Pontiac GTO Convertible

General Motors introduced its all-new A-body intermediates in 1964 including the Chevrolet Chevelle, the Pontiac Tempest, the Oldsmobile F-85 and the Buick Skylark. GM’s corporate ban on performance cars meant a maximum engine size of 330 cu. in. V8s for the new mid-size cars. Thus, the GTO, a special version of the Pontiac Tempest Le Mans, should never have been built. In fact, new models required corporate approval, but option packages could be created without the go-ahead from the top brass. So the powerful 389 cu. in. V8 was installed in the Tempest Le Mans engine bay, creating one of the hottest performance cars of the decade. The GTO moniker was adopted from Enzo Ferrari (and his legendary GTO road/race car), and the rest, as they say, is history.

The muscle car era was born, and Pontiac would build 32,450 in its first year. 1965 would prove an even greater success for the concept as 75,352 were delivered to a public hungry for performance. It would spawn competitors within GM – the Chevelle Super Sport and Oldsmobile 442 – along with a host of others from Ford, Chrysler and American Motors.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in June of 2010 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, California.

335 hp, 389 cu. in. V8, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, 3.36 Safe-T-Track rear axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115"

Source: RM Auctions; Mecum Auctions
Photo Credits: Copyright Darin Schnabel; John Hollansworth Jr.

Be part of something big