust.
There isn’t much of a difference, but with the latter 2 years of the most recent GTO, the exhaust bends and fitment are a tad bit dissimilar. The muffler style for the Stainless Works Turbo S-Tube (w/x pipe) for the 05-06 Pontiac GTO. When purchasing this exhaust, make sure to distinguish between the “chambered” option and the “Turbo S-Tube”. Chambered essentially means uses internal baffles to capture exhaust flow, re-direct, and muffle the sound. With all this extra stuff come a considerably restrictive flow of exhaust gasses, although not AS restrictive as the factory exhaust.
With both these generations’ exhausts, efficient gas flow is a priority and with the factory exhaust, all your car is doing is huffing and puffing but still not reaching its full potential. Built to be quaint and subtle when being easy on the gas but awesome and manly when you put the pedal to the metal, the Stainless Works is worthy of being a part of Pontiac history for decades to come.
Stainless Works has been in business and providing top-quality exhaust systems for a very, very long time and they definitely know how to make a great sounding, great looking, extremely efficient exhaust system for the GTO. This is one of ModBargains favorite exhaust systems and having heard these in person, seriously, there isn’t another car enthusiast who’s grin wouldn’t reach to their ears.
A great contender for an exhaust for the Pontiac GTO is the Borla Cat-Back Exhaust System. This exhaust frees up the gasses flowing out of your V8 and improves horsepower, torque, AND MPG. It’s pretty epic.
As you can see, they look a bit different but they both give whichever year GTO the same amazing benefits Borla promises. They look sleek, flawless, and come with a million-mile warranty! Along with all the power improvements, this exhaust even saves your weight by being 25 pounds lighter than the stock exhaust! These exhausts are also designed for easy bolt-on installation.
Of course, with the rise of one thing comes its competition. Magnaflow didn’t hesitate to make an equally legendary exhaust for the GTO and we’re all glad they did because it’s pretty amazing. The Magnaflow Cat-Back Exhaust for the 05-06 Pontiac GTO sounds more aggressive and goes above and beyond with a lifetime warranty.
Made with full welded mandrel bends, this Magnaflow exhaust allows for maximum flow. There are absolutely no restrictions of any kind with this exhaust so you can be sure that when this exhaust is on your GTO, max power and sexy sound will happen.
Last but not least, another fantastic exhaust choice is the SLP Loud Mouth Exhaust. It’s titled “loud mouth” for a reason and will definitely accentuate the 8 firing cylinders like no other exhaust can. The stainless steel resonators within this exhaust make it so that while you’re barreling down a straight, you won’t have any drone in the cabin. This exhaust is highly aggressive, more so than the others, but is definitely a contender to consider when modifying your Pontiac GTO.
Once you’ve chosen the exhaust of your choice and want even more power and flow, the next logical step to take would be to upgrade and replace your stock headers. Your stock exhaust manifold is severally inefficient at releasing exhaust gases, so by changing to the SLP Long Tube Header System, your LS engine will really respond dramatically. Couple with the SLP Loud Mouth Exhaust, your GTO will surely be the best sounding car in your neighborhood and on the track. Imagine breathing the fresh air outside with just your nostrils and feeling rejuvenated; that’s what it’s like for cars when they upgrade their headers to aftermarket.
4. Take in MORE Air for MORE Power!
Another amazing idea for bolt-on power for your car would be to change out that super restrictive stock air intake. Like, the stock intake just doesn’t take in as much air as you think it is and is really just preventing the GTO from reaching its full potential. Imagine plugging up one of your nostrils and trying to play basketball – yeah, that’s what’s happening with the stock intake in your car.
Improve the breathing of your car with the K&N Cold Air Intake gravely enhances the amount of air your GTO is inhaling and thus increases the amount of horsepower and torque drastically. Made out of highly durable, heat-resistant plastic, this intake can take the fiery power of the engine. You’ll instantly feel better throttle response and have an improved MPG. Dyno-proven to gain approximately 14 horsepower at 5700 RPM.
Being able to put power to the ground is an incredible feeling and in the moment you might not ever want to stop. Although, eventually, you’re gonna see a STOP sign and/or the end of the road and/or encounter a big gigantic wall and you won’t want to crash. To not crash, the best thing you can do, ironically, isn’t to jump out of it and walk away from an exploding car in action-movie-esque fashion, but to upgrade your factory braking system.
Number one would be to change out the stock pads with the StopTech Street Performance Brake Pads. These babies are a vast improvement over stock as it bites harder against the rotor pretty much the moment your foot touches the brake pad. These are suited for both every day street use and track use! The composites within these brake pads are 100$ positive molded, shimmed for little noise and vibration, and scorched for easy bedding in.
To even further improve the braking bite of your now upgraded braking system, switch out the rotors for the StopTech Slotted Rotors and your GTO will surely be able to stop the instant you press the brake pedal. The slots in the slotted rotors push the brake dust out so that the brake pads can bite harder onto the rotor for more friction – aka more stopping power.
The combination of upgraded brake pads and rotors guarantee immediate stopping ability for your GTO and the aesthetic appeal of the rotors are very obviously pretty.
With all these modifications on your Pontiac GTO, your car will absolutely be the best it can be. Of course, there are more mods you can do to push the boundaries even further, but at least for now, these modifications are a must for any GTO owner. A stock car is just such a waste of potential that leaving it stock just seems unfair to the soul of the car. ModBargains believes that modification of a car is necessary and we all just want the best for you and your car.
Give us a call at 714-582-3330 to learn more about your Pontiac GTO!
Story by Jaybee Valledor