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the first muscle car | pontiac gto

because sometimes 370 horsepower is the only thing that will make it okay.

1965 pontiac gto

the gto is considered by many to the first true muscle car. name another that was released before this beast? there were big motors back in 1964, but all in full size sedans. dropping a 389 v8 that would make 350 horsepower depending on factory options such as the three two-barrel carburetors called the “tri-power” made this car the fish that grew feet and changed the automotive world forever.

the tri-power model boasted 348 bhp at 4900 rpm and 428 lb/ft of torque at 3200 rpm. this gto went zero to sixty in 6.6 seconds and ran the quarter mile in 14.8 seconds at 95 mph.

1968 pontiac gto grille detail

one year later, in 1965, pontiac released another feature that turned an otherwise decorative hood scoop into the first functional “ram air” setup. that machine possessed 360 bhp at 5200 rpm and owned 431 lb/ft or torque at 3600 rpm. she also got to 60 in 6.1 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds at a speed of 99 mph.

my favorite model was the second generation model, released in 1968. the styling department gets a pick six for this design. it is simply a gorgeous automobile. the “ram air iv” option featured special high-flow exhaust manifolds and cylinder heads, a high-rise aluminum intake manifold, larger rochester quadrajet four-barrel carburetors, high-lift/long-duration camshafts, plus various internal components capable of withstanding higher engine speeds and power output.

1968 pontiac gto | when-rear windows rolled all the way down

mad max would be jealous.

a year later, one could get flip-up headlamp covers. whoop-ti-do. i like the original you see in the previous photos. more artistic flair. less fancy bullshit.

like a motorcycle.

unlike the big-block chevy and chrysler hemi motors, the ram air iv utilized hydraulic lifters and with a few tweaks from a decent mechanic, easily made 500 horsepower.

it was the best vintage muscle car ever built.

sadly, due to government regulations and a simply hideous re-design of the gto, the 1974 model had a 350 v8 which made a weak 200 bhp that gave her just enough power to hit 60 in 7.7 seconds and the quarter mile mile in 15.72 seconds at 88 mph.

it was the last gto that would be made for 30 years.

1969 pontiac gto

in 2004, pontiac revived the model with a tame/lame/obvious body style that slowly morphed into the more aggressive look you see below. this gto had a six liter motor which powered the machine with 400 bhp to a 13-second quarter mile at 105 mph. with 400 lb/ft of torque she could hit 60 in only 4.7 seconds. sweet.

with the sweet comes bitter. even more disappointing than the demise of the gto in 1974 was the decision by general motors to discontinue the pontiac brand completely in 2009 (rather than the rumored oldsmobile but old people gotta drive something), ending the vision of john deloran (seen hitting the indestructible grille of a 1968 model with a tire iron in the video above), who created the first true muscle car which started an automotive revolution.

2006 pontiac gto

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