Pontiac GTO Convertible
In late 1963 John DeLorean and his engineering team developed the GTO as a performance option for the lightweight Pontiac Tempest, circumventing GM’s prohibition of engines over 330 cubic inches in their intermediate models. Powered by a tuned 389-cubic inch V-8 engine, the GTO combined great acceleration, aggressive handling and handsome styling. The GTO option attracted 32,540 buyers in 1964, and according to legend Pontiac received 5,000 orders before the GM brass even learned of the car’s existence!
By 1966, the GTO was elevated to series status and received a handsome restyling, featuring “Coke bottle” lines. The standard 389-cubic inch engine was tuned to belt out 335 horsepower, and the Tri-Power option bumped output to 360 horsepower. A feared competitor on the street and drag strip, the GTO was a huge success for Pontiac, with 1966 sales reaching a high of 96,946 units. For 1967, engine displacement was increased to 400 cubic inches, and while Tri-Power was dropped, horsepower ratings remained unchanged. While many competing automakers responded with their own mid-sized performance cars, the GTO was the standard against which all the others were judged.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
360 hp, 400 cu. in. V-8 engine, four-barrel carburetor, turbo Hydramatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Sean Smith