Watch the Pontiac Aztek Mutate From Ugly SUV Into Shooting Brake Sports Car

Oddball. That’s arguably the best word to describe the Aztek, a commercial flop so bad that it hurried Pontiac’s canning in the aftermath of the 2007 – 2008 financial crisis.
Pontiac Aztek sports car design study by The Sketch Monkey 6 photos
Photo: The Sketch Monkey on YouTube
Pontiac AztekPontiac AztekPontiac AztekPontiac AztekPontiac Aztek
Twinned with the Buick Rendezvous, the mid-size crossover has been refashioned into a much cooler-looking vehicle with the help of a photo editing program. Marouane Bembli – a.k.a. The Sketch Monkey – rendered the shooting brake sports car with low-profile rubber boots wrapped around massive wheels. The brake calipers are of BMW M origin.

Sitting much closer to the ground than the real deal, the rendering also features two rather than four doors. Or make that three rather than five doors if we include the split-opening liftgate. Marouane has also worked his magic on the roofline, both up front and in the rear, for a rakish profile.

The Sketch Monkey further deleted the door handles for a much cleaner look, although the rear fenders are somewhat busy. The front and rear bumper have been appropriately modified to suit the shooting brake aesthetic, and the side windows feature black window tint that perfectly complements the bodywork color. The side windows have also been modified, whereas the fuel filler cap is no more. Poof, like magic!

Extremely polarizing design when it came out, and even more so nowadays, the Aztek was designed under the direction of a gentleman by the name of Tom Peters. The idea was to mix Camaro and Blazer styling attributes into something called Bear Claw. That didn’t happen because of the suits at GM, who preferred a minivan-based crossover.

What minivan? Well, does U body ring a bell? At the end of the day, Tom Peters didn’t get what he wanted. But fortunately for him, GM didn’t interfere too much in the design process of the seventh-generation Corvette. Peters served as design director during that era, but Hwasup Lee served as the lead designer of the last front-engine ‘Vette.

Described as a sport recreational vehicle rather than a sport utility vehicle, the Aztek had a lot of interesting things going for it. The outswing doors to the rear stereo controls, removable cooler, and sliding cargo floor spring to mind.

Offered with front- and all-wheel drive, the Aztek rocks a rather lethargic V6 under its hood. Codenamed LA1, the 3.4-liter mill produces 185 horsepower. Combined with a four-speed automatic referred to as 4T65-E, it propelled the visually-challenged crossover to 60 miles per hour (make that 97 kilometers per hour) in an estimated 9.2 seconds.

Have a wild guess how many units were sold in the first full calendar year on sale. 100,000? Maybe 50,000? The answer is 27,322 units in the United States, which is pitiful in every respect. Pontiac stood behind its creation unfazed, but the brand’s steadfastness simply wasn’t enough to save it.

Founded in 1926, Pontiac had to be scrapped in 2010. As part of the Chapter 11 reorganization, the biggest automaker of the Big Three in Detroit also had to can Hummer, Saturn, and Saab. The Hummer, however, was revived as a sub-brand of GMC specialized in all-electric trucks and SUVs.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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