1964 Pontiac Tempest GTO
In the early ’60s, Pontiac had much success on drag strips across America. Little by little, the performance aspect became a powerful marketing tool. A new generation of buyers wanted fast cars. Pontiac wanted to capitalize on its success, but the company was reluctant to invest in a sports car built from scratch. All their production models were big, heavy vehicles. However, a young engineer named John Z. DeLorean thought of a genius idea. Install a big and powerful 396 V8 into a light, intermediate Tempest two-door body and quickly create an actual performance machine. The result was the Tempest GTO, as it was called, an option on the Tempest intermediate model (via General Motors).
For just $295, buyers got a high-performance 396 V8 with 325 HP in standard or 348 HP in the famous Tri Power form. Manual transmission, unique trim, GTO decals, and dual exhaust were all part of the package. Since the car was light, the Tempest GTO had a convincing performance. In 1964, it was one of the quickest American cars on the market. Even Corvette owners weren’t safe from the Tempest GTOs lurking at stoplights across the country. Pontiac’s sales manager wasn’t particularly fond of the model. He thought that the GTO package didn’t have a perspective. The GTO was a hit amongst younger buyers and a star was born. The GTO had standard mechanics but an innovative package that made it dependable as fast.