AJ’s Car of the Day: 1965 Pontiac GTO Convertible

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1965 Pontiac GTO Convertible

Car: Pontiac GTO Convertible

Year: 1965

What makes it special: The Tempest model line up, including the GTO, was restyled for the 1965 model year, adding to the overall length while retaining the same wheelbase and interior dimensions. It had Pontiac’s characteristic vertically stacked quad headlights. Overall weight was increased by about 100 lbs. Heavy-duty shocks were standard, as was a stronger front anti-sway bar. The dashboard design was changed, and an optional rally gauge cluster added a more legible tachometer and oil pressure gauge. An additional option was a breaker- less transistor ignition.

What made it famous: The restyled car had a new simulated hood scoop. A seldom seen dealer-installed option consisted of a metal underhood pan and gaskets to open the scoop, making it a cold air intake. The scoop was low enough that its effectiveness was questionable, but it allowed an enhanced engine sound. Another exterior change was the black “egg-crate” grille. The 389 cubic inches engines received revised cylinder heads with re-cored intake passages and high rise intake manifolds, improving airflow to the engine. Rated power increased to 335 hp for the base 4-barrel engine; the Tri-Power engine was now rated 360 hp. The ‘S’-cammed Tri-Power engine had slightly less peak torque rating than the base engine. Transmission and axle ratio choices remained the same. The 3-speed manual was standard, while two 4-speed manual transmissions in wide or close ratio and a 2-speed automatic transmission were optional.

Why I would want one: Of the ’65 through ’67 stacked headlight GTO’s, the ’65 is my favorite.

Fun fact: Sales of the GTO, abetted by a marketing and promotional campaign that included songs and various merchandise, more than doubled for 1965.
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