You’ll Hate Yourself for Loving This Pontiac Aztec Trans Am Concept

If you listen closely, you can hear internet commenters screaming like the chicken on the hood.

byJames Gilboy|
Culture photo


Coronavirus cabin fever is getting to us all, and it seems creative types like Abimelec Arellano of Abimelec Design are getting hit the hardest. Following a fan-requested modern take on the Mercury Cougar, Arellano's creative energies took a turn for the twisted with the creation of a Pontiac-badged abomination that's so offensive that it somehow works. Meet the Pontiac Aztek Trans Am.

Remembered as one of the ugliest cars of the 2000s (and by some, one of the worst cars of all time), the Aztek was unusual for more reasons than we have time to go through here. Its tent-concealing fastback crossover body style was possibly 15 years ahead of its time, and its glaring, four-eyed face was one only a mother could love. With a 3.4-liter V6 that made just 185 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, sent either to the front or all four wheels by a four-speed automatic, the Aztek is just about the last vehicle deserving of any sporting credentials, though that's exactly what Arellano gave it with his Trans Am interpretation.

Pontiac Aztek Trans Am Concept, Abimelec Arellano

Arellano's Aztek Trans Am proudly wears the "screaming chicken" emblem from the hood of the Firebird Trans Am, alongside which the Aztek briefly coexisted in the early 2000s. It sits visibly lower, with widened fenders extending out over a set of giant Trans Am-style alloy wheels that look better than they have any right to on this soft-roader. A luggage rack-slash-roof spoiler, dashes of gold trim, and a ducktail (rooster tail?) spoiler out back complete the sacrilegious performance crossover, which internet commenters, surprisingly, don't hate.

"The firebird on the hood came about as a joke honestly, I thought we could all use a good laugh in these complicated times, but the people have received it more seriously and to my surprise, positively," Arellano told The Drive. "They love it!"

Instagram via The Drive

Strangely, one of the Aztek Trans Am's biggest fans seems to be the crusader against Mopar splitter guards himself, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Head of Design Mark Trostle. Perhaps Trostle will emerge from social distancing inspired to create something similarly unusual—a Hellcat version of the Dodge Journey sounds like the right way to brighten up 2020, wouldn't you say?

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