Pontiac GTO Ram Air III Convertible
Pontiac’s wildly successful GTO entered its second generation in 1968, along with the A-body Tempest on which it was based. The wheelbase was reduced from 115 to 112 inches, and the overall length shrank nearly six inches to 201.2. The new hardtop wore a roofline more in keeping with the late-1960s trend toward fastbacks. Four horizontally placed headlights looked out from a unique dent-resistant Endura plastic nose, although an extra-cost option would conceal them behind doors. Taillights became part of the bumper assembly. For the first time, windshield wipers were hidden beneath the rear of the hood when not in use. Car magazines loved the new style and the 400-cubic inch V-8 engines that ranged from 265 horsepower in the economical two-barrel version to 360 with Ram Air II induction. Hot Rod’s test of a GTO with the 350 brake horsepower standard V-8 resulted in quarter-mile times of 14.7 seconds at 97 miles per hour. Motor Trend took the testing process one step further by comparing the gamut of GTO models for ’68. A base-engine GTO with automatic transmission and a 3.23:1 rear axle covered the quarter-mile in 15.93 seconds at 88.3 miles per hour. A Ram Air four-speed manual car with drag-strip-ready 4.33:1 gears reduced the trip to 14.45 seconds at 98.2 miles per hour. The magazine was sufficiently impressed and declared the GTO its Car of the Year. For 1969, the Endura nose was adopted for all GTOs, and the front vent windows were eliminated. In 1970, GTOs received a revised version of the Endura nose with exposed headlights, and wrap-around taillights were embedded in the rear bumper.
366 bhp, 400 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with trailing arm coil spring suspension, and disc-front, drum-rear power hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 112.0 in.
Part of the RM Auctions event for John Staluppi in December, 2012.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Teddy Pieper