Widely regarded as the first true muscle car, the Pontiac GTO played a pivotal role in shaping this segment, reshaping the entire American automotive landscape. When the model hit the streets, many manufacturers began building similar cars in response to the Pontiac GTO. Compared to other sports cars, the Pontiac GTO has an unconventional beginning. Pontiac was a subsidiary of General Motors and was somewhere between Chevrolet and Oakland.
As a manufacturer, Pontiac affordable entry-level cars. However, some of their cars did not appeal to the younger target audience. Management decided to offer a sporty model, but General Motors had a limit on engine power for large cars. After finding a loophole in this law, Pontiac put a 389 cu in 6.4L engine in one of their small cars – the Tempest, and the GTO was born. Initially they offered it as an optional package, but in 1966 it was a separate model. Today we rank the best model years of the Pontiac GTO.
10 1972 Pontiac GT
The 1972 Pontiac GTO has a different design than the 1960s GTO. Unlike the 1960s GTO, the 1972 GTO has a long front and a shorter rear. In place of the 1966 model’s vertical twin headlamps, Pontiac returned to the early 1960s four headlamp lineup.
Also, the hood scoops are placed close to the grille in the 1972 model. The engine used in this model is a 400 cubic inch Ram Air IV V8 and is rated at 300 horsepower.
9 1967 Pontiac GT
Due to General Motors’ engine mandate, Pontiac had to make some mechanical changes to the GTO. The mandate limited engine size to 400 cubic inches and allowed manufacturers to use only one carburetor for non-performing cars. After some innovation, Pontiac made it work and released the 1967 GTO.
As with previous models, the 1967 model came with a plethora of optional features. These features include air conditioning, power brakes, power steering and even gear ratios. Like the 1966 model, the 1967 GTO is rated at 360 horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 438 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.
8 1968 Pontiac GT
The Pontiac GTO debuted in 1964 and by 1968 the muscle car had faced competition from manufacturers such as Ford, Plymouth and Dodge. Some manufacturers within General Motors also built cars to compete with the Pontiac GTO. With this development, there was a need for improvements to the GTO.
The 1968 Pontiac GTO model had a shortened wheelbase from 115 inches to 112 inches. Pontiac also reduced the length of the car by 5.9 inches and lowered the height by 1½ inches. The manufacturer has also made some significant styling changes. However, the GTO’s performance figures remained the same as the 1967 model. For power, the 1968 Pontiac GTO has 300 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.
7 2004 Pontiac GT
Pontiac stopped producing the GTO in 1974, but a new GTO was launched in 2004. The 2004 Pontiac GTO was built by General Motors’ Australian subsidiary Holden, under the Monaro nameplate. Despite bearing the same name as the classic Pontiac GTO, the 2004 Australian-built GTO sported a different look.
Many car enthusiasts described the appearance of the new Pontiac GTO as dull. However, the sports car was equipped with a powerful V8 engine. With 350 hp and an acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds, the performance of the 2004 GTO is a redeeming quality.
6 2006 Pontiac GT
Unlike the classic Pontiac GTO models, the 2006 model comes with many standard features. These features include twilight-dependent headlamps, headlamps with automatic switch-off delay, emergency unlocking of the trunk in the interior and the remote anti-theft alarm system. There are also electrical features such as one-touch power windows, power door locks and power mirrors.
The 2006 Pontiac GTO was motivated by a 6.0-liter V8 that produces 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The 2006 GTO accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds. The 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO was the fifth generation of the nameplate.
5 2005 Pontiac GT
Despite the poor exterior design, the 2005 Pontiac GTO has a luxurious feel in the ride quality. The sports car is offered as a 2+2 sports coupé with numerous comfort features. Inside, the GTO is covered in leather and the sculpted seats have received the approval of multiple customers.
The 2005 GTO uses a 6.0-liter LS2 V8 engine with 400 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. For transmission, there is a standard four-speed automatic system and an optional six-speed manual system.
4 1965 Pontiac GT
The Pontiac GTO from 1965 and 1966 both resemble each other due to the restyling. Unlike the quad headlamp design in older models, the 1965 GTO has vertical twin headlamps. In 1965, the GTO was still offered as an optional package in Pontiac’s Tempest and Lemans models.
However, the manufacturer sold 75,000 GTO packages in 1965 and that’s probably when they decided to offer the GTO as a standalone model. In terms of power, the 1965 Pontiac GTO is equipped with a V8 engine that delivers 335 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm.
3 1966 Pontiac GT
In addition to Performance, the Pontiac GTO is also known for its excellent design. Even today, Pontiac GTO is still considered stylish. The 1966 GTO model was given a massive redesign before it was released, so it’s no surprise that the model is often referred to as the best looking GTO. 1966 was also the year in which the car completely transitioned into its own model.
Pontiac changed some proportions and the placement of the quad headlights. At the time of release, many enthusiasts even compared the shape of the GTO to a Coke bottle. For performance, the automaker increased the GTO’s power to 360 horsepower. In general, the 1966 GTO was the most successful in terms of saleswith Pontiac selling over 90,000 copies.
2 1964 Pontiac GT
The Pontiac GTO is inspired by the great Ferrari 250 GTO and although both cars look different, they have something in common; good luck. Before the Pontiac GTO even arrived, the Mercury Marauder was already on the market and had been improved with aerodynamic properties. However, the Pontiac GTO made a lasting impression on car enthusiasts.
Since Pontiac offered the first GTO models as an optional package, the 1964 model is still referred to as the Pontiac Tempest GTO. The GTO’s powertrain produces 325 horsepower, 428 lb-ft of torque and accelerated the car from 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds.
1 1969 Pontiac GT
Of all the Pontiac GTO models, the 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible is the rarest and most valuable. Pontiac made only 108 units of the 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge and the ‘Judge’ version was discontinued in 1971. The GTO was named after a comedy TV skit called ”Here comes the Judge”, and its success led to its release. no joke.
For power, the classic car used a 400 cubic inch Ram Air III V8 that put out 350 horsepower. Today, the 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge is a highly coveted and very expensive classic car.
EXCLUSIVE: how a Pontiac GTO could look like a muscle car today
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