General Motors created the GTO. And everyone saw that it was good.
By Matt Stone
Photography by the author
Motor Trend, December 2003
The story of how John Z. DeLorean, Pontiac ad-agency wiz Jim Wangers, and a rubber-burning band of GM engineers created the GTO has been told often and in great detail. What people tend to forget is that this musclecar genesis took place 40 years ago; moreover, the car has been out of Pontiac's lineup for the last 30 of them. But it sure was a hit.
In search of new product and looking to make the most of GM's corporate heritage, Bob Lutz, Mark Reuss, and today's rubber-burning band of company engineers saw fit to bring the GTO back in modern guise. That guise has changed somewhat, as, for the first nine years of its life, the GTO was offered in both coupe and convertible forms, while the new car will be sold only as a two-door hardtop. The reborn GTO is faster, though. In spite of what you may have read in other car magazines at the time, the 389-cubic-inch, four-speed-equipped GTO we tested for our January 1964 issue went 0 to 60 in 7.7 seconds, clearing the quarter mile in a not-really-all-that-fast 15.8 seconds at 93.0 mph. Compare these numbers to those of the new-for-2004 Goat, and you'll see that history gets faster as the years go by.
Coverage: January 1964
Unlike the GTO, we don't see anyone bringing back the "Hot Plymouth Fury" any time soon. Note that the Pontiac was actually called the "G.T.O. Tempest" during its maiden voyage in our pages, as it was technically an option group at the time. Talk about a month for obscure stuff: We covered a time/speed/distance record attempt by a team of Mercury Comets, one guy's collection of mostly nonrunning prewar cars, and a tech feature on how to install disc brakes on a Corvair.