To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Pontiac GTO, let’s take a look at the car that started it all – the 1964 GTO.
Known as the first true muscle car, the 1964 Pontiac GTO (Grand Turismo Omologato) almost didn’t see production. In 1963, General Motors instituted a corporate ban on all factory-backed racing programs which also meant keeping the power-to-weight ratios among regular production models in check. All new models had to be approved by upper management and large displacement engines were not getting approved for smaller cars, therefore, a compact car like the Tempest with a big cubic inch V8 would’ve never been approved for production. John DeLorean (yes, that John DeLorean), who worked for Pontiac at the time, found a way around this by making the GTO a $295.00 option of the Pontiac Tempest/LeMans since new options on already existing models didn’t require approval above the division level.
The 1964 GTO was available in hardtop, coupe, and convertible models. The engines of choice were a 325 hp four-barrel carbureted 389 V8 or a 348 hp three two-barrel carbureted (Tri-Power) V8.