The Goat That Launched A Million Muscle Cars | Pontiac’s Legendary GTO

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John Delorean Pontiac GTO

John DeLorean led the charge behind the GTO– the car that put him on the map forever and started the American muscle car revolution (pictured here with a Pontiac Firebird). Folks at home, don’t attempt to adjust your screen– DeLorean really was that big, measuring in at a little over 6′ 4″.

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My stepdad and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, he was crazier than a… well, let’s just say he was wound pretty tight.  He was a mean, swearin’, rough-lookin’, physical s.o.b., and needless to say– the neighbors didn’t bother us much.  He’d keep empty coke bottles rolling around in the cab of his pickup, and if he didn’t care for someone’s driving– wham!– he’d blast ‘em with a bottle.  And this is back when Coke bottles were glass.  His signature look was long dark hair tied back with a faded bandana, a crazy long beard, and even crazier eyes hidden under dark aviators.  He had a 50 lb. dumbell that he’d do curls and rolls with until his tattoo-covered forearms were the size of hams.  He was a machinist with arms and hands that were already hard and toned from wrenching all night on the graveyard shift.  He was just a tough mother.  If he had a soft side in there, he never showed it to me.  That would be weak– and he didn’t do weak.

Aside from all that nonsense, there was one thing we did share a love for– fast cars.  He was a GTO man.  GTO “Judge” to be exact– he loved his “Goats” as they were called back then.  He’d tell stories about his old Goat he had as a kid, and when I was about 13 he got another– a ’69 GTO Judge with a souped-up 455 cid V-8 and a 4-speed manual tranny.   I remember riding in that car, trying to control my laughter as it hopped like a crazed rabbit– the car had so much freakin’ power it couldn’t keep up with itself.  That GTO was the best thing he had goin’ for him in my eyes.  That and his Harley.  I wish he hadn’t sold it, but there was an ultimatum on the table– either the Harley and GTO went, or mom did.  They went, mom stayed– but eventually they split-up.

I couldn’t help from thinkin’– man, that’s gotta burn some.

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The 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge-- the ultimate American muscle car.

The 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge– the ultimate American muscle car. The GTO moniker was stolen from you know who– Ferrari.

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From Autoevolution–

The one that started it all. The original muscle car. In a time when the Ferrari 250 GTO, with its Bizzarrini-designed 300 hp V12, had the majority of car enthusiasts in the world drooling, a few Pontiac people decided to take everyone by storm. After ripping off the GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato) name from Ferrari, they presented a black/white compromise: a car that was powerful– yet affordable. Unlike other performance cars of the era, the Pontiac GTO actually brought power for the masses. In 1969, probably the most famous version of GTO in its entire history was launched. The Pontiac GTO “Judge” was actually an option package which consisted of a new 400 cid V8 with a Ram Air intake that was delivering 366 hp. That was only the start. The body was covered with shocking paint colors, there was also a semi-functional rear spoiler and “Judge” decals all over the car.

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1967 Pontiac GTO convertible

1967 Pontiac GTO convertible

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Pontiac GTO

1966 Pontiac GTO advertisement

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muscle cars history the Pontiac GTO

1966 Pontiac GTO

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1968 Pontiac GTO ad

1968 Pontiac GTO advertisement

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1968 Pontiac GTO ad

1968 Pontiac GTO advertisement

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1968 Pontiac GTO

1968 Pontiac GTO

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1968 Pontiac GTO Interior

1968 Pontiac GTO interior

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1968 Pontiac GTO Left Front

1968 Pontiac GTO

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muscle cars history the Pontiac GTO

1968 Pontiac GTO advertisement

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69 Pontiac GTO Judge ad

1969 Pontiac GTO Judge advertisement

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22 thoughts on “The Goat That Launched A Million Muscle Cars | Pontiac’s Legendary GTO

  1. love the 1968 avacado one… who decided everything in the late 60′s should be this shade of green…??

    • i love that one too – it reminds me of the Lime Crates i used to drool over through the window of the local Schwinn dealership.

    • Including the washer and dryer the refrigerator and freezer . However I must admit it looks damn good on that goat.

  2. the car that started the obsession. no other a-body- including the chevelle’s- lines were ever as muscular as those 2nd gen gto’s.

  3. JP,

    What’s you email address? I have a few questions for you.

    Shoot me a line if you have a minute.

    Great write up.

    -shs

  4. Great article about the birth of the GTO. I was at a car show yesterday and met a guy who owns 8 GTO’s. That’s crazy. Keep the articles coming!

  5. I had a red 1967 GTO- red, what a beautiful machine. It left my life broken on a railroad track in Normal, IL. Part of my soul got left on that railroad track that day. At that time, Cours beer was highly sought after and you had to chase after it on the west side of Kansas City in KANSAS. I can tell you that the Cours beer payload capacity of a 1967 GTO is exactly 19 cases. Great memories in that Goat!

  6. GTO was the number one muscle car of my growing up years in NJ. My cousin had a dark blue 1967 GTO, bought brand new in the Spring of 1967. My neighbor had a red 1968 GTO and he still owned it in the 1980s but he jazzed it up and ruined it with a cheap paint job. GTOs look best when kept stock or restored back to factory stock condition. By the way, the light blue one with red line tires you have listed here as a 1966 is a 1965, my favorite GTO year.

    • My first car was a 68 GTO. It was black on black and looked like a show car the entire time I had it. I owned the car for about 5 years and I’m sure you never heard this before… I wish I never sold it.

  7. people people people….? the 1964 GTO was the birth of the muscle car era….not one picture of that goat above ? you can’t call yourself a car collector if you don’t have the “64″ goat…(if you have the money to be a car collector…)

  8. JP,
    I love that you highlighted GTOs. My first car, as a young rebel girl at age 16, was a pre-owned, by a racing enthusiast, 1971 GTO in Bright Orange with White Vinyl Top and White Leather interior. A nice 454 under the hood and a racing steering wheel. Of course, this car caused quite a stir with all the boys in my high school who all wanted to drive my bad grrrl car! I’ve been a fashion grrrl ever since!
    MJ

  9. I prefer the lines of the ’65 GTO personally. Maybe not as masculine but beautiful no less. As for toughness, I like the 69′ Dodge Charger or ’68 Mustang “Bullitt’ Fastback.

  10. I had a brand new GTO in 1968, with the Hurst Dual-gate shifter; Yellow with the black top, black interior. I was 17. Needless to say, I did some damage with that beautiful hunk of American steel. But, in the intervening years, I have come to prefer the lines of the ’67. So long and sleek. The convertible was the perfect summer car. Ha. GTOs! Gotta love ‘em!

  11. I was lucky to have a 1963 Tempest/LeMans 326 V8 when I was a teen. It was an incredible ride and the brain child of DeLorean. This was the precursor to our 64 Goat and the muscle car revolution. A mid size sleeper V8 that burned a lot of dudes that did not know what exactly it was. Great car, smooth and strong, trans axle made the rear fish tail and burn rubber which is exactly what you want to do as a teen.

  12. Love this article (not to mention the rest of the site). I still have the ’66 GTO I got when I was 15. FYI, that 5th pic is actually a ’65 GTO (the blue one with the redline tires and the spotlight on it). Keep up the good work!

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