Home » Weekend Edition » Currently Reading:

The GM V8 FWD W-Platforms from Pontiac, Chevrolet and Buick – Will They Ever Be Collectible?

Jim Brennan July 29, 2012 Weekend Edition 34 Comments

Welcome to another “Will They Ever Be Collectible” posting on Hooniverse. I started this little feature asking if the Jeep Commander would ever become collectible, then I asked the same question about the Volvo first generation S40/V40. This week, let’s see if a quartet of GM FWD mid-sized cars, stuffed with a 303HP 5.3L V8 could ever become a collectible.

The folks at General motors wanted to spice-up their FWD W-Platforms to try and compete with some of the performance sport sedans that were coming on-line around the 2005 model year. In the wings was the surprising Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, and included a 5.7L V8 option that caught the other domestic car companies by surprise. At around this time, the full-sized Mercury Marauder was being produced, and it was full of promise that was never delivered. Both of those platforms were RWD, something that GM didn’t have during this time period. So why not cram a V8 into a FWD Sedan?

The LS4 was created just for this use. It is a 5.3L Generation IV smallblock, which had the same displacement as the LY5 Vortec 5300 from the truck side of the business, only the block is made of aluminum instead of iron. This engine uses the same cylinder head as the Generation III LS6 engine. According to GM, the crankshaft is shortened 13 mm – 3 mm at the flywheel end and 10 mm at the accessory drive end – to fit into the crowded engine compartment of the W-Body. The water pump is mounted remotely with an elongated pump manifold that connects it to the coolant passages. Revised oil pan baffles, or windage trays, are incorporated into the LS4 to ensure that the oil sump stays loaded during high-g cornering.

The first to offer the new engine was Pontiac with their Grand-Prix GXP. The GXP was introduced for the 2005 model year, and besides the 5.3L LS4 it was equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission with paddle-style TAPshift, heads-up display, vented cross drilled brakes with PBR calipers, performance tuned suspension with Bilstein gas-charged struts (sits about 9 mm lower than other GP models), Magnasteer II, and StabiliTrak dynamic control system. Cosmetically, the GXP differs from the other models with more aggressive bodywork including a different front clip, wheel well cooling vents on the front fenders, a different rear bumper, and twin-dual polished exhaust.

The Grand Prix GXP also offers a unique feature of the different-width 18 in polished Alcoa Forged aluminum wheels. The front wheels are 8 in wide, and the rear wheels are 7 in wide. The Grand Prix GXP was offered for the 2005 through the 2008 model years, and was replaced with the Australian built Pontiac G8.

Chevrolet actually offered two different W-Body cars with the LS4 under the hood, and one was the only 2-door left in the lineup. The 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was basically a refreshed version of the 2000 through 2005 Monte Carlo with a new front clip, and a slightly revised interior. But it was the SS version that received the LS4 V-8 under the hood. This was the first Monte Carlo to receive a V8 since the 1988 model year. All was lost with the Monte Carlo however, as interest from the buying public was dwindling, and this model was discontinued during the 2007 model year.

The Chevrolet Impala SS was far more successful, and was introduced during the 2006 model year. This was the first V8 equipped sedan since the demise of the 1996 Chevrolet Caprice. With the use of the 5.3 liter LS4 V8, the Impala SS is capable of a 5.6 second 0–60-mile-per-hour time, and a quarter-mile time of 14.2 seconds traveling at 101 miles per hour. Unlike Pontiac, the Impalas forged aluminum wheels were the same width front and rear. The SS version of the Impala was discontinued before the start of the 2010 model year, even though this evergreen W-Body soldiers on through part of the 2013 model year.

Buick offered the Lacrosse Super for the 2008 model year. The Super was positioned as a higher-performance model of the sedan with revised front end styling, a 4-ventiport trim strip on the front fenders, a rear spoiler, projector beam fog lights, Magnasteer, larger brakes, and revised suspension tuning with standard Stabilitrak. The Super model was the fastest modern production Buick ever built, with a factory top speed of 150 mph, and 0-60 mph times of 5.7 seconds. Only the Buick GNX of the 1980s was given such performance ratings until the Super was introduced. This model was discontinued during the 2009 model year. One interesting aspect about the Buick version of the W-body with the LS-4; It was only rated at 300HP rather than the 303HP for the other models…

So, are any of these W-Body Front Wheel Drive, V8 equipped sedans (and Coupe) candidates to be collectible in the future? Right now they are hovering around used car prices, and could be thought of as performance car bargains. Kelly Blue Book Private Buyer Values for these cars (2007-2008 model year, 45,000 miles) as follows:
– 2008 Impala SS – $14,800 to $15,200
– 2007 Monte Carlo SS – $15,200 to $15,700
– 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP – $14,800 to $15,300
– 2008 Buick LaCrosse Super – $16,200 to $16,800
Let me know what you think…

  • PotbellyJoe

    I think the FWD V8 Gm product that will be more likely as a collectible is the Bonneville GXP.

    Clean Lines, decent performance/comfort and it was used in some show about something that people watched.

    <img src="http://www.autos.ca/news/02images/02sema/bonneville_gxp.jpg&quot; width=450>

    • UDman

      The Bonneville GXP was an attempt to get Bonneville Sales humming again by swiping the GM "ShortStar" V8 used in the defunct Oldsmobile Aurora. They will probably be collectible because so few were sold, and the "ShortStar" was already designed to be a FWD motor. The real story with the W-Bodies was how quickly GM turned around and created the LS4 5300 V8, and only offered it for what, five years?

      • The Shortstar moniker is generally used to refer to the 3.5L V6 that was derived from the Aurora's 4.0L Northstar and used in the Intrigue and Gen 2 Aurora.

        And yeah, the Bonnie GXP is kinda sexy.

    • dukeisduke

      I saw one of those GXPs the other day, and I thought it was pretty cool.

  • johnk8

    I prefer the Bonneville too. The Grand Prix's styling is just a little too weird for me. What show are you talking about, Joe?

    • PotbellyJoe


  • JayP2112

    I'd digging the Buick. No pretense of being a sports car. Just a luxo boat with plenty of power. And portholes.

    Speaking of W-Bodies… I posted to VISIT a few weeks ago.
    Not sure what V8 engine but I am sure this is a RWD conversion and manual transmission. Interior was the same except for a bar. If NASCAR were these cars, I'd watch again.
    <img src="http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/532524_10151102148082853_869167773_n.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/602658_10151103214497853_913488233_n.jpg&quot; width="600">

  • joshwebster84

    I always wanted a black on black Monte Carlo SS, which was pretty cool with the V6. Plus, it was a NASCAR vehicle. Add to that the fact that it was only made for three years, and I think it will be collectible.

    • joshwebster84

      Somebody needs to learn how the thumbs up/down thing works.

  • Mnm4ever

    Of them all, I like the GP GXP the most, I wouldnt mind having one for a family car right now. Oh, and it was used in a show too, The Shield had one they repo'd for Vic.

    But honesty, I do not think any modern cars will be "collectible" unless it was significantly limited or special. These FWD family sedans will never be looked back at like a 57 Chevy is today. All the computers and electronics in today's cars will render them useless in 30 yrs, maybe less. The cars that are "classics" today wil continue to be classics, and newer cars made after the mid 80s wll just become old.

    • You do realize that "new stuff is too complicated and won't last" argument is at least 60 years old, right? There's no shortage of aftermarket support for a car if there's a market for it. It's just that hot rodding a car is as much about electrical engineering as mechanical.

  • quattrovalvole

    I love the Buick. No stupid spoilers, just acres of chrome trims to hide the power under the hood.

  • RichardKopf

    Oh yes. I have been contemplating replacing my LHS with an Impala SS. Well, either an Impala SS or a LaCrosse Super. The other two do nothing for me.

  • RegalRegalia

    Doubt it. Big boring plebeian-luxobarges with the big motor. I hope we are completely off gas and diesel before the time anyone would want to pick one of these up as a collectable.
    But as a used car to pick up right around now, why not? I can't imagine they're not good value.

  • ChuckyShamrok

    No, because all of their transmissions will blow up before they reach the age of being collectable. Two guys in the shop I work in have GXP's, and one of them owned a Impala SS before hand. All three had severe transmission issues. One GXP had the torque converter grenade within a month of him buying it(Used and he sold it like a month after he got it fixed) The other guy still has his GXP, but his transmission is on the way out; Look up Rev and Clunk. The Impala SS lost every gear besides second. They are wicked nice cars to drive, its just a shame that the GXP is the only one that came with the tap shift.

  • XRSevin

    I just traded in my Lacrosse Super. Great highway car, fast and invisible. They only made 2,400 of them, so it might be collectable. Get one with low mileage and put on the biggest transmission cooler that'll fit. Unfortunately, it seems like the transmissions on all of the LS4s are only good for about 75,000 miles. http://ls1tech.com/forums/ls4-performance/1369632

  • BlackIce_GTS

    Absolutely, they are 1) American and 2) V8s and 3) rare-ish. I'd be sort of surprised if there wasn't already an example of each of these sealed up in the warehouses of weird old car collectors across the country.

  • Wickedsc300

    I don't think they will be collectibles. Personally I don't see what the draw would be that makes them collectibles, unless its just because they are kind of rare. Because there are much better luxury performance sedans you could buy for about $5k more than these.

    • Bruno Balestra

      It's not about being the best. Sometimes we collect things just because of fond memories, to honor someone, etc. Were early Saabs the best in their class? They were the beggining of something of significance. These W-Bodies are the end. The last V8 Fullsizers for some of the brands and now that Pontiac is dead….you catch my drift, which these can't do…

  • facelvega

    The Lacrosse Super will have some collectibility as a nice beater at least. The Grand Prix looked great from the outside, but the hideous interior and 4-speed slushbox seriously damage its chances of surviving long. Anyway, I'd just as soon have the slightly slower but more classic supercharged 3800 version. The rest of the options here are too dull for words, even if they do have big engines.

    • Maymar

      That's what I was thinking, that the supercharged W-bodies are the more likely collectibles. They were more noteworthy for the time, and the W-body itself wasn't so archaic at the time. Plus, I'd just wager there are more people who have fond memories of them, with a longer run, bigger production numbers, and the lack of an even more interesting alternative (the LX cars).

  • Mark Anthony

    None of the generic "aero-blobs" will ever be collectable. Styling is undistinguished, the 4T65 transmission is incredibly failure prone, and the electronics/computer packages (PCM/TCM/ECM) on any vehicle of this era will prohibit future collectors from considering these as worthy.

    Collectors today can collect the older cars (pre 1980) because the technology was dirt simple. There were few things to break, and when they did the fix was simple. 25 years from now who's gonna mess with vehicles crippled by crappy electronics and obsolete programming code that nobody cares to remember.

    • I'd rather fiddle with maps on a DIY megasquirt EFI setup than dick around with the internals of a 4-barrel carburetor.

      I'm mostly arguing the principle, not these cars specifically.

      Being FWD with under-spec'ed 4ATs pretty much kills their long-term viability unless we're talking "collecting" in the sense of acquiring and storing somewhere.

  • TurboBrick

    Collectible? Not in the classical sense. They'll be interesting curiosities from the pre-direct injection era, but not worth anything. Especially after the transmissions puke their guts out. Brand new grandpa-spec Impala comes with a 300hp V6 that gets 30mpg and a dealer will hand me the keys to a brand new one for $21K, why should I pay $15K for one that is 4 years old and probably 25 thousand miles away from it's first tranny rebuild?



  • GroovinFunk

    Vomit to all Monte Carlos. Just vomit.


    I particularly enjoyed the comment that these trannies grenade by 75K. Mine made it to 83K but was on it's way out. I sold it with a guilty conscience for a song. Took a huge beating in resale because of this crap tranny. The newer W-body Impalas have a great 6 speed auto that puts the GXP crap tranny to shame. And because of the improved gearing and VVT and direct injection, the 3.6L v-6 has all the balls that you need. In fact, I would say that it would be a close race to 80 or so against a 5.3L. Not to mention the horrid torque steer that is now gone. It simply had too much torque for front wheel drive and a "bulletproof" tranny that puked way to soon.

  • Umpire_Sam

    could that engine power my 1993 Oldsmobile ?

    • Nick

      depend of how much you want to put on , your olds will need some upgrade and new transmission for sure but yes with time and money this Could be a nice project

      • Nick

        Maybe a 3800 supercharged serie2 is more what you searching for , those buick motor are really good and strong, more fit in than a ls4

  • Chris Huskey

    Thinking of putting a front wheel drive v8 drive train in the back of a Ford Festiva!

  • MrWicked98 .

    These cars are kinda the worst of both worlds. The V8 is not a car I would choose for a daily driver. I mean you can but it ain’t gonna be cheap, I’d opt for the V6. For a muscle car FWD just doesn’t work. An already questionable tranny and half shafts all being beat on with a V8 is gonna be problem sooner or later. Fortunately GM finally got it right with the SS.

  • Alvin Henry White

    I want to know can that 5.3 v8 front-wheel wheel drive engine and transmission can fit in a 2007 Cadillac DTS

  • Alvin Henry White

    I’m talking about a whole front end rebuild 2007 Cadillac DTS to change out that 4.6 Northstar to the 5.3 front wheel drive SS transmission and engine