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AJ's Car of the Day '66 Pontiac GTO
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Car: Pontiac GTO

Year: 1966

What makes it special: The GTO became a separate Pontiac model in 1966, instead of being an "option package" on the Tempest LeMans. The entire GM "A" body intermediate line was restyled that year, gaining more curvaceous styling with kicked-up rear fender lines for a "Coke-bottle" look, and a slightly "tunneled" backlight. The tail light featured a rare louvered cover, only seen on the GTO. The GTO was available as a pillared coupe, a hardtop, and a convertible.

What made it famous: An automotive industry first, plastic front grilles replaced the pot metal and aluminum versions seen on earlier years. New Strato bucket seats were introduced with higher and thinner seat backs and contoured cushions for added comfort and adjustable headrests were introduced as a new option. The instrument panel was redesigned and more integrated than in previous years with the ignition switch moved from the far left of the dash to the right of the steering wheel. Four pod instruments continued, and the GTO's dash was highlighted by walnut veneer trim. The 389 V8 received revised cylinder heads with re-cored intake passages and high rise intake manifolds, improving breathing. Rated power increased to 335 hp at 5,000 rpm for the base 4-barrel engine; the Tri-Power engine was now rated 360 hp. The Tri Power option was discontinued mid-model year. A new engine was offered called the XS option, consisting of a factory Ram Air set up with a new 744 high lift cam. Approximately 35 factory installed Ram Air packages are believed to have been built, though 300 dealership installed Ram Air packages are estimated to have been ordered. On paper, the package was said to produce the same 360 hp the non-Ram Air, Tri Power car. The 3-speed manual was standard, while two 4-speed manual transmissions in either a wide or close ratio or 2-speed automatic were optional.

Why I would want one: The GTO's of the 1960's are always popular, and sought after by anyone into cars.

Fun fact: Although Pontiac had strenuously promoted the GTO in advertising as the "GTO tiger," it had become known in the youth market as the "Goat."

  • On Air Chaz & AJ 5:30-10am

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