In the early 1960s, the top brass at General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] put a stop to any of its motorsports programs.
There was to be no involvement with racing from any of its divisions.
This initially seemed like it might be a tough move for the likes of Pontiac but the brand used a tried-and-tested method for keeping a performance image alive: placing some large displacement engines into some mid-size cars. The Pontiac GTO was born this way, and it’s considered to be the grandfather of all muscle cars.
Initially, GM had a maximum allowable engine size for its mid-size cars of 5.4-liters. That’s 330 cubic inches. That changed in 1964 when a Pontiac Tempest was given a 6.4-liter engine and dubbed a Super Tempest, before John DeLorean applied the GTO moniker. It’s a nod to the homologated Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] 250 GTO race cars, although you’d never confuse the two machines.
Tim Miller of Surf City Garage owns a 1964 Pontiac GTO Convertible, and he’s brought his beautiful machine by Jay Leno’s Garage. The pair walk through the history of the car before taking it out on the road.