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Pontiac Tojan?

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Never heard of this car before today. Anyone else in the dark?

If you tell someone all about the Pontiac Tojan, they'll swear you're making it up. An 800-horsepower supercar that beat Ferrari to 200 miles per hour, but hardly anyone remembers it in 2024? The car even looks made up; closer to something out of Speed Racer than it is to a realistic variant of the third-gen Firebird.



To this day, you'll only find a handful of YouTube videos, overviews, and even Reddit posts on the Tojan supercar. But it is absolutely a real car, and you can actually buy one yourself for a lot less than you'd expect to spend, thanks in part to its relative obscurity. Of course, you'll want to act fast, as the secret about this hidden gem is bound to get out sooner or later.

HotCars has sourced data for this piece from auction websites including Mecum and Bring a Trailer, material published by Pontiac and General Motors, and sales data from Hagerty and Classic.com for pricing estimates.
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Black and gold 1985-1991 Pontiac Tojan in a Parking Lot

Black and gold 1985-1991 Pontiac Tojan in a Parking Lot© Provided by HotCars
Related

1985-1991 Pontiac Tojan: Costs, Facts, And Figures​

The Tojan was an attempt to build a budget supercar.

An Estimated 136 Pontiac Tojans Were Produced​

Exact numbers have not been made readily available, but the Tojan was available by special order, with an estimated 136 of those orders having been processed. The car was available from 1985 to 1991, with every single one being produced specifically for the buyer.

Estimates have ranged from 133 to 150 models, but, not counting the one-off prototype, 136 is probably as close as we'll get to a grand total, based on what we know about how many of each body type were produced.



The Most Recent Verified Tojan Sale Was For Just $20,000​

A 1987 Pontiac Tojan with 41,000 miles on the odometer sold for a measly $20,000 with one bid on Bring a Trailer in January of 2024. That's dirt cheap for a car like this. They don't pop up on the market all that often, so it's difficult to hash out an average sale price, but based on the data available right now, you can still buy one of these for less than you'd spend on a new budget-priced compact – if you can find one for sale.

The Tojan Was A Real-Life Hot Wheel, Designed by Harry Bradley​

The Tojan's striking exterior was designed by Harry Bentley Bradley during a stint at General Motors. If you've heard the name Harry Bradley before, it was likely in connection to the Hot Wheels brand, where Bradley designed 1/64 scale versions of classics like the Barracuda and the Corvette, and even the 1993 Oscar-Mayer Wienermobile. Any list of rare or expensive Hot Wheels models, and you're going to find some Harry Bradley designs.


Body designs typically go through several rounds of focus-group testing and feedback before hitting the market, which is why the concept cars always look a bit wilder than the production models. The Tojan was released into the world with no filter between Bradley's imagination and the market, which is why it has such a distinctive look to it.

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 Pontiac Tojan

Pontiac Tojan© Provided by HotCars
Related

This Is How Much A Pontiac Tojan Costs Today​

The Pontiac Tojan is a rare but significant would-be supercar with a complicated story behind it. Let's take a look at how much it costs today.

The Tojan Prototype Hit 200 MPH Years Before the Ferrari F40​

Pontiac commissioned the Tojan prototype through Knudsen Automotive in 1984. Knudsen produced one of the coolest prototype cars ever by yanking the original engine out and replacing it with a highly-tuned V8 cranking out an incredible 800 horsepower and reaching top speeds of up to 206 miles per hour, something Ferrari wouldn't accomplish until 1987, and something that no production car had managed to do at that point.



Knudsen Used A Literal Boat Engine In The Prototype Tojan​

If you're wondering how they got 800 horses out of a tuned V8 engine back in the mid-1980s, the answer is they borrowed one from an actual speed boat, sort of the opposite of how they made that Porsche boat with a Viper V10 car engine.

While the original Pontiac Tojan officially produced 800 horsepower, it was said to be capable of up to 900 horsepower under the right conditions. So why isn't the Tojan considered the record holder? Read on.


The Production Model Was Just A Cool-Looking Firebird​

The supercar version of the Tojan was just a prototype. Once this thing went into production, all they really did was take a standard third-generation Pontiac Firebird with a standard 5.0-liter or 5.7-liter engine (205 or 210 horsepower, respectively), and slap that beautiful fiberglass Tojan body on top of it. So, ultimately, an entry-level Tojan would have the same specs as a third-gen 5.0 Firebird. This would put a production model Pontiac Tojan 0-60 at 8.7 seconds.

Pontiac Tojan Specs​

Engine5.0-Liter V6
Power205 Horsepower
Torque245 lb-ft
0-608.7 Seconds
Top Speed106 mph
The Tojan could reportedly be supercharged or turbocharged up to 400 horses or so, but the 800-hp beast that was promised by the prototype would never hit mass production. The 200 mph land-speed record for a one-off car had already been set back in 1927 by the Sunbeam, so, in terms of pure numbers, the Tojan is more of a historical footnote than it is a legitimate record-shatterer.


Ultimately just a really cool body kit for the Firebird, the fact that Pontiac overpromised and underdelivered on the actual performance specs of the Tojan may explain why the car sold so few units and why the Ferrari F40 holds the record of the first production car to h

The Rarest Pontiac Firebird In GM's History​

This one-of-one Pontiac is without a doubt the most exclusive Firebird ever developed.

Starting MSRP For The Pontiac Tojan Was Just $22,000​

Various sources will cite various starting MSRPs, but the most common number you're going to find will be $22,000 for a bare-bones 1985 Tojan. Adjusting for inflation, an entry-level Pontiac Tojan price tag of just $22,000 in 1985 would come out to around $62,000 today.


Depending on your options, you could more than double that to around $55,000, or $156,000 in today's dollars. In any event, the current $20,000 price tag would come out to just $7,000 back in the mid-1980s, so you're definitely getting a bargain if you can find one in good condition. If you want to shop around for one of the even rarer limited edition models, and if you can find a buyer who's just eager to get rid of the thing and clear up some lot space, you could be getting your hands on a six-figure sports car for less than you might spend on a brand new leather sofa, making it, shockingly, one of the cheapest Pontiac Firebirds on the market today.

HotCars Photo © 2023 Valnet<\/p>\n"">
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Pontiac Tojan Concept render, 2 cars, front and back

Pontiac Tojan Concept render, 2 cars, front and back© Provided by HotCars
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American Hero: Check Out The Pontiac Tojan, New And Improved For 2023​

The high-performance, aftermarket supercar from the 80s gets new blood in an exclusive concept render.

The Tojan's Interior Was All Original​

Everything under the hood of the production model Tojan was basically identical to the late-eighties Firebird, but the cabin boasted the same cool aesthetic as the exterior.

We can't track down every option offered to buyers over the Tojan's six-year run, but based on auction info, there was a black-exterior model with Carmine Red leather, unique "Tojan by Recaro" embroidery on the seats, burled walnut dashboard, and a slick three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel. In short: This thing was pure eighties class, inside and out.


Tojans Were Available in Convertible and Hardtop Coupe Models​

While we don't have information on all the options available to us, we do know that the Tojan was available in a pair of two-door models: a hardtop coupe and a convertible. According to current estimates, at least 120 coupes, 13 convertibles, and three special edition "Knightmare" models, featuring a gold and black paint scheme and a unique rear spoiler, were produced.

The model that went up for sale on automotive auction heavyweight website Bring a Trailer earlier this year was a coupe, by far the most common of the three. According to Classic dot com, a Knightmare model with just 41,800 miles on the odometer sold in 2017 for a mere $13,500, having sold for around $44,000 not that long before. Normally, we'd say this suggests a pattern of major depreciation. But hardly anyone knows these things exist, and they only go up for sale once or twice a decade, so the sample size is way too small to map out accurate market patterns.


The Pontiac Tojan Was Marketed As A Budget-Friendly Alternative to a Ferrari​

The whole "beating Ferrari at their own game" stunt with the 800 horsepower prototype was a big part of the Tojan's marketing, and it's no coincidence that the car looks like a Ferrari and a Pontiac had a baby. In 1985, a Ferrari F40 would have cost you somewhere around $400,000.

The Pontiac Tojan would cost you about 6% as much, so if you just wanted something that looked cool, you could buy a Tojan, invest the difference in Microsoft, and retire a billionaire in the mid-1990s.
 
I'm totally in the pitch black dark on this one.
 
Was this copied off an auction web page?
It reads like a typical mega-hype presale "awareness" campaign.

It is a neat car, but there are a whole lot of cooler, faster, better one off GM cars out there.
Remember, rare does not equate valuable I can go buy a Merkur XR4TI with 18k miles on it down the road from me for $3000. Up for sale for over a year now.
But then, GM guys might slobber on this, they made half a million Chevelles in one year and the GM guys all say theirs is worth 6 figures.

As this is basically a body mod and interior mod, I have to presume then the auction houses would be equally excited about a Waldoch conversion van or Waldoch F150. Right?
 
ZR1 C6 Vette is a better bet on appreciating value, but the current price of entry is not for the faint of heart.
 
Looks like KIT got drunk and got tattoos!
 
I made no indications about if it's good or bad, cool or a dumb looking car. Just sayin that I had never heard of the car before, which I didn't think was possible...lol.
 
Just another Pontiac with Vette envy.
:lol:
 
The more I look at it the more I am reminded of a Mitsubishi Starion.
 
ZR1 C6 Vette is a better bet on appreciating value, but the current price of entry is not for the faint of heart.
For sure.
The C4 ZR1 is on my short list. But I missed the mark on getting one I think, didn't have funds when they were under 20k. They are on the way up too. Not a huge C4 fan but that engine...
 
I made no indications about if it's good or bad, cool or a dumb looking car. Just sayin that I had never heard of the car before, which I didn't think was possible...lol.
I was GM and I have never seen one. That's more HP than a stock 4 barrel 305. Thanks for sharing!!
 
I would expect no less from some entity called "HotCars"....
Seriously, this is all boy racer zoom zoom crap to me.
I never got into that whole Nightrider/tacked-and-glued on "gingerbread" styling in the 80's...
Yes, that included the Daytona Turbo Z.
Would be embarassed to be seen in one, leave alone driving one.
 
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