Pontiac GTO

General Motors built the Pontiac GTO under the Pontiac brand for two production runs. The first production run was from 1964 to 1974 while it was manufactured in the United States. The second run began in 2004 and ended in 2006, during which Holden, an Australian subsidiary of GM, manufactured the car.

The Pontiac GTO of the 1960s and 1970s was a muscle car that was related to the Pontiac LeMans and Tempest. On the other hand, the Pontiac GTO of the early 2000s was based on the Holden Monaro, a high-powered sport coupe.

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Pontiac GTO Origins

Pontiac Chief Engineer John DeLorean, Chassis engineer Bill Collins, and Engine Specialist Russell Gee designed the first Pontiac GTO in the 1960s. The car came at a time when the management at GM banned divisions from involvement in auto racing. However, Pontiac was popular at that time for its performance and racing-oriented approach toward designing and marketing its cars. The ban shifted Pontiac’s vision from factory-sponsored racing to street performance. This new approach involved redesigning the Pontiac Tempest into a "Super Tempest" with a larger engine and better performance. The name, "GTO," was inspired from the hugely successful Ferrari 250 GTO, which itself was the short form for Gran Turismo Omologato, also known as Grand Tourer Homologated.

The completed Pontiac GTO was actually in violation of GM’s policy of limiting the engine displacement of A-body intermediate line cars to 5.4 liters. However, the GTO was an optional package and therefore fell into a loophole in the GM policy. The car initially had a production limit of just 5000 units because nobody expected it to find a market.

Almost half a century passed since the Pontiac GTO was introduced to the U.S. market, but it is still considered in high regard by young and old motor enthusiasts. The car is one of the few classic muscle cars produced during the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, many consider it the first real muscle car.

Pontiac GTO Features

The 2006 Pontiac GTO is part of the reworked generation of the iconic muscle car. The car is not available as a convertible, but it does have a proper rear-drive, two-door coupe, thanks to GM Australia's Holden division. On the outside, the Pontiac GTO did not deliver so much as a punch. It stuck with the conventional lines present in countless other automobiles in the market. However, it still kept to its muscle car roots by packing a lot of power under the hood. A huge 6.0-liter V-8 engine powered this vehicle, which was an upgrade from the 5.7-liter V-8 offered during the introduction of the new Pontiac GTO in 2004. The large engine can easily deliver 400 horsepower of power, but the dull exteriors and the high price tag did not make the car a huge hit.

In terms of performance, the 2006 Pontiac GTO was every bit a muscle car. The 2004 model GTO, with a LS1 V-8 engine that delivered 350 hp and 365 lb-ft torque, could go from zero to 60 mph within 5.5 seconds and complete a quarter mile within just 14 seconds. The 2006 model Pontiac GTO was even faster because of the 6.0-liter V-8 inside. The engine, capable of delivering 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, could propel the GTO forward and complete a quarter mile half a second ahead of the 2004 model.

The 2006 Pontiac GTO was quite comfortable while cruising the highway, but its engine overpowered the soft suspension system, which made reflexes sluggish and brakes weak. The car also suffered from excessive body roll in turns, which made the overall handling poorer than expected.

Pontiac GTO Evolution

The first generation Pontiac GTO debuted as an optional package with the Pontiac Tempest. It was available as a convertible, hardtop coupe, and two-door coupe. A 6.4-liter V-8 engine that delivered 325 bhp with a four-barrel Carter AFB carburetor and dual exhaust powered this GTO. Other internal features included chromed valve covers, seven-blade clutch fan, air cleaner, three-speed manual transmission gearbox, stiffer springs, and wider redline tires.

The next generation Pontiac GTO had a redesigned A-body that included more curved lines and a semi-fastback like styling. The wheelbase was shortened for two-door models, and an Endura front bumper was included. However, powertrain options hardly changed.

Part of the fourth generation, the redesigned 1974 Pontiac GTO was in the same class with the Pontiac Grand Am. It was also designed to enter into the compact muscle car market amid tightening emissions standards and the oil embargo. The GTO option was shifted to the compact Pontiac Ventura. The sales improved from the 1973 model year Pontiac GTO, but nevertheless, a dismal 7058 units sold. This was not enough to justify continuing production, and the GTO officially came to an end. It would be revived 30 years later, but the success of the earlier models of the Pontiac GTO could not be replicated.

Select a Pontiac GTO Year

2006 Pontiac GTO

Coupe, Sports

2005 Pontiac GTO

Coupe, Sports

The 2005 Pontiac GTO made a refreshing re-entry into the coupe vehicle market after disappearing into limbo almost three decades ago.

2004 Pontiac GTO

Coupe, Sports

The 2004 Pontiac GTO is a continuation of the classic GTO family, and it certainly earns its name.