Saying General Motors has built a lot of cars is like saying the ocean has a lot of water.
GM was formed in 1908, so putting together a list of the best vehicles it has ever built is a highly subjective look back through the company’s history. A list could easily be split into many categories: best looking, best performing, most reliable, etc.
Instead I’ve decided to take a broad look at what I think are simply the 10 best. My reasoning is below, but feel free to argue or let me know what cars would make your list of the best vehicles GM ever built.
1959 Cadillac DeVille
With those massive wings, this car was the ultimate expression of the American car in the 1950s.
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
The Toronado is historically significant as the first front-wheel-drive automobile produced in the United States. It’s a big, beautiful, luxurious coupe powered by a 425-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Super Rocket V8 rated at 385 horsepower.
1970 Chevy Chevelle SS
A 454 LS6 engine, classy chromed quadruplet lights, and a big mean grille blatantly displaying the letters SS. This was, and still is, one tough car!
1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30
The W-30 option increased horsepower to 370. Motor Trend praised the 442, stating that “it’s probably the most identifiable super car in the GM house.” That’s enough to earn it a spot in this list!
1987 Buick Grand National GNX
As Car and Driver said: “Lord Vader, your car is ready!” This car was big, black, and menacing and, even in ’87, cost $29K. Good luck finding one today…
2003 Cadillac CTS
The first year of the CTS signaled the coming transformation of General Motors. The soon-to-follow V models are world-class performance machines and a huge source of pride for GM and the American auto industry.
2008 Chevy Malibu
The ’08 Malibu was the first GM product to seriously take on the imports that began arriving on our shores 30 years earlier. It also proved that the quality engineering behind the CTS was not a fluke.
2009 Pontiac G8 GXP
I think this is the best Pontiac GM ever built. The G8 GXP has the rumbling exhaust and torquey response of 1960s muscle cars combined with the precise handling and responsive ride of modern performance cars, all with an interior that challenges the likes of Audi. Rest in Peace, GXP.
2009 Saturn Aura
I might get mocked for this choice, but this is the best affordable midsize sedan GM has ever made. That’s saying a lot, considering the Malibu is right up there, too.
2010 Chevy Corvette ZR1
A $100,000 American supercar capable of 638 horsepower and 0-60 in about 3 seconds. This one could easily take the crown as GM’s best car ever.
All the late models on this list show that GM is finally entering what could be a whole new era of quality. Of course, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Saturn are gone, but I believe GM’s best is still yet to come.
What are your favorite vehicles from GM’s 100-plus year history?