The GTO was the original Muscle Car and I got to take this beautiful ‘67 for a spin last week. This was my second time driving a 60s era muscle car, and first time in one that was an actual “muscle car” and not technically a “pony car.”
The GTO is a big comfortable cruiser with a big 400ci V8 that’s got some good pull and a ton of character. While definitely not fast by modern standards, the GTO did deliver the muscle car experience I was looking for, cruising around, looking good, with the soundtrack of a V8 rumbling or roaring. It really is an ideal boulevard cruiser, and that’s what the classic muscle cars were all about.
This GTO had the 3 speed auto, but in a big cruiser like this, I was more than fine with that. What I wasn’t fine with were the drum brakes, which really just don’t work in the modern world. Even at a safe following distance, if the soccer mom in front of you decides to slam on her brakes for a squirrel, you pretty little GTO will be toast. All drum brakes do is add a huge amount of un-needed anxiety to an otherwise quite pleasurable driving experience. I’d advise anyone looking to drive their GTO to convert to disc brakes ASAP, and save the originals for when you sell the car.
Save for the terror of the lack of brakes, I really enjoyed driving this GTO. It was a beautiful spec and it made me feel like a real bad muthafucka behind the wheel.
Bright red doesn’t work on every car, and until last month I wouldn’t have put it as a good color on a 1966 Toronado. I also wouldn’t have put yellow up as a good color on a 1977 Firebird, but combined with the Formula appearance package, it works like a charm. I’m glad I was there to shoot these two, however briefly it was. Hopefully they make a repeat appearance at Hershey next year. Continue reading The two most colorful GM products at Hershey? Of course!→
If there was an ugly duckling year for the Pontiac GTO, this would be it. No longer a trim level of the midsize Lemans series, the GTO was moved to an embarrassing option package on the compact Ventura two-door coupe and hatchback. What was once the original muscle car and Pontiac’s ace in the hole had turned into a weird looking bug-eyed car that got less credit than it should have. This retina-scorched yellow example is the first 1974 model I’ve seen that wasn’t in a book, and with its very Mid-Seventies interior, is one of very few left like it. I liked the Shaker hood too–an unusual option for even that year. Enjoy the photos of this strange historical footnote in Pontiac history. Continue reading 1974 Pontiac GTO at the 2018 AACA Hershey Fall Meet→
Here’s the thing–I spend a lot of time working in Atlantic City, which is a bad city for car spotting, because most folks who have the really nice stuff don’t park it on the street. Luckily, this was in my parking lot at the casino I’ve been working in since January–and all I can say is, my patience paid off. I’ve never seen a ’70 Bonneville of any kind–and that this is one with a 455 big block is a special treat. Enjoy the photos of this big, bad, badass Poncho. Continue reading 1970 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible spotted in Atlantic City, NJ→
Nick and I had a free day instead of Concours Sunday at Amelia, as they moved the show up a day due to the fear of a rainstorm. Luckily, the weather stayed nice, so we just took a ride down the coast for no good reason (which is as good a reason as any). On our way back, we came across this nicely-preserved 1964 Pontiac GTO, proving as always that the originals are always the best.
People always say that the Pontiac GTO was the first muscle car to hit the streets. They’d be right, and they are right. However, it would be unfair to say it came out of nowhere. Pontiac was making some serious performance strides in the years prior to the GTO hitting the market, and it started to grow some teeth very well with the 421 big block V8 in the early Sixties. This black ’62 Grand Prix ticks all the boxes for an early full-size American land yacht running a racing engine. The obligatory “triple deuces” 3x2bbl carburetor configuration is present and accounted for, along with the four speed manual transmission, positive traction rear end, and very unusual 8-lug wheels (which were designed for better brake cooling). Top it off with some black paint and red leather, and you have a recipe for a handsome and stupid-fast cruise liner. Continue reading 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix “Super Duty” at the Haskell Car Show→
Pontiac, before General Motors decided to kill the brand, made some of my favorite mid-priced cars. While some scorn and say that they were just Chevrolets with some extra body cladding, there was a time where that just wasn’t true. Back in the 1960s, John Z. Delorean wanted to put some pep in the General’s step–and he decided to use a time honored formula of taking a big engine and cramming it into a car smaller than normal. The new Tempest was a great candidate, being Pontiac’s newest intermediate in 1964, so it was chosen. Then, a 389 cubic inch V8 was bolted in, and the car was sent off to showrooms. Continue reading 1967 Pontiac GTO at the Misselwood Concours→
$15,000 is an interesting price point if you’re looking for a solid muscle car. You can have most of the early-mid 2000’s contenders with reasonable miles on them, or you can have one of the newer 400+hp options with higher miles.
I’m more on the high performance side of things, rather than wanting a muscle car for the style just to cruise in. I do intend to do burnouts, I do intend to explore the car’s high speed capabilities, and I do expect it to handle corners competently. Also, there is no such thing as a muscle car with 4 or 6 cylinders, so 8 cylinders is a given here. Lastly, a manual transmission is a must for me. This is a car to be driven, not an outfit to wear.
I should also state up front that I am pretty much non-partisan when it comes to American Muscle cars or American car brands. I know there are those who live and die by Ford, GM, or Mopar, and for them the $15k choice is a lot simpler.
My top 3 options for a $15,000 muscle car are as follows…
Putting a big engine in a smaller car is the basic recipe for “hot rodding.” Back in the 1960’s, GM corporate was just as much of a hard-headed pain in the ass as they are today. As a company policy, they didn’t allow their biggest engines to be put into their smaller cars. Thankfully, John DeLorean and his team took it upon themselves to write that wrong.