The Pontiac GTO
The Pontiac GTO is considered by gear-heads and vintage American car experts to be the first true “muscle” car. At the time the GTO was introduced in 1964 most other car makers were devoting their attention to their full-size line of vehicles and ignoring the potential and popularity of the great American muscle car. Pontiac seized on this opportunity and decided to drop a big block engine into an intermediate size frame while marketing it at a reasonable price. The result was the Pontiac GTO, which was first offered as an option on the Tempest so as to get by GM’s restrictions about this size engine in a mid-size body. It was a smash hit and the hottest performance car on the market. The incredible popularity of the GTO sparked a fierce competition between GM, Ford, and Chrysler that would go on to fuel a muscle car war lasting well into the coming decades.
GTO Hits the Streets
The GTO hit the streets in 1964 as new feature in the Tempest. Taking their lead from the Ferrari GTO - the Gran Turismo Omologato – the engineers at GM put a 389 V8, quick steering, dual exhaust, and premium wide tires into a Tempest and sold the car for just $300. The GTO engine put out 325 bhp on a single 4 barrel carburetor. In the beginning, Pontiac hoped to sell about 5,000 of their new hybrid muscle car. They met their goal and more selling over 32,000 of these vehicles in the first year. The success of the 1964 Tempest GTO led Pontiac to make even more improvements to the 1965 version of this car. They changed the front and rear styling by adding stacked headlights, a scooped front hood, and several other engine upgrades. The popularity of the GTO didn’t suffer with these changes as Pontiac sold more than 72,000 GTO’s in 1965.
There are several great outlets to find a vintage GTO for sale and don’t forget to check your local car shows. These are great places to find vintage vehicles on display, some of which are for sale by their owners. During the spring and summer in towns and neighborhoods across the U.S. you can find areas of Main St. or commuter parking lots where vintage car owners gather to show off their cars and more often than not, someone will be there with a shiny old Pontiac GTO. You can also find some for sale online. Here are several that are available:
Cars On Line has a tremendous inventory of vintage Pontiac GTO’s for sale on their website.
1964 Pontiac GTO - available for $10,500 – This GTO is a garage find that you have to see to believe. It has an original phs documented tri power 4 speed 355 posi trac rear with broadcast sheet. This is a solid car and ready for restoration as it is missing the original engine.
1964 Pontiac GTO – available for $28,995 – This is the real deal 1964 LeMans GTO with a matching numbers 389 and a lot of great options. Finished in lovely nocturnal blue this is the care everyone thinks of when you imagine the very first muscle car. It is clean, has uncluttered styling and a big, honking V-8 under the hood. The bodywork is excellent with super straight panels and good gaps throughout. The hood inserts give it a racy look while the chrome and trim is excellent all the way around with a light patina that fits the personality of this car perfectly.
1965 Pontiac GTO – available for $49,900 - This Pontiac GTO is decked in traditional Montero Red paint and equipped with coveted Royal Bobcat accents and is one of the hottest GTO’s ever built. The restoration of this GTO began with a solid steel body that after being massaged into better than new condition was covered in a durable base coat and clear finish and fitted with new chrome and fresh stainless trim. Under the hood you’ll find a familiar tri-power 389 and a new dual exhaust system. At the bottom of the car is a stout Muncie 4-speed transmission, which is hooked up to a proven GM 10 bolt rear end and a heavy duty factory suspension system. Inside this GTO you’ll find a new black interior that wraps the car in American classic car beauty.
Under the moniker of the “Goat” the beloved GTO is anything but a goat. The GTO has attitude and was the first V-8 to come with this attitude and attraction because all of the other V-8 vehicles of the time were more about driving a living room on wheels rather than racing down Main St. and turning head after head after head from one end of town to the next. Granted with a tri-powered 389 V-8 engine you might’ve also turned some of the wrong heads, meaning those eating donuts and drinking coffee inside their patrol cars, but that comes with the territory, territory reserved for the muscle car and the first of its breed, the Pontiac GTO.
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