IMO GT's are worthy of being cool.
The essence of being cool is not down to race pedigree, cost of bike, number of sales or pushing the boundries.
Its how it makes you feel. Weather by looks (for those that don't or have never owned) or by riding (again, weather you have owned or just ridden(and hated or loved)).
As this is a retro site I feel that (possibly controversially) anything post 2000 be ignored,so that it includes the STS etc.
There has been alot of comparison between Ford/Vauxhall with GT/Kona, but what about Specialized ? Are They Rover ??
(Yes, I know this isn't about Specy, but is it about Kona ??)
I've owned numerous of all the above mentioned and can honestly say that have had as much fun on lower specked bikes (Outpost, Talera, Hahanna, Hardrock, Tequesta, Fire Mountain,etc) as higher specked ones (Cinder Cone, Avalanche, Stumpjumper, Explosif, Zaskar)
Of the two brands already mentiioned (GT & Kona) both have iconic signatures (triple triangle and Project two's) that most people (in to bikes) know about, but does this count ? IMO no, they cancel each other out. While the other developments of GT (RTS, LTS etc) have possibly pushed boundries and perspectives, that does not necessarily make them 'COOL'.
In my opinion, if you've looked at or ridden a GT, no matter what model (be it Outpost Trail or Lobo DH) and you've thought 'that looks/was COOL' then it probably is !!
And for what its worth, if this was based just on the Zaskar, IMO, then it would be 'Uncool' (admittedly I've only ridden 2, but both (a '97 and a '95 LE) left me wishing I was on a different bike !!
Current steeds :-
1991 Yeti Ultimate, 1997 Manitou Hardtail, 2016 Scott Scale 960,
199? Pace RC200F3, 1989 Jamis Dakar Sport, 1990 GT Tequesta,
1989 Kona Explosif, 199? Park Pre 825 Pro, 1993 KHS Montana Comp, 1992 Trek 1000