Featured in this article is a great looking 1968 Pontiac GTO Convertible. The Pontiac GTO, many would say the first true muscle car, was an automobile built by Pontiac from 1964 to 1974. As they say, this is one impressive GOAT.

gto convertible
1968 Pontiac GTO Convertible

The Birth of the Pontiac GTO

The GTO was the brainchild of Pontiac engineer Russell Gee, an engine specialist, and Pontiac chief engineer John DeLorean, later an automaker himself. It’s said that DeLorean came up with the GTO designation based on the Ferrari 250 GTO, a very successful race car, which didn’t sit too well at the time with GT Class followers.

Many would say that the Pontiac GTO was born when General Motors engineers at the GM Proving Grounds just outside of Detroit fitted a Pontiac LeMans with a more powerful engine. It simply was the art of placing a more powerful engine in a lighter car. This formula had actually been used by hot rod enthusiasts for some time and DeLorean was keen to see how this combination performed.

The 1968 Pontiac GTO

The A-body from General Motors was redesigned for 1968. The A-body had more curves with a fastback styling. The wheelbase was 112.0 inches, three inches shorter than the 67 models, for all two-door automobiles. Also, the car’s overall length for 1968 was reduced 5.9 inches and the height was shorter one-half inch. Even with the reduction in size the overall weight was up about 75 pounds. Another change were hidden headlights instead of the stacked headlights the split grille The signature hood scoop was replaced by dual scoops on either side of a good size hood bulge extending from the protruding nose.

68 gto specsAnother feature were concealed windshield wipers which were hidden under the rear edge of the hood. This helped give the car a cleaner appearance and was another Pontiac first for the industry. Another popular option which was introduced a year earlier was a hood-mounted tachometer located in front of the windshield and lighted for visibility at night. An in-dash tachometer was also available, but the hood tachometer became something of a GTO status symbol and added to it’s muscle car reputation.

Ram Air

The Ram Air option was first seen in Pontiac sales brochures in 1968 as the highest-optioned engine for GTOs. These were basically the same as the Pontiac 400 H.O. engine from 1967.

The birth of the Ram Air actually goes back to a package offered by Pontiac in 1965 for those wanting to increase the performance of their GTO. The package could be added to four barrel and tri-power optioned automobiles. This package could be installed by either the car’s owner or a dealer. The performance package that emerged in 1968 was considered the first Ram Air even though it was around in 65.

1968 Pontiac GTO Specifications

The 1968 GTO offered the buyer several engine options, more than with the previous model year. These were all V-8’s and packed plenty of power.These included 350, 400 and 428 cubic inch displacements. The 350 V-8 delivered 265 HP (this engine was available only with an automatic trans), the 400 V-8’s ranged between 335-366 HP, .The 428 cubic inch V-8’s ranged from 375-390 HP. Most of the engines came with four barrel carburetors.

Transmission choices were also many. These included a three and four speed manual   with the four speed being a heavy duty floor shifter. Automatics included a two speed along with a Hydra-Matic Turbo.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums. Power assist was optional, as were front discs.

Front suspension consisted of upper and lower A-arms, coil springs, hydraulic shocks and an anti-roll bar. Rear suspension was four-link coil springs.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 112.0 inches, overall length 200.7 inches, width 74.8 inches. Curb weight 3,350 lbs. The new car price for the convertible GTO was in the $3,000-$3,100 range.

Total 1968 Pontiac GTO production was 88,680 vehicles. Out of that number 9,980 were convertibles.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below…

1967 Pontiac GTO

1968 Camaro SS

Reference material for this article includes…Pontiac GTO 50 Years: The Original Muscle Car by author Darwin Holmstrom…Collector’s Originality Guide Pontiac GTO 1964-1974The All-American Muscle Car: The Rise, Fall and Resurrection of Detroit’s Greatest Performance Cars by John Oldham. The Big ‘Little GTO Book by Motorbooks International

The 1968 Pontiac GTO Collectors Valuations

The late 1960’s Pontiac GTO’s are all very popular with collectors. Pontiac created an enduring classic with the GTO. The 1968 models are real head turners. Those models in excellent condition, original and restored can command high auction prices.

68 gto photosCurrent values for the 68 GTO will be determined not only by condition, mileage and originality, but also the options selected. As mentioned above, there were several engine, power options and transmissions for the 68 models.

As of this writing the average selling price for a 1968 Pontiac GTO is about $40,000. We see a 68 GTO Hardtop priced at $45,000, A 68 Convertible at $65,000, another 68 GTO Convertible at $50,000. Another Hardtop with matching engine and trans numbers at $55,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)