Pontiac Aztek Trans Am: What If The Ultimate Normcore Ride Hit The Gym?
The original brief for the Aztek was Camaro + Blazer. Does this capture that mojo?
We're all looking for an escape these days, and this Pontiac Aztek with a Firebird Trans Am-style makeover is exactly the sort of automotive fantasy we're craving. It hits on a few different levels. Most importantly, with a few subtle tweaks, the talented artist behind this sketch—Abimelec Arellano—improved significantly on the Aztek's oft-criticized styling. With the tacky body cladding gone, fat fender flares filled with bigger wheels, and a smoothed-out rear bumper that accentuates the Aztek's Kammback look, you can see there's a distinctive and perhaps even appealing shape under it all.
It helps prove what some of us have thought all along, and that Breaking Bad amplified to some extent—that the Aztek was a decent vehicular idea with a flawed execution. It doesn't take much to give the Pontiac a muscular crossover look. In fact, in a world where the fastback BMW X6 M and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe don't raise any eyebrows, maybe a dumped, box-flared performance Aztek might even have worked—provided Pontiac had survived, along with the Aztek itself, to today.
And then we come to the Firebird details: The hood decal lovingly (and sometimes derisively) referred to as the Screaming Chicken and the snowflake alloys, both set off by the deep black paint. The choice for the black paint came first to Arellano, who says it "helps to hide the plastic/sheet metal difference and some of the unfortunate cues, like the weird shapes over on the rear quarter section." But the decal and wheels, which are obviously enlarged from the original's 15x7-inch size and fitted with a deeper lip, are just there for a laugh.
"[B]ecause it's an Aztek and it shouldn't take itself too seriously, and we could also all use a good laugh in these tough times," Arellano told us, "it struck me: Firebird hood decal and wheels! No particular reason, just the fact it's a Pontiac."
The new design might not take itself too seriously, but it's a serious improvement over the original. It's no small feat to take a compromised, awkward shape like the Aztek's and fix it. But, this looks so good, we hope that someone with a derelict Aztek behind the shop and some serious bodywork skills actually transforms Arellano's fun idea into a reality.
Arellano tells us he has some other fun renders in the works and we can't wait to share them with you. Until then, we hope this muscle car-inspired Aztek makes you smile a bit.