In the waning days of General Motors’ excitement division, a 2-door pickup with a hot-rod V8 and a track-ready suspension nearly made its way to showrooms. The automaker even showed it off at the 2008 New York International Auto Show, which occurred barely a year before GM filed for bankruptcy.
It could have been awesome, though it’s not clear if there was any actual demand in the U.S. for a high-performance, not-especially-utilitarian (or attractive, let’s be honest here) pickup. It has been said before that GM in the years leading up to its bankruptcy seemed to be throwing ideas at a wall in hopes they would stick. The G8 pickup — which was to be called G8 ST, a decidedly lame badge even though GM attempted to hold a naming contest — was certainly one of those ideas.
As bonkers as it sounds today, the G8 pickup wasn’t all that novel of an idea in 2008. Two-door, car-based pickups were popular at the time in Australia, where the G8 was built, and in this case it would have been nearly as simple as slapping Pontiac styling and badges on a domestically-produced model from GM’s Aussie Holden brand.
There were even rumors that GM would offer a G8 station wagon based on — you guessed it — a Holden wagon, but if one was ever made it was never publicly shown.
Years of slow sales declines left GM with a broad portfolio of car brands and little direction for each. Pontiac was marginally more focused than, say, Saturn or Buick, but even then the brand was more about sporty looks than building cars that actually delivered performance.
That all changed with the G8, the greatest and also most unexpected modern Pontiac. The rear-wheel-drive G8 was a rather blandly-styled 4-door that rode on a version of the capable, if heavy, chassis shared with the Chevrolet Camaro. Stretching 196 inches long, the G8 was a large sedan with classic rear-drive proportions and a reasonably well-equipped interior.
Base versions used a 256-horsepower V6, but the 361-hp G8 GT’s V8 made it the one to have. Until, of course, the G8 GXP bowed at that same 2008 New York show with a Corvette-sourced, 402-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 that could be linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox and a buttoned-down suspension. Just 1,800 or so G8 GXPs were built before GM pulled the plug on Pontiac in April 2009.
You won’t find a G8 ST for sale, of course, but there are still some nice G8 GXP sedans out there. Here’s a clean-looking black one with a stick shift for $37,500 from a private seller in Loudon, Tennessee. Find a Pontiac G8 for sale