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Rodimus_Prime

1964 Pontiac GTO

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1964-GTO-763858.jpg

Few cars throughout the history of automobiles have been credited as being responsible for creating an era or had songs written about them. The GTO did both of these things on its way to becoming the most famous car Pontiac ever built in spite of almost never making it to the showroom.

By todays standards it would seem like a very large car however in the 60s the GTO was considered to be a midsize car. The very definition of a musclecar was a midsize car, with a big engine. In those days only the biggest cars had the larger displacement engines, and were also the fastest. In the early 1960s Pontiac dominated Nascar with its 421 engine. In 1963 GM placed a ban on factory support for racing this hurt Pontiac more than any of the other GM divisions because Pontiac largely relied on racing as part of its advertising. GM also had a rule of 1 cubic inch per 10lbs of weight. The GTO would be 3300-3400lbs with a 389 ci engine. Pontiac's way around this was to call it the Lemans with a "optional" GTO package which of course had the badging and the big engine. The cost of the car $2667+ the GTO option for $295.90. Where do I sign?

As with any muscle car, all things start with the engine which was a 389 with the 421 heads and the trademark "tri power" which was three 2bbl carbs. As the folks that were around for that era called it "three-twos". Less noteworthy but there was a single carb 389 also which made 325hp and 428tq. The tri power 389 made the same tq but a few more ponies with 348HP. All this power with such relative small weight, it was certainly one of the fastest machines on the road. A few performance publications document the 0-60 time as 4.6. For reference this is 1992 Dodge Viper V-10 territory. Really nothing Pontiac made over the next 25 years would equal that, amazing for a company that was based on building performance cars.

It wasn't all perfect though, the car lacked power steering, handling was miserable by today's standards and braking was not spectacular either. The interior was vinyl and not supportive. This car was built for one thing, and that was to blow the doors off anything at a red light that pulled up beside you.

Looks wise it wasnt a whole lot different than the Tempest it was derived from, for those of us into Pontiac there were hints of the start of many styling cues which Pontiac used as late as the G8. Theres the badging, virtually all Pontiac special models carry some sort of badge, The GTs, GTPs, etc. The later 2004-2006 Holden based GTOs actually use a very similar badge for the fenders. The Hurst shifter which would be standard equipment on many performance GM cars over the next 40 years. The taillight center gas cap was used on many later Firebirds. Perhaps the most "Pontiac" of all was the dual hood scoops, nearly every Pontiac that has ever had hood scoops its always a dual flat design towards the front of the hood.

Many incorrectly give credit to the Ford Mustang for spawning the musclecar era, while the Mustang would eventually become a musclecar at its start later in 1964 the Mustang was a compact car with an equally small engine. In the years to come its size and engines would grow. The Mustang is actually responsible for being the very first sport compact. Hard to believe the next time you see a Civic Si buzzing down the highway, remember what its evolved from.

While the GTO was popular in its day to the enthusiast and like many other cars of the era its gone to completely classic status now and one of the most sought after classic cars on the market. GTO was never given its due credit until many years later as being the car that started it all. Like many other musclecars it met its demise in the mid 1970s when performance and power disappeared from the automotive world. Little known fact when Oldsmobile decided to bring back the 442 in 1990 with the W41 195HP Quad 4 engine, Pontiac actually was building a GTO based on a Grand AM. It never came to be, but you can imagine the public outcry there would have been from the traditionalists. Of course the GTO would return in 2004 but that would be a very short stay and despite being an excellent performance car, it never had the styling or the marketing to attract of the original.

Truely a device for shrinking time and distance.....

Ronnie & The Daytonas - 'Little GTO'

Little GTO, you're really lookin' fine

Three deuces and a four-speed and a 389

Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to her why-ee-eye-ine

C'mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO

Wa-wa, (mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

(mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO")

Wa-wa, (mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

(mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO")

Wa-wa (mixed with "Ahhh, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

You oughta see her on a road course or a quarter mile

This little modified Pon-Pon has got plenty of style

She beats the gassers and the rail jobs, really drives 'em why-ee-eye-ild

C'mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO

Wa-wa, (mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

(mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO")

Wa-wa, (mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

(mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO")

Wa-wa (mixed with "Ahhh, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

MIXTURE

Gonna save all my money (turnin' it on, blowin' it out) and buy a GTO (turnin' it on,

blowin' it out)

Get a helmet and a roll bar (turnin' it on, blowin' it out) and I'll be ready to go

(turnin'

it on, blowin' it out)

Take it out to Pomona (turnin' it on, blowin' it out) and let 'em know (turnin' it on,

blowin' it out), yeah, yeah

That I'm the coolest thing around

Little buddy, gonna shut you down

When I turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO

Wa-wa, (mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

(mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO")

Wa-wa, (mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

(mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GTO")

Wa-wa (mixed with "Ahhh, little GTO") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

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