A royal blue 1967 GTO with 325 hp, 3 deuces and 4 on the floor, one of the most famous muscle car during the high-performance automobile history. Guys love the looks and the speed while the girls loved the guys who own the GTO. Just say GTO, people knew it was from Pontiac. It was also known as "The Goat", "The Legend" and "The Great One". There was a even a song called Little GTO that summed up what the GTO was all about. Prior to 1964, high speed performance cars were full-size hardtops and sedans that had the weight of a Sherman tank but had the largest displacement engines available. They were a little slow off the line, but once you got that tank rolling, they were like a runaway freight train.
Factory Hot Rods became real. In October of 1963, the GTO was born. Pontiac offered the GTO option for only $295. They quietly added to the option list of the 1964 Pontiac Tempest/LeMans. The GTO option package included a 325-horsepower 389-cubic-inch V8 with dual exhausts, a Carter AFB four-barrel carburetor, a mild hydraulic camshaft, and the kind of whip lashing neck pain street-grabbing torque that left a smile on your face. Other standard features included a manual three-speed transmission with a Hurst shifter (in those days the Hurst shifter was not only very good but also very cool), a heavy-duty clutch (very much needed), heavy-duty suspension, US Royal red-line tires, a 3.23:1 rear axle ratio, twin hood scoops, and an assortment of GTO emblems. The GTO emblem itself was just as famous as the car itself.
Body Styles were important. Pontiac provided the GTO option on three LeMans bodies, the two-door coupe, hardtop, and convertible. More hardtops were produced and shown to be the most popular than the combined total of the coupes and convertibles. Engines with the single four-barrel carburetor outsold the Tri-Power models by a margin of three to one. I still remember the sound of my three deuces sucking air when the gas pedal was on the floor. Needless to say, you could also see the gas gauge move down toward empty. Fortunately, gas was only $0.20 a gallon. Can you imagine owning one today and driving it like a teenage of the 1960's?
What Made The GTO So Coveted? Some things you never forget such as my 1967 GTO with 3 deuces. It was a good thing it had a windshield because I would have had bugs stuck to my teeth from grinning so much. The thrill of standing still, shifting into first gear, revving up that sweet engine and letting out the clutch and being plastered to the back of the seat was pure adrenaline pumping. That was my first experience of "pulling G's". Last time I felt that type of adrenaline rush was during chopper auto-rotations in Nam. That was 40 years ago and I still love my GTO. Maybe it is the legend. Maybe we have gotten the legend mixed up with reality. All I know is I can't help but smile when I remember my little GTO.
It is hard to explain to my children why it was so special. I owned a 1955 Ford though it was pretty it just didn't have the appeal of the GTO. The royal blue was my favorite. I have a friend whose color was plum. Can you remember vinyl seats? I can! They were cool looking and very hot functionally. I remember leaving my skin on the seat many times getting out that car. Getting in the summer meant either cooking your legs or trying to keep a towel in the car to sit on. Once you started up that 389, you were transported to another world. The purr of that engine, the feel of the Hurst shifter and watching the gas needle drop was worth all the pain of sitting on a hot seat. What hot seat?
How Do You Get A Piece of History Today? There are many GTO's still available that are being offered by GTO lovers who have been taken care of by their lovers. You can find them on the web.
Pontiac also has brought back the name of the GTO. They are still pretty fast. In the long run against the 1964 GTO, they can outrun them for the distance but put the two together on a quarter mile strip and the early muscle car is still king. There is just something about the Goat. Once you drive one, old or new, you just have to own one.
Jerry Johnson owns the
Love My GTO website as well as several other successful webstores. You can find new and used GTO from the past or today at LoveMyGTO.com.