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Thread: Pontiac GTO (2nd gen) 1968-1972

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    The Pontiac GTO is an automobile that was manufactured by American automobile manufacturer Pontiac from the 1964 to 1974 model years, and by GM's subsidiary Holden in Australia from the 2004 to 2006 model years.

    The first generation of the GTO was a muscle car produced in the 1960s and the 1970s. Although there were muscle cars introduced earlier than the GTO, the Pontiac GTO is considered by some to have started the trend with all four domestic automakers offering a variety of competing models.

    For the 1964 and 1965 model years, the GTO was an optional package on the intermediate-sized Pontiac LeMans. The 1964 GTO vehicle identification number (VIN) started with 82, while the 1965 GTO VIN started with 237. The GTO became a separate model from 1966 to 1971 (VIN 242...). It became an optional package again for the 1972 and 1973 intermediate LeMans. For 1974, the GTO optional package was offered on the compact-sized Ventura.

    The GTO was selected as the Motor Trend Car of the Year in 1968.

    The GTO model was revived from 2004 to 2006 model years as a captive import for Pontiac, a left-hand drive version of the Holden Monaro, itself a coupé variant of the Holden Commodore.

    Second generation (1968-1972)
    General Motors redesigned its A-body line for 1968, with more curvaceous, semi-fastback styling. The wheelbase was shortened to 112.0 in (2,845 mm) on all two-door models. Overall length was reduced 5.9 inches (150 mm) and height dropped half an inch (12 mm), but overall weight was up about 75 lb (34 kg). Pontiac abandoned the familiar vertically stacked headlights in favor of a horizontal layout, but made hidden headlights available at extra cost. The concealed headlights were a popular option. The signature hood scoop was replaced by dual scoops on either side of a prominent hood bulge extending rearward from the protruding nose.

    A unique feature was the body-color Endura front bumper. It was designed to absorb impact without permanent deformation at low speeds. Pontiac touted this feature heavily in advertising, showing hammering at the bumper to no discernible effect. A GTO could be ordered with "Endura delete", in which case the Endura bumper would be replaced by a chrome front bumper and grille from the Pontiac LeMans.

    Powertrain options remained substantially the same as in 1967, but the standard GTO engine's power rating rose to 350 hp (260 kW) at 5,000 rpm. At mid-year, a new Ram Air package, known as Ram Air II, became available. It included freer-breathing cylinder heads, round port exhaust, and the 041 cam. The 'official' power rating was not changed. Another carry-over from 1967 was the four-piston caliper disc brake option. However, most 1968 models had drum brakes all around as this seldom ordered option provided greater stopping power. The 1968 model year was also the last year the GTOs offered separate crank-operated front door vents.

    Concealed windshield wipers, which presented a cleaner appearance hidden below the rear edge of the hood, were standard on the GTO and other 1968 GM products after having been originally introduced on the 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix. A popular option, actually introduced during the 1967 model year, was a hood-mounted tachometer, located in front of the windshield and lit for visibility at night. An in-dash tachometer was also available.

    Redline bias-ply tires continued as standard equipment on the 1968 GTO, though they could be replaced by whitewall tires at no extra cost. A new option was radial tires for improved ride and handling. However, very few were delivered with the radial tires because of manufacturing problems encountered by supplier B.F. Goodrich. The radial tire option was discontinued after 1968. Pontiac did not offer radial tires as a factory option on the GTO again until the 1974 model.

    Hot Rod tested a four-speed GTO equipped with the standard engine and obtained a quarter mile reading of 14.7 seconds at 97 mph (156 km/h) in pure stock form. Motor Trend clocked a four-speed Ram Air GTO with 4.33 rear differential at 14.45 seconds at 98.2 mph (158.0 km/h) and a standard GTO with Turbo-Hydramatic and a 3.23 rear axle ratio at 15.93 seconds at 88.3 mph (142.1 km/h). Testers were split about handling, with Hot Rod calling it "the best-balanced car [Pontiac] ever built," but Car Life chided its excessive nose heaviness, understeer, and inadequate damping.

    Royal Pontiac, located in Royal Oak, Michigan, offered a 428/Royal Bobcat conversion of the 1968 GTO. For $650.00. a 390-horsepower 428 cubic inch engine was installed in place of the 400. The 428 CI engine was disassembled and blueprinted to produce more than the advertised factory 390 horsepower and easily spinning to 5700 RPM. Car and Driver road-tested the 428 CI powered car with the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission and 3.55 gears. It could do 0–60 MPH in 5.2 seconds, 0–100 in 12.9 seconds, and the 1/4 mile in 13.8 seconds at 104 mph. This compared to a Car Life road test of a 400 CI powered GTO with a Ram Air engine, four-speed transmission, and 3.90 gear which did 0–60 in 6.6 seconds, 0–100 in 14.6 seconds, and the 1/4 mile in 14.53 at 99.7 mph. Car and Driver wrote that the 428 CI powered car was "a fine, exciting car for either touring or tooting around in traffic. Not overly fussy. Not difficult to drive–-up to a point. Too much throttle at the wrong time will spin the car, or send it rocketing off the road and into the farmer's field. You can light up the car's tires like it was an AA-fueler anytime the notion seizes your fancy." On the other hand, according to Car Life, the Ram Air powered car "likes to run between 3,000 and 6,000 RPM. Below 3,000, the GTO ran flat and a bit rough. Part-throttle driving at 2,000 RPM around town was difficult and unpleasant. Freeway cruising at 4,000 RPM is anything but pleasant and promises short life for hard-working engine components. Also, driving the GTO on wet roads with this deep geared axle was thrilling. Rear tire breakaway could be provoked by a slight jab at the accelerator, sending the car into a minor skid that usually used up more than one lane of space."

    Like all 1968 passenger vehicles sold in the United States, GTOs now featured front outboard shoulder belts (cars built after January 1, 1968) and side marker lights. To comply with the new 1968 federal vehicle emissions standards, the GTO was now equipped with emissions controls.

    Now facing competition both within GM and from Ford, Dodge, and Plymouth—particularly the low-cost Plymouth Road Runner—the GTO won the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. Sales reached 87,684 units, which would ultimately prove to be the second-best sales year for the GTO.

    1969
    The 1969 model eliminated the front door vent windows, had a slight grille and taillight revision, moved the ignition key from the dashboard to the steering column (which locked the steering wheel when the key was removed, a federal requirement installed one year ahead of schedule), and the gauge face was changed from steel blue to black. In addition, the rear quarter-panel mounted side marker lamps changed from a red lens shaped like the Pontiac "arrowhead" emblem to one shaped like the broad GTO badge. Front outboard headrests were made standard equipment on all cars built for 1969.
    The previous economy engine and standard 350 hp 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 engine remained, while the 360 hp (270 kW) 400HO was upgraded to the Ram Air III, rated at 366 hp (273 kW) at 5,100 rpm. The top option was the Ram Air IV rated at 370 bhp (375 PS; 276 kW) at 5,500 rpm and 445 lb⋅ft (603 N⋅m) at 3,900 rpm of torque,[18] which featured special header-like high-flow exhaust manifolds, high-flow cylinder heads, a specific high-rise aluminum intake manifold, larger Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carburetor, high-lift/long-duration camshaft, plus various internal components capable of withstanding higher engine speeds and power output. Unlike the highest RPM Chevy big-block and Hemi engines, the Ram Air IV utilized hydraulic lifters.

    By this time, the gross power ratings of both Ram Air engines were highly suspect, bearing less relationship to developed power and more to an internal GM policy limiting all cars except the Corvette to no more than one advertised horsepower per 10 lb (4.5 kg) of curb weight. The higher-revving Ram Air IV's advertised power peak was actually listed at 5,000 rpm—100 rpm lower than the less-powerful Ram Air III.

    A new model called "The Judge" was introduced. The name came from a comedy routine, "Here Come de Judge", used repeatedly on the Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In TV show. The Judge routine, made popular by comedian Flip Wilson, was borrowed from the act of long-time burlesque entertainer Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham. Advertisements used slogans like "All rise for the Judge" and "The Judge can be bought". As originally conceived, the Judge was to be a low-cost GTO, stripped of features to make it competitive with the Plymouth Road Runner. The package was US$332 more expensive than a standard GTO, and included the Ram Air III engine, Rally II wheels without trim rings, Hurst shifter (with a unique T-shaped handle), wider tires, various decals, and a rear spoiler. Pontiac claimed that the spoiler had some functional effect at higher speeds, producing a small but measurable downforce, but it was of little value at legal speeds. The Judge was initially offered only in Carousel Red, but midway into the model year, a variety of other colors became available.

    The GTO was surpassed in sales both by the Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 and the Plymouth Road Runner, but 72,287 were sold during the 1969 model year, with 6,833 of them getting the Judge package.
    A matte black car played a role in the action movie The Punisher.

    Source: Wikipedia
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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 11-19-2019 at 02:07 PM.

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    1970
    The Tempest model line received another facelift for the 1970 model year. Hidden headlights were deleted in favor of four exposed round headlamps outboard of narrower grille openings. The nose retained the protruding vertical prow theme, although it was less prominent. While the standard Tempest and LeMans had chrome grilles, the GTO retained the Endura urethane cover around the headlamps and grille.

    The suspension was upgraded with the addition of a rear anti-roll bar, essentially the same bar as used on the Oldsmobile 442 and Buick Gran Sport. The front anti-roll bar was slightly stiffer. The result was a useful reduction in body lean in turns and a modest reduction of understeer.

    Another handling-related improvement was optional variable-ratio power steering. Rather than a fixed ratio of 17.5:1, requiring four turns lock-to-lock, the new system varied its ratio from 14.6:1 to 18.9:1, needing 3.5 turns lock-to-lock. Turning diameter was reduced from 40.9 feet (12.5 m) to 37.4 feet (11.4 m).

    The base engine was unchanged for 1970, but the low-compression economy engine was deleted and the Ram Air III and Ram Air IV remained available, although the latter was now a special-order option.

    A new option was Pontiac's 455 HO engine (different from the round-port offerings of the 1971–72 cars), available now that GM had rescinded its earlier ban on intermediates with engines larger than 400 HO. The 455, a long-stroke engine also available in the full-size Pontiac line as well as the Grand Prix, was dubiously rated by Pontiac as only moderately stronger than the base 350 HP 400 CID and less powerful than the 366 hp (273 kW) Ram Air III. The Pontiac brochure indicated the same 455 installed in the Grand Prix model was rated at 370 horsepower (280 kW). The camshafts used in the Ram Air III and the GTO 455 HO were the same. For example, the manual transmission 455 HO's used the same 288/302 duration cam as the Ram Air III. The 455 was rated at 360 hp (270 kW) at 4,300 rpm. Its advantage was torque: 500 lb⋅ft (678 N⋅m) at 2,700 rpm. A functional Ram Air scoop was available. Car and Driver tested a heavily optioned 455, with a four-speed transmission and 3.31 axle and recorded a quarter mile time of 15.0 seconds with a trap speed of 96.5 mph (155.3 km/h) . Car Life test car had the Turbo-Hydramatic 455 with a 3.55 rear differential, clocked 14.76 seconds quarter mile time at 95.94 mph (154.40 km/h), with an identical 6.6 second 0–60 mph acceleration time. Both were about 3 mph (4.8 km/h) slower than a Ram Air III 400 four-speed, although considerably less temperamental: the Ram Air engine idled roughly and was difficult to drive at low speeds. The smaller displacement engine recorded less than 9 mpg‑US (26 L/100 km; 11 mpg‑imp) of gasoline, compared to 10 mpg‑US (24 L/100 km; 12 mpg‑imp)-11 mpg‑US (21 L/100 km; 13 mpg‑imp) for the 455.

    A new and short-lived option for 1970 was the vacuum operated exhaust (VOE), which was vacuum actuated via an underdash lever marked "exhaust". The VOE was designed to reduce exhaust backpressure and to increase power and performance, but it also substantially increased exhaust noise. The VOE option was offered from November 1969 to January 1970. Pontiac management was ordered to cancel the VOE option by GM's upper management following a TV commercial for the GTO that aired during Super Bowl IV on CBS January 11, 1970. In that commercial, entitled the "Humbler", which was broadcast only that one time, a young man pulled up in a new GTO to a drive-in restaurant with dramatic music and exhaust noise in the background, pulling the "exhaust" knob to activate the VOE and then left the drive-in after failing to find a street racing opponent.[citation needed] That particular commercial was also canceled by order of GM management. Approximately 233 1970 GTOs were factory built with this option including 212 hardtop coupes and 21 convertibles, all were "YS" 400ci 350 hp with either four-speed manual or Turbo Hydra-matic transmissions. This particular GTO in the commercial was "Palladium" silver with a black bucket interior. It was unusual in several respects as it also had the under-dash "Ram Air" knob just to the right of the VOE knob, and it sported "'69 Judge" stripes, as a few very-early '70 GTOs could be ordered with. It also had a Turbo Hydra-matic transmission, remote mirror, Rally II wheels, A/C, hood tachometer, and a new-for-1970 Formula steering wheel.

    The Judge remained available as an option on the GTO. The Judge came standard with the Ram Air III, while the Ram Air IV was optional. Though the 455 CID was available as an option on the standard GTO throughout the entire model year, the 455 was not offered on the Judge until late in the year. Orbit Orange (actually a bright canary yellow) became the new feature color for the 1970 Judge, but any GTO color was available. Striping was relocated to the upper wheelwell brows.

    The new styling did little to help declining sales, which were now being hit by sagging buyer interest in all muscle cars, fueled by the punitive surcharges levied by automobile insurance companies, which sometimes resulted in insurance payments higher than car payments for some drivers. Sales were down to 40,149, of which 3,797 were the Judge. Of those 3,797 cars built in the Judge trim level, only 168 were ordered in the convertible form: RA III, RA IV and 455HO. The general consensus is that six of the 168 built were ordered with the 1970-only D-Port 455HO 360 hp (270 kW) engine, a no-cost option, which explains the conflicting production figures over the years as to how many were built; 162 versus 168. The '69/'70 "round-port" RA IV engine, a derivative of the '68½ "round-port" RA II engine, was the most exotic high-performance engine ever offered by PMD and factory-installed in a GTO or Firebird. The 1969 version had a slight advantage as the compression ratio was still at 10.75:1 as opposed to 10.5:1 in 1970. It is speculated that PMD was losing $1,000 on every RA IV GTO and Firebird built, and the RA IV engine was under-rated at 370 hp (280 kW). A total of 37 RA IV GTO convertibles were built-in 1970: 24 four-speeds and 13 automatics. Of the 13 1970 GTO RA IV/auto convertibles built only six received the Judge option. The GTO remained the third best-selling intermediate muscle car, outsold only by the Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396/454 and the Plymouth Road Runner.

    Source: Wikipedia
    Last edited by Man of Steel; 11-19-2019 at 02:15 PM.

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    1971
    The 1971 GTO had another modest facelift, this time with wire-mesh grilles, horizontal bumper bars on either side of the grille opening, more closely spaced headlamps, and a new hood with the dual scoops relocated to the leading edge, not far above the grille. Overall length grew slightly to 203.3 in (5,164 mm). Sport mirrors increased standard width two inches, from 74.5 to 76.5 inches.
    A new corporate edict, aimed at preparing GM for no-lead gasoline, forced an across-the-board reduction in compression ratios. The Ram Air engines did not return for 1971. The standard GTO engine was still the 400 CID V8, but now with 8.2:1 compression ratio. Power was rated at 300 hp (220 kW) SAE gross at 4,800 rpm and torque at 400 lb⋅ft (542 N⋅m) at 3,600 rpm. It had 255 hp (190 kW) SAE net at 4,400 rpm in the GTO and 250 hp (190 kW) SAE net at 4,400 rpm in the Firebird.

    An engine option was the 455 CID V8 with four-barrel carburetor, 8.4:1 compression ratio and 325 hp (242 kW) at 4,400 rpm, which was only available with the Turbo Hydra-matic TH-400 transmission. It had 260 hp (190 kW) SAE net at 4,000 rpm in the GTO and 255 hp (190 kW) SAE net in the Firebird. This engine was not available with Ram Air induction.

    The top-of-the-line GTO engine for 1971 was the new 455 HO with 8.4 compression, rated at 335 hp (250 kW) at 4,800 rpm and 480 lb⋅ft (651 N⋅m) at 3,600 rpm. It had 310 hp (230 kW) SAE net at 4,400 rpm in the GTO and 305 hp (227 kW) SAE net in the Firebird Trans Am or Formula 455 with Ram Air induction(Formula; shaker hood inlet on Trans Am). The 1971 Pontiac brochure declared that this engine produced more NET horsepower than any other engine in its history. That would imply the 400 CID V8 Ram Air engines had less than 310 hp net.

    For 1971, the standard rear-end was an open 10 bolt. Positraction 10 bolt rear ends were available as an option on 400 CI engine equipped GTO's, while all 455 CI GTO's were available with a 12 bolt open or optional 12 bolt Positraction rear-end.

    Motor Trend tested a 1971 GTO with the 455, four-speed transmission, and 3.90 axle, and obtained a 0–60 mph acceleration time of 6.1 seconds and a quarter mile acceleration time of 13.4 seconds at 102 mph (164 km/h).

    The Judge returned for a final year, With the standard equipment being the Mountain Performance package was the 455 HO. Only 357 were sold, including 17 convertibles, before The Judge was discontinued in February 1971. Only 10,532 GTOs were sold in 1971, 661 of which were non-Judge equipped convertibles.

    1972
    In 1972, the GTO reverted from a separate model to a US$353.88 option package for the LeMans and LeMans Sport coupes. On the base LeMans line, the GTO package could be had with either the low-priced pillared coupé or hardtop coupé. Both models came standard with cloth and vinyl or all-vinyl bench seats and rubber floor mats on the pillared coupe and carpeting on the hardtop, creating a lower-priced GTO. The LeMans Sport, offered only as a hardtop coupe, came with Strato bucket seats upholstered in vinyl, along with carpeting on the floor and lower door panels, vinyl door-pull straps, custom pedal trim and cushioned steering wheel, much like GTOs of previous years. Other optional equipment was similar to 1971 and earlier models. Planned for 1972 as a GTO option was the ducktail rear spoiler from the Pontiac Firebird, but after a few cars were built with that option, the mold used to produce the spoiler broke, and it was canceled. Rally II and honeycomb wheels were optional on all GTOs, with the honeycomb wheels now featuring red Pontiac arrowhead emblems on the center caps, while the Rally II wheels continued with the same caps as before, with the letters "PMD" (for Pontiac Motor Division).

    Power, now rated in SAE net hp terms, was down further, to 250 hp (190 kW) at 4,400 rpm and 325 lb⋅ft (441 N⋅m) at 3,200 rpm torque for the base 400 engine. The optional 455 HO had the same rated power (although at a peak of 3,600 rpm), but substantially more torque. Most of the drop was attributable to the new rating system (which now reflected an engine in as-installed condition with mufflers, accessories, and standard intake). The engines were relatively little changed from 1971.

    Optional was the 455 HO engine, essentially similar to that used in the Trans Am. It was rated at 300 hp (220 kW) at 4,000 rpm and 415 lb⋅ft (563 N⋅m) at 3,200 rpm, also in the new SAE net figures. Despite its modest 8.4:1 compression, it was as strong as many earlier engines with higher gross power ratings; yet like all other 1972-model engines, it could perform on low-octane regular leaded, low-lead or unleaded types of gasoline. Only 646 cars with this engine were sold.

    Sales plummeted by 45%, to 5,811. (Some sources discount the single convertible and the three anomalous wagons, listing the total as 5,807.) Although Pontiac did not offer a production GTO convertible in 1972, a buyer could order a LeMans Sport convertible with either of the three GTO engines and other sporty/performance options to create a GTO in all but name. Even the GTO's Endura bumper was offered as an option on LeMans/Sport models, with "PONTIAC" spelled out on the driver's side grille rather than "GTO."

    Source: Wikipedia
    Last edited by Man of Steel; 11-19-2019 at 02:18 PM.

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