The Pontiac GTO was one of the most popular cars during the 1960′s. At that time it would have been unlikely that anyone would have thought the Pontiac marquee name would eventually fade into history. The Pontiac automobile which was created by General Motors in 1925 as part of their Oakland automobile division, would cease to exist by the end of 2010, a victim of the financial crises of 2008 and the bankruptcy of General Motors.
What “GTO” Means
The 1967 Pontiac GTO like the one featured in this article came out with a 400 cubic inch V-8 delivering 335 horsepower. There were very few first generation automobiles that experienced the acceptance the GTO attained. The GTO was certainly a “history making” car. The car still remains one of the most popular muscle cars of all time and some say the introduction of the GTO was also the start of the muscle car era. The GTO’s V-8′s were bigger and the hood scoop and dual exhausts plus a name taken from a Ferrari racer made this a very special car.
The meaning of the letters GTO reportedly stand for “Gran Turismo Omologato“. What this phrase denotes is that the car is eligible to be entered in races like the LeMans and stock car races. In essence, the term refers to the car’s approval for such events. This translation leaves little doubt that the Pontiac GTO was created with racing in mind. Surprisingly, the GTO was the idea of a GM advertising agency executive and John DeLorean, one time Pontiac chief engineer and later an automaker himself. It’s said that DeLorean came up with the GTO designation based on the Ferrari 250 GTO which didn’t sit too well at the time with GT Class followers.
General Motors and Racing
Believe it or not but General Motors had an edict which barred their automotive divisions from being involved in auto racing. The real fact of the matter was that, at the time of the edict, while officially “GM’s management” was not involved in automobile racing, this was all about direct factory support.
Most everyone knows how involved automakers were in competitive racing during the industry’s infancy when public acceptance and needed publicity was important. It’s really always been important.
The reason the edict from GM was issued goes back to a tragedy at the 24 hours of LaMans race in 1955 when an out of control car exploded and ran into the crowd killing eighty-three spectators. The Automobile Manufacturers Association, a group representing all American automakers, decided among it’s members in 1957 to pull their support from auto racing and any and all motorsports. Supposedly this was an unwritten agreement and only a mutual understanding among the members and it didn’t take long for each automaker to figure a way around it. This is why at the time of the creation of the Pontiac GTO and it’s super performance attributes, direct factory support was still a no-no for official involvement. At the same time GM was unofficially involved in auto racing.
For Pontiac in particular, the marquee based a lot of what it built and advertised even before 1963 on it’s performance attributes therefore racing and motorsports in general was something they stayed with officially or non officially.
Three Types of 1967 Pontiac GTO’s
The 1967 GTO was built in three different models. There was the 2 door coupe, the two door hardtop and the 2 door convertible.
The 1967 Pontiac GTO’s body was very much like the 1966 model although the 1966 GTO did have a new body design from the previous year. The 1966 models had a new grille design and a tunneled rear window. The biggest change in the 1967 models were mechanical. On the body there was a side trim change, new tail lights and a chrome wire mesh on the grille.
While the Pontiac GTO was considered a muscle car with a lot of muscle, the automobile was also considered one of the best looking mid-size cars of the mid 1960′s.
Production totals for the 1967 model year were as follows…
GTO Coupe 7,029
GTO Hardtop 65,176
GTO Convertible 9,517
Ram Air Engine
An option on the 1967 Pontiac GTO was the first Ram Air engine. The Ram Air I was the most advanced 400 cubic inch engine Pontiac had at the time and pushed the horsepower up to 360. The Ram Air II came out in 1968 as a 400 cubic inch powerhouse that delivered 366 horsepower.The Ram Air engine could achieve zero to sixty in 5.2 seconds.
The Pontiac GTO came upon the scene in 1963 as an option package for the LeMans model. This option came with a 325 horsepower, 389 V-8 with a stiffer suspension and a Hurst-shifted three-speed manual transmission. Another option offered was a four speed manual transmission with a 348 horsepower engine.
1967 Pontiac GTO Specifications
As mentioned above, the 1967 Pontiac GTO came standard with a 400 cubic inch V-8 delivering 335 horsepower with options available for more horsepower with the first Ram Jet Engine.
In addition to an automatic transmission, buyers could choose either a three or four speed manual.
The car’s wheelbase was 115.0 inches and it’s overall length was 206.6 inches. The 67 GTO’s hardtop and sports coupe had a width of 74.7 inches and the convertible 74.4 inches. The GTO’s height was 53.6 inches.
New car prices for the 1967 Pontiac GTO averaged about $3,000. The convertible model was priced about $200 more.
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Pontiac GTO’s Make Great Collector’s Cars
The 1967 Pontiac GTO which cost around $3,000 new, today has attractive auction car prices. The GTO’s are popular with collector’s and are about as popular today, if not more so, than they were during the 1960′s and 1970′s.
As of this writing, one immaculate 1967 Pontiac GTO hardtop with the Ram Air engine and full documentation sold for $106,000 at auction.. Some additional 1967 GTO convertibles were also listed for sale at $40,000, $60,000 and yet another for $70,000. The 1960 GTO’s command good prices today.
A few excellent books on the subject of the GTO include GTO:Pontiac’s Great One by authors Darwin Holmstrom and David Newhardt…..GTO Red Book: Pontiac GTO, 1964-1974 by author Peter C. Sessler….Illustrated G T O Buyer’s Guide by author Paul Zazarine.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)