The 10 Best Vehicles GM Ever Built

Corvette ZR1

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

1959 Cadillac DeVille

With those massive wings, this car was the ultimate expression of the American car in the 1950s.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

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

1970 Chevrolet 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

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

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

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

2008 Chevrolet 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

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

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

2010 Chevrolet 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?

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Cadillac DeVille
Used Oldsmobile Toronado
Used Chevy Chevelle
Used Oldsmobile 442
Used Cadillac CTS
Used Chevy Malibu
Used Pontiac G8
Used Saturn Aura
Used Chevy Corvette

10 Comments

  1. 1964 Dodge 426 Hemi
    Specifications
    Wheelbase, inches: 119.0
    Weight, lbs: 3210
    Number built: NA

    did i forget to mention that this is stockk ohh okk
    Base price: $4,600

    Standard Engine
    Type: ohv V-8
    Displacement, cid: 426
    Fuel system: 2 x 4bbl.
    Compression ratio: 12.5:1
    Horsepower @ rpm: 425 @ 6000
    Torque @ rpm: 480 @ 4600

    Representative Performance
    0-60 mph, sec: 4.1
    1/4 mile, sec. @ mph: 11.40 @ 125

  2. Ok I pretty much agree except where is the bel air? It would be hard to pick only 10 of there best cars but id put bel air and nova novas has been a great strip car. And america needs to remember its roots carburetors and v8 with valves in the head not a cam. But that’s just my opinion

  3. Despite the stumbles, GM world-sourcing cars is a good thing. If the engineering talent is there, use it. Don’t waste the expense replicating efforts in different locations. Two Oldsmobiles and two Caddys on the list gets thumbs up from me.

    I recall writing a(n unanswered) letter to GM berating them for not investing the money that went to Saturn in Olds instead when they formed the new division. Now we have neither. At least Olds moved me, figuratively and literally – I owned a ’77 442 in high school during the mid-80s, and a Delta 88 coupe through the ’90s. And my mother was the first at her local dealer to get a ’67 Cougar: metallic green with a white interior and a white vinyl top. I think it was a 4spd? She kept it for nearly 10 years (until I was about 8-9) when too much underbody rust claimed it. Loved the original Cougar as much as my 442.

  4. @ tgriffith
    Fair enough, youd love an XR8 or the Turbo 6 which will keep a 6.2 Commodore honest.Unfortunately Ford has talked of foisting the Taurus on the Aussie NZ market again last time was a dismal failure as its the opposite of a Falcon with a revy v6 and front drive rather than a torquey straight6 rwd .Those original Cougars are way cool I remember seeing 1 in Auckland as a kid it must have been nearly new never forgot it.

  5. I didn’t forget the GTO at all.. I included the 442 in its place. But hey, I’m the guy who also prefers the ’67 Mercury Cougar to the ’67 Ford Mustang. I’m also well aware of the underpinnings behind the Aura and the G8… Getting some of that Euro and Australian metal over on these shores is wonderful! Now if Ford will just bring us the Falcon XR… what do you think of that one, Bryce?

  6. No Corvair? Either the ’60-’64, or the ’65-’69? DISAPPOINTED! And the ’67 Toronado was better than the ’66. And it WASN’T the first front-wheel-driver. Saturn Anything? You’ve got to be kidding…Saturn was when Roger Smith destroyed GM.

  7. Cant believe you forgot the goat, and Cord built front drive cars way back in the 30s the Toronado is GMs first front driver. That Saturn is actually an Opel/Vauxhall from Europe and the PontiacG8 is from Austalias Holden division NOT Pontiac still GM but only badged in the US sure as hell not built there.The CTS is a good handling competent car look under the skin you find a Holden again same as the new Camaro.

  8. Well, ol’ buddy, I could sure quibble with some of your choices here. But there is one glaring omission–the Pontiac GTO (I liked the ’66 best). How could a muscle-car guy like you not include it? The Olds 442 is a weak copy.

    • I agree,I owned a 1970 GTO in high school,I loved it so much. Loved those Pontiac engines.
      Too bad they didn’t have the support back then, plus GM screwed Pontiac for Chevy.
      Pontiac engineers came out with wonderful engines that would never see the light of day,thanks to GM.

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