Brilliantly functional
The versatility of Rageous starts with how you access the interior. Opening up to the front its seats is nothing too special. It’s when access to the rear seats is needed, that’s where things got inventive.

Rageous interior passenger sideBy the mid-1990s rear-hinged, rear seat access doors on trucks were becoming popular because of their functionality. In order to maintain the look of a sporty coupe but facilitate access, Pontiac integrated the pickup truck feature. The rear doors’ handles are located inside the door jam and are accessible once the front door is opened, similar to how many truck designs work.

With a 117-inch wheelbase, four wide-opening doors, a pillar-less opening, and three flat-folding seats, the Rageous was quite luggage friendly.

But, in the event you had need to carry something larger than luggage, oh say—a 4×8-foot sheet of plywood, Pontiac still had you covered. Though, even with its gaping side-opening, it still wouldn’t be easy to fit an object that large into the car. So, Rageous was designed with another unconventional but practical feature.

Rageous interior rearTo load that awkward yet commonly-transported item into the rear cargo area, you can lift its hatch and lower its tailgate. That’s right, Rageous has a tailgate and it folds level with the cargo space.

If you had smaller items that needed transporting, and didn’t want them flying around in the cavernous 49 cubic feet of storage area, Rageous had myriad bins and no less than 10 pockets made of netting to secure them.

Don’t forget, it’s a Pontiac
Okay, so Rageous had great cargo carrying capacity. So do most station wagons, minivans and SUVs. Apart from its flashy looks, someone might ask, “what’s the big deal?”

Remember which of GM’s divisions from whence this concept came. The one that builds (rather, built) excitement. So how did that translate to a vehicle like the Rageous?

engineTry a 315-horsepower, Ram-Air-fed, 5.7-liter LT1 V8, donated with love from the Trans Am. All that power was delivered to a Borg-Warner six-speed manual transmission and channeled through P315/30R22 tires (with hand-cut tread) to the pavement, for a 0-60 MPH sprint lasting only 5.5 seconds–while handily transporting a sheet of plywood.

As the foundation, Pontiac started with a heavily modified Firebird platform. Front suspension was the Firebird’s short- and long-arm system, with coils. Cross-drilled, ventilated discs (rears donated from a C4 Corvette) brought the Rageous under submission. The driveshaft was from a Corvette and lengthened for use on Rageous.

As a side note, the size of the concept’s gas tank was somewhere between seven or eight gallons and when asked why, in light of such a large motor, designers said that was all that was needed to move it on or off the trailer or keep it running long enough to film it in motion.

A fitting cockpit
Naturally, a driver’s vehicle needs a driver’s cockpit and, again, Pontiac delivered. Pontiac seemed to have a grasp on what drivers liked and needed out of a performance interior for quite some time before the Rageous was around. None of that talent went to waste.

The performance environment started with leather-covered bucket seats for four occupants, each equipped with a four-point harness to hold the thrill-seekers in place.

While the front seats had six-way power adjustments, rear comfort wasn’t forgotten; their seatbacks could recline. All four seats included headrests equipped with built-in speaker systems.

Rageous interior dashFacing the driver were large, easy to read gauges and the four pods to the right displayed analog as well as digital information. Controls for several common functions were mounted on the steering wheel. Reducing the need to look away from the road was the heads-up display (HUD) that indicated speed, odometer readings and engine conditions onto the windshield.

As a sign of the dawning electronics-saddled world we live in, a special communications package allowed “constant contact” with the office or loved ones by personal computer links and “cellular” phones. Even more contemporary-sounding was its Global Positioning Sensor for navigation.

The proposed entertainment system, supported by the communication link, included what was termed, “a CD pay-to-listen service” that I can only imagine was intended as a form of subscription, commercial-free broadcast service. Entertainment functions could also be displayed via the HUD.

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