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…