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Petoskey Motors: From the ashes of War (1940-2012...)


The Lakota Pickup also featured a high end trim called the XT1

Unlike the base truck, the XT1 featured an extended cab, more comfortable seating and a CD player to boot. It used a 4RE3 transmission bolted to an electronic transfer case. Power came from the same 226 V6 used in the base Montauk. The XT1 also featured the latest DRIVESAFE package which included ABS and traction control.
In 1995 Ventnor unveiled a new model, a successor to the Chieftain, the Prefect:

While not as comfortable or awe-inspiring as the Chieftain, the car could be built in much higher volumes in order to keep up with demand. Power came from a 301 TriForce reconfigured to run smoother and quieter. The car was not only cheaper but also more efficient as well.

While the new Montauk was a hit with the muscle car crowd, another group was looking forward to 1995 when the new Stag pickup was launched.

This new truck made use of the 301 TriForce V8. The base model was available as a 2WD and 4WD truck. A 4RE5 transmission came standard with a 5RM5 as an option.

For heavier duty purposes the Stag Big Chief was available.

The Big Chief made use of the latest 432 big block equipped with a MFI system. A worthy successor to the SD trucks, the Big Chief was a monster when it came to towing. Between the brutal torque from the 432 and the rugged simplicity of the 4RH7 transmission, the truck could haul just about anything. (I don’t know if the devs plan to put duallys in the game, if not that’s why the rear tires are so wide for hauling extra cargo.)

While not the most comfortable way to get around, the Big Chief is capable of seating six people so it is more than capable of bringing the entire work crew to the job site, let alone tools and materials.

With the latest developments in fuel delivery and induction, it was no surprise when the engineers at Petoskey Motors wanted to build a 432 to see how much output they can get out of it with the latest technology. The result is the most powerful over the road version of the 432 to date. This engine was placed in a special half ton Stag which became the RTX, the first vehicle to use the RTX trim since 1971.

It was heavy, it drank gas like a fish, but it could move. In a head to head comparison with past models to bear the RTX badge, the Stag compared favorably among them.

To be continued…


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The Stag RTX is not to be confused with the Thundercracker RTX:

On second thought those two would make for a great Car and Driver comparison, you know, “GTO vs. GTO”. Shame my RTX isn’t the most powerful version. 128ci of V6 power!


Nice cars. Nice license plate indent btw, how did you do that?

I am still in the 70s in my thread, but when I look at your further creations… prepare for another slugfest with CMT. That will become hard competition. :slight_smile:


Some of the grills have a variant that is all body, specifically to create indents


The 1996 Legion saw a new overhaul. Gone was the SE trim, but the base model got a new engine in the form of a 231 SOHC V6.

The car boasted superior output and fuel efficiency over the previous model.

The 1996 Stasera was also equipped with the same engine.

1997 was the year for the first overhaul of the Enforcer.

The most obvious change was the rear tail lights which no longer featured amber indicators. The 301 TriForce was updated to offer increased performance. Fuel economy also slightly increased, and a new 5RE3 transmission was installed.

The second Generation Interceptor made use of the same changes though it retained a slightly more performance oriented configuration.

The lower service costs and reasonable pricing made the Enforcer a popular choice among law enforcement. The car was also seeing considerable success as a taxi.

The Estate model Enforcer also received an update.

(They really need wood paneling for these station wagons)
While criticized for the rear tail lights the Enforcer Estate remained a fairly solid family car. The car was reliable, offered better efficiency over the previous model, and the power of the updated 301 TriForce proved most useful on the highway when acceleration was badly needed.

The 231 V6 found its way into the 1997 base model Stag.

While not the most powerful variant, the base V6 Stag did prove inexpensive, and the increase in fuel efficiency was welcome.

The SE trim of the Stag featured the updated 301 TriForce and an improved interior.

Both trucks featured a 4RE5 transmission. While they made use of electronic controls, the Stags retained four speed transmissions for added durability.

The 1997 base model Montauk made use of the 231 mated to a 4RE3 transmission.

Overall the car remained pretty much the same, it was a little faster and more efficient, but it was hardly a radical change from the previous generation.

The 1997 Montauk Rally featured an all new 301 TriForce geared for performance.

The Trance Am was dropped in 1996, so the Rally remained the top of the line Montauk.

The 1997 Meteor saw a variant worthy of the IX-4 title.

The 377 was built up to the maximum output ever imagined for that engine. With 426 horsepower on tap and mated to a new 6RM5 transmission, the Meteor IX-4 represented the best of the best.

To be continued.


The 1998 Lakota XT1 was updated to now use the 231 SOHC V6.

The improvement in fuel economy and comfort was a welcome change to the top of the line compact pickup.

The 1998 Stasera represented a bold change to the van.

While the base Stasera used an updated 202, the Stasera Prime used the 231.

Things were going well for Petoskey Motors, however since the Strider was dropped in 1995, the company has lacked a basic economy car until now. The all new Keweenaw was an inexpensive but practical sedan.

For those who are unable to drive a manual, the Keweenaw LE featured a 4FE2 transmission.

A small drop in fuel economy was a small price to pay for being able to easily drive the car.

The Keweenaw Rally used a turbocharged engine to offer more than twice the output.

With the popularity of sport compacts on the rise, Petoskey whipped this little number up. (Actually it was so I could submit something to the Douche Meter Automation Edition thread, as expected this got pretty high marks.) The lack of an All Wheel Drive system hurt this car in the performance area.

The 1999 base Lakota received a new 135 cubic inch DOHC four cylinder engine. The most notable improvements are fuel efficiency and power.

The 1990s were a great time for Petoskey Motors. Not only did they have a competetive lineup, but they also had a decade free from scandal and controversy. While some still view Petoskey Motors with a criminal stigma, that dark cloud is smoothly passing away. What will be in store for Petoskey Motors in the 2000s? Only time will tell.


The Millennium!

Well, truth be told nothing really exciting happened during the year 2000, Petoskey Motors was cranking out their lineup as usual with no notable changes.

In the mid-1990s Petoskey Motors entered into an arrangement with CMT exchanging designs and technology. The first use on the American side of the arrangement came in the form of the 2001 Keweenaw Kaiser Edition. This model was designed to showcase the CMT Small Premium Four and it’s advanced German engineering, namely a Direct Injection system.

Despite the technological advancements of the engine, there were a few problems. For one the engine was considerably thirstier than the larger 115 normally used in the Keweenaw. The higher end refinements did result in the car being more comfortable and sporty as it was slightly faster than the base model. Reception of the car was tepid at best. Unfortunately the Keweenaw established itself as the budget economy model and something that costs 50% more while returning less fuel efficiency proved detrimental to sales. The car was retained as a higher end trim for a few years but was eventually discontinued in 2004.

The year of our Lord 2002 marked five years since the last update to the Enforcer, which meant another one was due.

Improvements included some suspension tweaking, an update to the 301 TriForce, and the car now sits on 17 inch rims.

As before, the Interceptor variant was also updated.

The Estate version also received an update.

This would be the final version of the Estate variant as the 2005 model year is slated to be its last.

The 2002 Ventnor Prefect received an update which vastly improved it’s performance as well as internal electronics and comfort.

A new 5RE4 transmission coupled with an updated engine allowed the 5000 lb. car to hit 0-60 in 7.3 seconds. The car could reach an incredible top speed of 191.7 mph!

The 432 V8 was retired one year prior. To fill the heavy truck needs, a new 402 V8 was developed. Unlike the Ventnor 402 from the 60s and 70s, this one was a completely modern design using AlSi materials and a DOHC setup from the beginning.

One of the most noticeable differences was the slight improvement in fuel efficiency. In reality the truck was improved in nearly every aspect.

To be continued…


Nice to see you still keep the Enforcer alive as Ford did with the CV. Without knowing Enforcer, I made nearlly a copy of it. Well, CMT could have saved a lot of money if they had asked Petoskey earlier.

CMT and Petoskeys alliance began in the late 80s, after Christoph Martin Thanner (now you got the CEOs name) mourned his competitor Gordon Petoskey who died in prison. Thanner and Petoskey were far from being friends, but they truly appreciated each other, even after CMT outsold Petoskey clearly since the 70s. Thanner, not a conservative but already a very old man, a gentleman of the old stamp, had serious problems with the harsh Eleanor Ventnor as she roughly defeated him when he wanted to buy Petoskey. But Christoph’s oldest son Jack (approx. five years older than Ms. Ventnor) liked Eleanor’s attitude and made friends with her.
In 1994, the famous Montauk was fitted with a new front design and CMT engines and became the CMT pony/muscle as the small brother of the 1987 Le Mans. That car was not unsuccessful and dropped out of production in 2001, when, as a compensation, the revised Small Premium Four was given to Petoskey plus relatively cheap access to some cars CMT built in the 2000s.

But now a few words regarding the engine just presented:
The Small Premium Four was developed for the 1989 Vaillante, one of the first premium small cars. The first try with the Turbo Dwarf was a disaster, now Vaillante should make everything right. Clean german engineering, world-class design and excellent marketing for young, successful people. Without the Vaillante, Audi A3 and even BMW 1 may never existed, as Vaillante sold relatively well for its outrageous price.
In competiton with rooted in the soil-Petoskey CMT often made the painful experience that the most advanced is not always the best. (Just look at the 1980 Donnington SE engine in CMT thread and at that horrible Turbo Dwarf).
In 1989, Small Premium Four was one of the best engines on the market, smooth and brisk at the same time. Its consumption could have been lower, as 8 liters were rather standard than state of the art.

A better power-to-mpg ratio offered the turbo, as CMT learned from the mistakes from the Donnington SE turbo engine. It was offered in a sporty Vaillante and the top-level Commuter variant. Did I already mention the excellent reliability of the Small Premium Four family?

To reduce unit costs, a simpler variant using cheaper components was introduced in 1998. CMT managed to keep power at the same level, but consumption did not improve at all.

CMT had put more effort in that engine in 2001, as the new midsize Atlas got the SPF as entry-level-engine. If you look at the ratings, that much heavier car is faster and thriftier (well, aerodynamics improved as well a little compared to Vaillante, but mostly the engine). That car flopped anyway, as the Atlas was a very expensive premium car, and the higher trims offered nearlly Ventnor qualities in a small body. But no one wanted a sparing version of that that was still expensive. Atlas Classic was a flop even compared to the Petoskey Kaiser variant! The SPF in its 01 SE variant was mainly ordred in CMTs premium city vehicles untill in 2004, the all-new economy-trimmed Ecofour substituted it.


I like how this thread is going - it showcases the history of a marque whose history actually goes all the way back to the early war years, unlike either of the companies I made a thread about. I’d like to see where this thread goes next!


The 2002 Keweenaw saw some improvements.

Not too heavily changed over the previous generation, a CD player was made standard. More importantly was the improved 115 inline 4. Power output and fuel efficiency were both increased. The automatic equipped LE model saw the same improvements.

The base model Stag pickup received an update in 2003 featuring an improved powertrain as well as interior features.

The newly improved 231 V6 offered increased output and fuel efficiency. A new 5RE4 transmission was mated to the engine.

The Stag SE made use of the updated 301 TriForce. Like the previous SE this generation boasted a premium quality interior and 4WD.

The price jump between the base and SE model was considerable. Both versions proved to be fairly popular however.

The '03 Lakota XT1 proved a hard sell. The demand for the premium compact pickup truck was waning. Unfortunately this truck proved to be less comfortable than the previous generation.

The business arrangement with CMT allowed more flexibility with Petoskey’s engineers to design new models as well as changing existing ones. The Petoskey Huron is one such example.

Motoring enthusiasts will notice the similarity between this car and the CMT Talladega. That is in fact because they are the same car. The original V6 engine was replaced with a performance tuned 231. Despite the reduced engineering involved in the engine and underpinnings of the car, the Huron boasted superior performance. While slightly less economical and not as reliable as the original, it helped expand the vehicle into the US markets.

The car was also not as comfortable as the original Talladega, but those few drawbacks did result in a slightly lower sticker price.

The 2003 Legion was equipped with the second generation 231 V6.

Unfortunately, despite the improvements, the styling of the car was starting to wane with the public.

This proved to be especially true with the release of the Legion Rally.

Making use of the 300 horsepower 231 High Output engine, the Legion Rally was intended to be a performance version. However, the design offered fairly sub par performance as the engine was too powerful to be reliably quick for the FWD platform. The transmission had to be geared for a relatively slow acceleration in order to keep excess wheelspin down. While the car would later take on a cult following, it was ultimately viewed as the answer to a question no one asked.

A more positively accepted 2003 model was the Petoskey Stasera.

The Prime version was dropped in favor of a one size fits all mentality. The seven passenger minivan continued to hit the market running. The versatility coupled with the low price continued to help the Stasera dominate in the family market.

Car Company Directory

With many overhauls and updates, one question remained: Is Petoskey Motors going to come out with something new? The answer is yes.

Starting around the turn of the millennium, a retro craze started to sweep the automotive world. Among the most recognized exampled is the Volkswagen Beetle. A less successful example is the Ford Thunderbird. Despite differing success, it’s clear that retro themed designs were all the rage…

… And Eleanor Ventnor was more than ready to capitalize on that.

It was announced that 2002 would be the last year of the Petoskey Montauk. There was considerable disappointment as there was no announcement on whether a new generation would be built. This was in fact a calculated risk. Petoskey Motors had in fact been working on a prototype in secret. Different components were designed and fabricated at different locations throughout the United States. The plan was kept so secret that only four individuals in the company had full knowledge of what was going on. In mid-2002, the project was revealed:

The audience was blown away with the revelation. While the car wasn’t a perfect match for the original 1965 Montauk, several design cues were definitely there. More importantly it captured the teenage rebellion personification that is the true symbol of a muscle car. This example is the base model which uses the 231 V6. Despite considerable efforts to improve the V6 model, enthusiasm was light as the favored muscle cars have the V8 rumble. Not that Petoskey Motors was going to disappoint…

The Montauk Rally used the standard 301 TriForce. This gave the car a niche as an intermediate sport model.

However, the ultimate revelation had yet to be made…

For publicity purposes, a 1965 Montauk RTX was brought in for comparison.

The switch from a rear live axle to a double wishbone setup helped considerably with handling. The front retained MacPherson struts in order to accommodate a large engine in the front. The Montauk RTX featured a new performance version of the 301 TriForce V8. The RTX was without a doubt the fan favorite. With a fairly large price difference between the base model and the RTX, the Montauk offered some variety based on financial constraints.

To be continued…


There wasn’t much going on for 2004, none of the models being produced by Petoskey had any changes. 2005 would be the last years of production for the Keweenaw and Legion. Their replacements came in 2006…

The first model to make it’s debut was the Petoskey Saber.

Built as a replacement for the Keweenaw, the Saber had inferior fuel economy by comparison. One of the most significant changes was that the manual transmission was dropped in favor of a 5FE2 automatic transmission. Slightly cheaper than the Keweenaw, the Saber was about the same as far as sales went.

The 2006 Owosso proved to be a bigger hit. The Owosso replaced the Legion as Petoskey’s mid-size sedan.

Some security firms and police forces found a use for the Legion as a light patrol car and detective vehicle. While no such provision was made for the Legion to have a police package, Petoskey Motors decided to make one for the Owosso.

The police package sported a more powerful 231 V6 and a 6FE4 Transmission. While not as quick in a straight line, the Owosso did compare favorably in the corners when pitted against the aging Enforcer. There was a growing concern that the Enforcer was being replaced as most municipalities were accustomed to the rear wheel drive sedan even though the Owosso proved cheaper with reduced service costs. The only drawback was that the Owosso was slightly less reliable than the tried and true Enforcer. Despite concerns, it was announced that Petoskey Motors has no immediate plans to discontinue the Enforcer and in fact was working on another update for the car.

The Phase VII Meteor was a big hit at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show. When it was built for the 2006 model year, the car was a big success.

This Meteor was equipped with a modernized 377 V8. Unlike the previous engine, this one is all new using AlSi materials and a modern OHV setup.

2006 also marked the year Ventnor got into the SUV market with the release of the Royale.

While a remarkable car, the Royale did not quite generate the enthusiasm among buyers that they initially hoped for. In keeping with Ventnor tradition the car was equipped with an experimental 301 TriForce that featured direct injection. A 7AE4 transmission was in place behind it.

To be continued…


2007 was a significant year for the Petoskey lineup. The partnership with CMT continued on with the release of the CMT City based Petoskey Champlain.

While the engine remained unchanged, the rest of the powertrain got the Petoskey treatment. A 5FE1 transmission sat behind the engine and the car used larger brakes than the CMT model. Despite being 100 pounds heavier, the Champlain offered comparable fuel economy to the CMT version eco model despite using the standard engine. While mechanically the car was less sophisticated, the car was inexpensive and had decent sales. Plans were scrapped to develop a variant that uses a Petoskey sourced engine as none of the current engines were small enough to fit.

The beloved Enforcer also received an update. This was the final step in the longevity program started in 1992. The idea was to run a single vehicle for an extended period of time providing major updates to the design to keep it competitive. Externally the only real noticeable change was the rear pillar was slightly extended and the indicator lights no longer used amber lenses.

While overall performance hardly changed, the car was generally improved slightly in every aspect. Naturally the Police Interceptor variant was also updated.

The Estate model was dropped.
This would be the final version of the Enforcer as newer technologies and materials are making the day of the steel body on frame car come to an end.

Petoskey’s iconic muscle car, the Montauk also saw an update.
Nothing was planned for the base model as the engine remained unchanged, but it was decided the rest of the car could use an update to remain competitive.

In addition to upgrading the Enforcer, the 301 TriForce was also upgraded with it. Naturally the Rally version which uses the base TriForce engine would be upgraded as well.

Finally the top of the line RTX was also improved with more power and advanced technology.

Most of these were much needed updates to the Petoskey lineup. Unfortunately a general opinion is that Petoskey has remained somewhat out of touch when it comes to technological development. One advantage is that Petoskey vehicles tend to be cheaper than their competitors. However, it cannot be denied that the times are changing, and Petoskey Motors must be prepared to change with them. What will the future have to offer?

To be continued…


I really like the city car, it looks so friendly.
Would probably buy in real life.


Well, if you are going for value for money, ask your local Petoskey dealer.
Petoskey motors did not change the design of my car (why should they, it’s not ugly at all), so if you are willing to spend a premium markup you get the same car more refined by CMT - CMT dealers are ready for a test drive appointment. :slight_smile:

Too bad my competition does not leave me the time to update my thread… CMT is still stuck in 1985…


(Due to some inspiring downloads from the Steam Workshop Petoskey models may no longer be listed in order)

When the Ventnor Chieftain rolled off the assembly line in 1988 it generated considerable enthusiasm among buyers as a top end executive sedan. Unfortunately they could not be produced in significant quantities to generate desired revenue. With the extreme age of the Regent and the poor sales of the Fortescue, Ventnor turned to it’s newest model: The 1989 Emissary.

Built to the high standards of Ventnor engineering, the Emissary proved a far better sell than the Chieftain as larger quantities could be produced. With a price tag thirty six thousand dollars cheaper, it was considerably more available to the public. With state of the art digital instruments and a luxurious interior, the Emissary proved a close second to the Chieftain in comfort. The styling however while exciting in 1989 did not age too well over time, however despite the complicated electronics, few owners experienced technical issues over the years. Reasonably priced examples can be found today still in good shape.

A much rarer vehicle was the 1989 Ventnor Avanti.

A two door variant of the Emissary, the Avanti was designed as a luxury sports car. Despite this the car used an automatic transmission and general performance was found lacking. Despite this it sold well as it was still a nice car that just happened to be cheaper than the Emissary while still remaining similar.

When the Romero was launched in 1967, it was no surprise that a two door version would be built given that it was the height of the muscle car era.

While considered stylish, the Romero RTX was largely known for making a lot of noise and tire smoke. Despite this when the Petoskey muscle car lineup was updated in 1969, the Romero got the same treatment.

This version of the RTX was a vast improvement with the addition of a front lip and rear spoiler. The relatively small amount of downforce made a huge difference in the cars performance. While the '67 Romero RTX was rushed, the '69 Romero RTX was carefully planned out and the results were a major improvement.


2008 marked a paradigm shift for the Petoskey truck market. Both the Stag and Lakota were getting on in years and were desperately in need of an update.
For the 2008 model year the Stag grew to a larger size and the Big Chief variant was dropped.

The truck used the same 402 DOHC V8 from the Big Chief only now with direct injection. In addition to the standard model, a crew cab version was released.

The massive truck proved exceptionally useful for work purposes as it came standard with four wheel drive.

The Lakota followed the same design scheme only it featured the 135 inline 4 as it’s standard engine.

The budget pickup was available in two or four wheel drive.

The Plus variant came with a new 213 cubic inch DOHC direct injected V6

The Plus variant featured a more advanced transmission as well as a more comfortable interior.

The change in the lineup means that the Stag Pickup now assumes the role of the Big Chief of previous years, A new truck was introduced to fill the gap between, the Seneca.

The base model Seneca makes use of the advanced 213 V6 engine mated to a simple, but durable 4 speed automatic.

The Crew Cab Seneca uses the 301 TriForce V8.

The Seneca Utility fills the void where Petoskey Motors lacked much in the way of SUVs.

The Seneca Utility proved intriguing enough that a Police Interceptor variant was also built. While the standard Utility uses the 213 V6, the Interceptor uses a 301 TriForce.

The truck overhaul of 2008 marked a major change in the strategy of Petoskey Motors. With the development of significantly more advanced engines, the trend will soon trickle down the whole Petoskey lineup.

To be continued…


Nothing was on the table for 2009, but for 2010, a new Owosso full size sedan was released.

The Owosso was a solid, practical sedan boasting exceptional fuel economy without sacrificing practicality or comfort.

When the 213 was developed, many felt the engine had potential for a performance model. A special twin-turbocharged version was built. Boasting considerable output with only a marginal decrease in fuel efficiency, the 213 EcoForce was born. This engine offered exceptional fuel efficiency, awesome power, and to top it all off, regular gasoline was all she needed. A special all-wheel-drive Owosso sport used this new engine mated to a six speed sequential transmission. The first of it’s kind, designated the 6AS4.

While certainly capable, there is a substantial price difference between the base Owosso and the Sport version.

It was no surprise that with this new engine, a Police Interceptor would also be built.

The AWD platform of the Owosso Sport was used for the Interceptor. Primary differences being the use of steel wheels instead of alloys, and a 6AE4 transmission rather than the sequential model in the Sport. This results in a more basic, yet more rugged sedan ideal for pursuit.

In a head to head comparison, the Enforcer proved considerably inferior in performance to the Owosso. There have been rumors circulating about plans to retire the Enforcer, with these latest performance figures, those rumors have gained considerable ground. However, the Enforcer is slightly more forgiving as many officers need to adjust to the new turbocharged design, and the Enforcer retains higher storage space. The biggest factor is the price difference, an Owosso Interceptor costs roughly $30,000 while an Enforcer runs around $20,000. There is significant demand for the Enforcer in rural and suburban communities, especially those who lack financial capital. Thus as of yet there has been no justifiable reason to discontinue the Enforcer at this moment. But it’s days are numbered.

To be continued…


Fuel efficiency has constantly been a goal for Petoskey Motors over the years. The recent development of the 213 EcoForce V6 provided a template for high economy engines. A smaller 85 cubic inch four cylinder was developed using similar technology. The 85 EcoForce had little in the way of power, but made up for it in fuel efficiency. The 2011 Seminole was the recipient of this new powertrain.

While more basic compared to other cars in the lineup, the Seminole SDI boasts incredible fuel economy and a reasonable price making it an ideal car for the economic downturn.

The Seminole S used the naturally aspirated 213 V6.

Unlike the SDI, the S model had six seats. The biggest difference is the substantial increase in horsepower, however the car still retains a respectable 28.6 MPG.

The Ventnor Regent name returned for the 2011 model year.

The regent uses the same direct injected 301 TriForce used in the Royale. However the smaller car proved far more popular as a top end executive sedan. The “Dual Skylight” sunroofs are a unique feature to the car enabling people in the front or back seat to enjoy the open air.

Apart from that the Regent was mainly just more refined and improved over previous generations.