Why The Pontiac Tojan Is The Ultimate American 1980s Supercar
Designed to take on Ferrari, this prototype Pontiac Tojan features crazy 80s styling and an 800hp boat engine. Yes. An 800hp boat engine.
The 1980s. Besides reigning as the golden era for culture and social evolution, the decade of neon lights also proved an enormously creative time for the automotive industry. Manufacturers granted their in-house design teams a relaxed air of freedom, while engineers installed all manner of electronic experimentation. None more so than Pontiac.
In a bid to take on Ferrari, Pontiac utilized all the modern technological advancements it could muster. The Tojan was born. Highlighted as a wonderfully bonkers product of the time, Pontiac's aim was to create a model with true supercar performance, while retaining a price point that was still affordable to the masses. A forgotten gem from modern history, Carfection has successfully undertaken the task of bringing the vehicle back into the spotlight.
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An extreme wedge-shape sports car that packed a serious punch, each example was built by performance company Knudsen Automotive. Less than 150 were crafted between 1985 and 1991, the majority fading away through time. This example was recently bought by Salvage Hunters presenter Paul Cowland, who is a big fan of all thing four-wheeled and unusual.
Typically, Tojans feature a 5.0 or 5.7-litre V8 engine, but this example is pretty special as it’s the prototype. As such, the vehicle is powered by an engine that never made it into production. Under the hood of this experimental Pontiac lurks a twin-turbocharged boat engine that gives the car an incredible 800hp. Yes, a boat engine.
As if that wasn’t mad enough, with additional boost this stalwart of 1980s design could achieve 900hp. While not currently tuned to peak performance, the Pontiac Trojan in question achieved 206mph back in the day.
The car does have its shortcomings, however. With a less-than civilised gearbox, unresponsive steering, and softer-than-soft suspension, you need to be brave when driving hard. Yet, one look at the period interior, complete with more 80s digital displays than you thought possible, and you can't help but admire Pontiac's efforts.
Check out Carfection’s video to get your 1980s fix. Although try to resist the urge for a Rubik's Cube and Nena's ’99 Red Balloons’.