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

*

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″.

*

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.

*

 

 

 

 

 

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.

*

Continue reading

NERVES OF STAINLESS STEEL | AUTO MAVERICK JOHN DELOREAN

*

John DeLorean

John DeLorean founded the DeLorean Motor Co. in 1974, and a stainless steel-clad, two-seater sports coupe prototype was completed by 1976. Styling came from famed Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, with extensive engineering input from Lotus of England. The car had a rear-mounted Peugeot-Renault-Volvo single-overhead-cam, 2.8-litre V6, a steel backbone frame and gull-wing doors.

*

*

1981 DeLorean brochure

*

*

John DeLorean and His Famous DeLorean Car-- March, 1979.

John DeLorean and His Famous DeLorean Car-- March, 1979.

A

John DeLorean never cared to fit the mold of a typical Detroit auto executive.  He was a young, free-spirited maverick that revolutionized the auto industry as the major force behind America’s first muscle car– the Pontiac GTO.  He was thought of as a hippie by his older peers for his longish, shaggy hair, and rebellious attitude.  But what they didn’t understand was that DeLorean had his finger on the pulse of youth and trend in a way that no one else did.  He had an uncanny ability to tap into the music, events and attitudes of the time and mine it for nuggets that translated to top-line success.  As the young DeLorean’s star rose, he supposedly walked away from his $650,000 salary at GM and decided to go it on his own.  DeLorean also became overly enamored with himself, the party scene and chasing women.

He was soon rubbing shoulders with Hollywood celebrities like fellow auto enthusiasts Steve McQueen and James Garner.  Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr. later became investors in his new upstart– DeLorean Motor Company.  Quite the accomplished playboy as well, he was romantically linked to beauties– Raquel Welch, Ursula Andress, Candice Bergen, Nancy Sinatra, Kelly Harmon and Cristina Ferrare.  DeLorean seemed to have it all– but he was headed for a major crash.  Production and deep financial troubles at DeLorean Motor Company, not to mention the resulting money laundering and drug charges, brought it all to a shameful end before the visionary could realize his ultimate dream.

A

Continue reading