Pontiac  - Montana Thunder
Pontiac's Montana Thunder Designed for Active 21st Century Buyer
DETROIT - Those rumbling on the automotive horizon may very well be the next generation of sport utility and minivan owners who want more; more style, more functionality and more power.
Then again, those rumblings may ver well be Pontiac's latest concept, the Montana Thunder,a Performance Activity Vehicle that delivers more of these attributes. The only things it has less of are mass and tail pipe emissions.
Part Sport Utility, Part Minivan
"The Montana Thunder is a crossover vehicle; Sports-minded, young-at-heart Pontiac buyers demand and expect the kind of performance that comes from a Ram Air V6 engine, but the new generation of drivers demand and expect low emissions levels. The Thunder delivers both."
Pontiac set the pace last year by exploring functional crossover vehicles with the Rageous, a concept emphasizing power and functionality for car buyers with active lifestyles.
21st Century Pontiac Styling
Evolving from the highly successful Trans Sport Montana, Thunder is an expanded exp0loration of that theme and takes bold Pontiac styling in to the 21st Century. Exterior design elements include 18-inch asymmetrical wheels, a Ram Air hood, robust cladding and unique forward, bodyside and rear lighting.
Ram Air Hood Scoops and High-Mounted Activity Lamps
The front is dominated by the Pontiac signature split grille and accented by Ram Air hood scoops. Superior forward illumination provided by retractable headlamps, round fog lamps and Thunder-specific High-Mounted Activity Lamps at the top corners of the windshield. These lamps were designed to light the area in the immediate vicinity of the Thunder in a parked, rather than a running, condition.
Unique Directional Signals
Directional signals are designed into the hood as well as the outside rear view mirrors. Forward directional signals appear as "eyebrow" lines of amber LED lighting embedded into the top outline of the retractable headlamp door. Another set of directional signals appear as claw pattern amber lights on the leading edge of the OSRV mirrors and provide greater visibility to oncoming traffic.
Outside mirrors also contain the FloodLight security feature. These lights illuminate the ground around the front doors when someone presses the UNLOCK button on the key fob.
The Thunder runs on exclusive P275/45R18 tires with a special tread pattern. That same pattern is reflected in the foot pads of the running boards and rear step bumper, as well as the in the asymmetrical 18-inch cast aluminum wheels. Combining a panel of Pontiac Red with the brushed aluminum surrounds, Thunder's futuristic wheels are designed to suggest motion, even when the Thunder is standing still..
Protective side cladding featuring an angled ribbed pattern gives the Thunder an active, strong appearance and compliments the motion motif in other side features.
The top rack is equipped with access lights for safer loading and unloading of equipment in a night setting. The rack, painted black like the roof, is not just a luggage carrier, but is rather a place to secure sports equipment such as a kayak or snowboard.
Surprising Rear Functionality
A number of surprises are designed into the rear of the Thunder that enhances the vehicle's extensive functionality. The step bumper, for example, features an integrated flip and stow trailer hitch that can be deployed when needed, but stowed out of sight when not in use.
Integrated Bike Rack
Another unique rear feature is Thunder's integrated bike rack. Built into the rear hatch, the bike rack folds out to accommodate and secure no one, but two bikes. The compact unit folds neatly and securely back into place when not needed.
Rear styling is further enhanced by the unique CHMSL and brake lights. Brake lights appear as four red "slashes" like brush stokes or a claw pattern and are mounted on the outboard edges of the rear window. The CHMSL is circular in shape and is centrally located in the pivot of the rear window wiper.
Large, Round Backup Lamps
The aggressive look of the lower rear fascia is pure Pontiac. Large, round backups lamp;s flood the rear area with light to enhance occupant and vehicle safety in additional to providing a significant styling cue. Integrated into the lens is a halo band of red visible only when the lamps are illuminated. This same feature appears on the front fog lamps.
Below each backup lamp are dual chromed exhaust tips representing Pontiac's storied performance and styling heritage.
Doors are designed to bring a high level of functionality to this crossover vehicle. Thunder boasts power sliding doors on driver and passenger sides and a power liftgate in the rear. These three portals are activated by the remote keyless entry system.
Extreme Sporty Stance
Thunder's dimensions reflect an extreme sporty stance that has been a hallmark for Pontiac designs. With an overall length of 182.1 inches and a wheelbase of 112 inches, the Thunder crouches on a track width of 65.5 inches in front and 68.3 inches in the rear. Thunder's overall width of 81 inches at the wheel flares and the overall height is a chopped 65.2 inches.
Eight Inches Wider
To put the super aggressive stance into perspective, Thunder stands more than eight inches wider than the regular wheelbase 1998 Montana. Additionally, rear track is five inches wider while the length is five inches shorter.
Past and Future
Thunder design engineers found a way to appoint the interior with a futuristic feel while retrieving a favorite Pontiac performance feature from the past. While the electronics and cluster lighting are leading edge, the instrument pod recalls the muscle car era when the Pontiac Trans Am and GTO Judge ruled the street.
Key gauges-speedometer, tachometer, voltage meter, engine temperature, fuel gauge and oil pressure-are enclosed in a pod similar to the instrument cluster of a motorcycle. Gauges are round and peer out of a brushed chrome face plate. This retro treatment conjures up images of the full round, metal-encased gauges on muscle cars and hot rods of a bygone era.
Tilt Instrument Cluster
A driver-oriented feature of the instrument pod is that it tilts with the steering wheel as it is adjusted up and down. This capability keeps the gauges at an optimal viewing angle no matter where the steering wheel is positioned.
Unique Cluster Lighting
Delco Electronics Systems engineers employed an innovative LED application to achieve a unique cluster illumination system. Daytime light mode features crisp, bright white numerals on a red field while the nighttime mode converts gauge faces to Pontiac Warm Red numerals on a dark field. LED lighting, also used to illuminate the gauge pointers, is an efficient method to achieve a highly readable gauge face and is more service-friendly than the higher-cost fluorescent cluster lighting currently used on some luxury vehicles.
An electronic instrument display behind the cluster pod contains an interactive, reconfigurable telltale (RTT) that gives the driver real-time information about vehicle systems. The RTT features a LCD screen and dot matrix digital display. Dot matrix is a highly flexible-and therefore global - format for display of information and can adapt to many different symbols, Icons or languages, including such visually rich languages as Chinese and Arabic. Another immediate advantage is that it allows for more information to be displayed in a smaller space.
Track Ball Mouse
The drive can scroll through the RTT for vehicle operating systems information via a track ball mouse. A mouse is located on each side of the steering wheel at the three and nine o'clock positions.
The circular theme of the gauges carries through to the control knobs on the instrument panel and sound system and in the HVAC vents. Sound system controls and HVAC vents employ a trilobal design in which the circular feature is divided into three equal parts. The steering wheel is also presented in a trilobal design.
Thunder seating is for six active, sports-minded people. Unique, lightweight construction includes the use of breathable webbing in the seat and back, similar to that used in modern high-tech office chairs. Leather bolsters, sides and head rests are more substantial to cradle occupants in a safe, but comfortable and functional seat.
These lightweight, flip and fold seats are easily removable to provide reconfigurable cargo space, an essential for people with active lifestyles. All-belts-to-seat restraints facilitate easy seat removal as well as provide occupant protection. Additional front seat occupant protection is provided by frontal and side air bags.
Picnic Basket Console
The center "Picnic Basket" console helps define Thunder as an activity vehicle. The console can be moved from the front to the second row or completely removed from the vehicle and used to carry small items, such as food for a picnic. The strap handle and zippe3r access make it more flexible for a variety of uses.
And so that no one misses the big game while picnicking, the console contains a small built-in TV with a flip up LCD screen. Audio entertainment is provided by the 500-watt Monsoon system, which includes headliner-mounted rear seat audio controls.
Low Emissions - Ram Air V6
The performance part of the Montana Thunder is provided by a low emissions Ram Air 4.0 liter V6 powerplant from the same engine family as the highly successful 3400 V6.
Don't equate low emissions with wimpy. Thunder's V6 Ram Air engine delivers a gutsy 225 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque, but is so efficient it meets stringent 2003 Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) standards. Up-front emphasis on computer analysis and modeling helped GM Powertrain engineers develop a clean, efficient combustion process without using costly added devices.
These are some of the measures taken by GM Powertrain engineers to design an engine that delivers low emissions, fuel economy and power:
· Improved air/fuel mixture distribution to insure uniform cylinder-to-cylinder combustion and emissions
· Revised port design and injector location for improved fuel vaporization
· Redesigned cylinder heads for clean and efficient combustion process
· Reduced catalytic converter light-off times through post-combustion revisions.
Thunder's clean-burning engine is packaged in an innovative engine cover that provides a clean, neat underhood appearance. The bright red cover reveals only the Ram Air breather, but provides customer access to engine oil and transmission fluid dipsticks and to reservoirs for engine oil, coolant and windshield washer fluid.
"We began the exploration of a crossover vehicle with the 1997 Trans Sport Montana," said Trans Sport Brand Manager Jim Murray. "The Thunder, while retaining Pontiac's sporty brand character, refines the crossover concept for a segment of 21st century buyers who will have different needs and demands."
Thunder Instrument Cluster Blends Pontiac Performance Heritage with Delphi Delco
Electronics Systems Innovations
DETROIT - Delphi Delco Electronics Systems' innovative uses of LED technology and multifunction dot matrix display techniques provide a futuristic functionality to the performance-oriented styling of the instrument panel on the Pontiac Montana Thunder.
Reminiscent of Pontiac's muscle cars, Thunder's gauge cluster features round, cylindrical gauges with daytime and nighttime lighting modes to make numerals and pointers highly readable at all times.
Brides Two Eras
"We are pleased to join Pontiac in this exciting concept vehicle project," said Michael J. Burns, Delphi Delco Electronics Systems general manager and GM vice president. "By placing advanced electronics in Thunder's instrumentation, we have captured the best of two eras - the Pontiac muscle cars of the '60s and the technology-rich electronics of today."
Motorcycle Cluster and Self-Adjusting Pod
The instrument cluster provides a visually dramatic assortment of information gauges enclosed in a pod resembling the cluster of a motorcycle. A self-adjusting feature of the cluster allows it to tilt as the steering wheel is adjusted. This keeps the gauges at an optimal viewing position no matter where the steering wheel is positioned.
Ultra-Lite LED technology, developed by DDES, uses a thin acrylic material to effectively channel light to the primary display graphics. A 3D effect comes from the contrast between the high intensity graphic lighting and the dark backgrounds. Daytime mode consists of brilliant white graphics over a red field. Night time mode shows graphics in a warm red over a dark field.
High Intensity Pointes
Analog pointer lighting technology captures nearly 100 percent of the LED source lighting and projects it outward like a focused laser beam. The instrumentation cluster also features high intensity led illumination for the gear position indicator and directional turn signal indicators.
DDES also engineered a high-density, multifunction reprogrammable telltale (RTT) that gives the driver real-time information about vehicle systems. The driver can scroll through RTT information by means of a track ball mouse located at the three and nine o'clock positions on the steering wheel.
Dot Matrix Flexibility
The RTT features and LCD screen and dot matrix digital display for maximum flexibility. Dot Matrix can adapt to many domestic and international applications including symbols, icons or languages. In addition, RTT can be adapted to display hands-free cellular communication, direct broadcast information, turn-by-turn navigation, or safety and security messages.
With world headquarters in Kokomo, Indiana, Delphi Delco Electronics Systems develops and manufactures vehicle electronics systems. Delphi Delco Electronics Systems is an operating division of Delphi Automotive Systems, the world's most diversified supplier of automotive components and systems.
Montana Thunder Specifications
Ram Air 4.0 Liter 60 V6
Horsepower (Est.): 225
Specs and Dimensions
Front Track: 65.5
Rear Track: 68.3
Total Width: 81
Emissions Complies with 2003 ULEV Standards
Dual Power Sliding Door
Instrument Cluster Lighting
Tilt Instrument Cluster
High-Mounted Activity Lights
Rack Access Lamps
Integrated Flip Down Trailer Hitch
Integrated Dual Bike Rack
Webbing In Seats