Pontiac GTO Vs. Ferrari GTO
The GTO didn’t just introduce the innovative concept of affordable performance. It also introduced advanced marketing techniques and interesting ways to promote a car. Despite the fact this item is not a specific model, the magazine test between the Ferrari GTO and Pontiac GTO became as legendary as the car itself. The GTO name was borrowed from the Ferrari 250 GTO meaning “Gran Turismo Omologato.”
The name sounded good so Pontiac decided to use it, giving their new model some Italian charm with an exotic flair. Interestingly, the original Pontiac GTO with 360 HP was more powerful than the Ferrari GTO at around 300 HP. Car and Driver magazine thought it would be a great idea to put the two cars to the test in their magazine feature, but their idea proved difficult. They made the Ferrari GTO in just 36 examples, so Ferrari didn’t have a press car to borrow.
The owners of the Ferrari GTO in America were reluctant to give the car to their magazine staff. So, at the end, the editors wrote a hypothetical test article between two cars. Pontiac saw an opportunity, so they supplied the Car and Driver test team with a specially prepared GTO. It had more power and a slightly tuned suspension to achieve better results at the testing.
Despite the shortcomings of the article and the lack of real comparison between the two cars, the piece proved to be highly successful. It established the Pontiac GTO as a hot new car and Car and Driver as the top car magazine in the USA. In those days before the internet and YouTube, the magazine cover was everything. The Ferrari vs. Pontiac article remained as legendary as the cars it reportedly tested against each other.