Looking to compete with Ferraris and other European exotica, GM commissioned Knudsen Automotive to build a Pontiac-branded sports car built around the F-Body platform. The automaker shipped Firebird GTA frames to Knudsen Automotive’s Omaha, Nebraska plant, along with LB9 Tuned Port Injection 305 V8s and 700R4 Turbo Hydramatic automatic transmissions, where the aftermarket manufacturer put the car together.
Knudsen Automotive also designed and installed a number of its own upgrades, including a digital dashboard, upgraded suspension and three-piece wheels. The bodywork was completed by Knudsen Automotive and was actually inspired by 1980s-era Ferraris. The Tojan’s optional rear-wing, for example, echoed other big-winged European supercars of the time like the Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Countach.
YouTube channel Carfection recently got the chance to drive a Pontiac Tojan in the United Kingdom, of all places. This wasn’t just any Tojan, either – this is the first Tojan built and served as the development prototype. As such, it doesn’t have some run-of-the-mill 305 V8 under the hood, but a Gale Banks-built twin-turbocharged V8 originally meant for marine applications. It produces a ridiculous 800 hp, and although some of the power has been lost over the years, the Tojan prototype is still plenty quick.
This exact car also hit 206 mph during tests in the 1980s, just in case you ever doubted the performance of the Banks Turbo engine. The host says the steering and suspension are a bit mushy, just like most 1980s cars, but the pint-and-shoot nature of the twin-turbo coupe is appropriately American.
Hear what else Carfection had to say about the absurdly fast and fantastically ’80s Pontiac Tojan in the video embedded above.