Classic Pontiac GTO The First Muscle Car
The 1964 Pontiac GTO “Goat'” was the first Muscle Car. This classic car was the brainchild of Pontiac Chief Engineer John DeLorean. Had it not been for DeLorean’s idea to remove the Lemans 326-cubic-inch engine and replace it with the 389-cubic-inch V8, the GTO would have never been born.
The GTO, also known as “The Legend,” once and for all changed an age old problem of the need for more speed. All the street racers had known for years that if they could get a car with a big engine, and a small body, they could increase their speed. Well, finally, in 1964 Pontiac released the GTO as their answer to this problem.
The 1964 Pontiac GTO sported two air intake castings on the hood as part of it’s special styling package. I can still remember modifying these blank intake castings when we would soup up these GTO’s. I sure wouldn’t do that today, but at the time we were more into speed and cool than we were in to original.
The 64 GTO interior had the look and feel of a race car. The 389 was packed with 325 horse power and sported stylish bucket seats, an aluminum instrument panel, a custom steering wheel and a shifter in the console. Depending on which package you ordered, the GTO either had a three speed manual transmission, or a four speed.
In 1964, if you challenged the GTO, the rear of the GTO is what the challenger usually ended up seeing. As we would fly by the challenger, you could hear the old cry, ” Boy, we sucked you up our carburetor, and spit you out our tailpipe.”
The rear taillights stretched clear across the rear of the GTO. The backup lights were sunk into the rear bumper, really cool addition.
I can still remember the days when we were all cruising in our GTO and blasting Little GTO by Ronnie and the Daytonas on the radio. Good old cars and good old music, there was nothing quite like it.
The Good Old Days
You all remember the famous movie by George Lucas, American Graffiti? I grew up in Modesto at a time when cruising cars down McHenry Avenue in the 60’s and 70’s was the most popular weekend activity in town. The laws have all changed now, and the only cruising going on in Modesto is on “Graffiti Night,” to honor the Lucas movie.
I can remember the fun we all had back in the 60′ and 70’s smoking our tires down main street, and then later watching all the good old boys being forced to take their need for speed on to the tracks, or the dry lake beds all around the California Desert.
Those were the good old days, now it looks like all the fun has been replaced by a failing economy around the World. Personally, I think it’s time to pull the old GTO out of the garage, dust her off, fuel her up, and smoke some tires down main street America.
Speaking of the good old days, do not miss the Goodguys Car Shows.