Pontiac GTO

Pontiac GTO
1966 & 1969 Pontiac GTO (34841847634).jpg
Pontiac GTO (1967 and 1969)
Overview
Manufacturer
Production
  • 1964–1974
  • 2004–2006
Body and chassis
ClassMuscle car (S)
Chronology
Predecessor

The Pontiac GTO is an automobile that was manufactured by American automobile manufacturer Pontiac from 1964 to 1974 model years, and by GM's subsidiary Holden in Australia from 2004 to 2006 model years.

The first generation of the GTO was a muscle car produced in the 1960s and the 1970s. Although there were muscle cars introduced earlier than the GTO,[1][2] the Pontiac GTO is considered by some to have started the trend with all four domestic automakers offering a variety of competing muscle models.[3][4]

For the 1964 and 1965 model years, the GTO was an optional package on the intermediate-sized Pontiac Lemans. The 1964 GTO VIN number started with (VIN 82...). The 1965 GTO VIN number started with (VIN 237...). The GTO became a separate model from 1966 to 1971 (VIN 242...). It became an optional package again for the 1972 and 1973 intermediate Le Mans. For 1974, the GTO optional package was offered on the compact-sized Ventura.

The GTO was selected as the Motor Trend Car of the Year in 1968.

The GTO model was revived from 2004 to 2006 model years as a captive import for Pontiac, a left-hand drive version of the Holden Monaro, itself a coupé variant of the Holden Commodore.

Origins

In early 1963, General Motors' management banned divisions from involvement in auto racing. This followed the 1957 voluntary ban on automobile racing that was instituted by the Automobile Manufacturers Association.[5] By the early 1960s, Pontiac's advertising and marketing approach was heavily based on performance. With GM's ban on factory-sponsored racing, Pontiac's managers began to emphasize street performance.

In his autobiography Glory Days, Pontiac chief marketing manager Jim Wangers, who worked for the division's contract advertising and public relations agency, states that John DeLorean, Bill Collins, and Russ Gee were responsible for the GTO's creation. It involved transforming the upcoming second-generation Pontiac Tempest (which reverted to a conventional front-engine with front transmission configuration) into a sporty car, with a larger 389 cu in (6.4 L) Pontiac V8 engine from the full-sized Pontiac Catalina and Bonneville in place of the standard 326 cu in (5.3 L) V8. By promoting the big-engine option as a special high-performance model, they could appeal to the speed-minded youth market (which had also been recognized by Ford Motor Company's Lee Iacocca, who was at that time preparing the sporty Ford Mustang variant of the second generation Ford Falcon compact).

The GTO disregarded GM's policy limiting the A-body intermediate line to a maximum engine displacement of 330 cu in (5.4 L). Pontiac general manager Elliot "Pete" Estes approved the new model, although sales manager Frank Bridge, who did not believe it would find a market, insisted on limiting initial production to 5,000 cars.

Name

The name, which was DeLorean's idea, was inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO, the successful race car. It is an Italian abbreviation for Gran Turismo Omologato ("grand tourer homologated"), which means officially certified for racing in the grand tourer class. But in reality, the Pontiac GTO was never really a certified Grand Tourer race car. Internally, it was initially called the "Grand Tempest Option", one of many automobiles in the Pontiac line up with a 'Grand' in it. Despite these things, the GTO is one of the fastest cars ever manufactured by Pontiac.

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