The Pontiac GTO was first produced in 1964 and became the definitive muscle car of the 1960s.
The GTO was the brainchild of John DeLorean and his team of engineers, including Russell Gee and Bill Collins.
The first GTO was an option package for the 1964 Tempest. In 1966, the GTO became a separate model as part of a complete re-design of the GTO/Tempest cars.
The 1967 is consider by many to be “the best” because of the new body and subtle styling enhancements, including a distinctive chromed steel mesh grill. 81,000 GTOs were built in 1967, of which 9500 were convertibles. Total engine displacement was 400 CID (6.5L) for the big V8.
My 67 received a complete body-off restoration over many years by Larry Speidell of La Jolla, California at great cost and personal effort. Larry made modifications to the drive train in several significant ways to make the car better than new, while retaining the numbers matching big block engine:
- Edelbrock heads, intake and carburetor, custom made by Bud Gilbert Racing
- MSD ignition system
- Gear Vendors overdrive mated to the rebuilt 4 speed manual
- Heavy duty aluminum radiator.
In its current setup, the car meets and probably exceeds the 360 HP of the original high output engine.
Cosmetically, Larry selected the beautiful Marina Green/Turquiose factory correct color. Original equipment included front disc brakes and Rally wheels.
At the 2015 La Jolla Concours, the car came in 2nd in class (1960s Muscle Cars) to a very rare Yenko Camaro.
Sadly, GTO production came to an end in 1974 and Pontiac ceased production in the 1990s. However, GTO owners are devoted to their cars and have one of the largest owner clubs of any 1960s muscle era vehicle. Larry’s story is a good example of GTO enthusiasts’ connection with their cars: in addition to restoring my 67 convertible, he owns the GTO coupe he purchased new in 1966 (feature story in “The Legend” published by the GTO Association of America, May 2015) and a Montero Red 1966 GTO convertible. He drives both on a regular basis along with his vintage Mercedes 300SL Roadster.