Car Review, Figures and Specs for the Pontiac GTO 6.4 V8 - [1964]

Pontiac GTO - 1st Generation

Hot Rod Inspiration

The first generation Pontiac GTO was produced between 1964 and 1967. The GTO began life as an option package for the Pontiac Tempest. Pontiac wanted the new '64 Tempest/LeMans to have an edge on competitors. Hot Rod inspiration was required and a decision was made to marry a smaller, lighter car body to Pontiac’s 389 V8 instead of the smaller 326 V8 block. The bigger 325 horsepower engine, a 3 speed manual transmission, 4 barrel carburetor and other performance parts triggered the eve of the production muscle car.


Visual Changes

Over time the first generation Pontiac GTO received many cosmetic changes, most notable was the move to the vertically stacked quad headlights. The rear of the GTO changed from a "Coke-bottle" look, and a slightly "tunneled" backlight and a louvered cover to eight tail lights – 4 on each side. The GTO became a separate model series in its own right, rather than an optional performance package, The GTO was available as a two-door coupe, hardtop coupe, and convertible body styles with hood scoops and adorned with GTO badges. An automotive industry first were the plastic front grilles which replaced the metal and aluminum versions..

389 or 400 cubic inches.

There were 2 engines available; a 389 cu in (6.4 L) V8 rated at 325 bhp (242 kW) at 4800 rpm) and in 1967 the 400 cu in (6.6L) V8 was introduced. Various performance enhancing parts were introduced to the engines and peripherals throughout the first generation GTO’s lifetime. These included "Tri-Power" carburation rated at 348 bhp, succeeded by the Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, limited slip differential, heavy-duty cooling, to name a few. Transmission options also varied through the first generations metamorphosis which included; a 2-speed automatic, 3-speed manual, 4-speed manual, 3-speed automatic.

Hairy Chested Motoring

Criticism was largely aimed at the slow steering, particularly without power steering, and the shockingly inadequate drum brakes. The poor braking was improved somewhat with thicker metal lined drum brakes and in 1967, an option for front disc brakes. Other criticisms were aimed at the ‘wallowy’ handling in which heavy-duty shocks became standard, as was a front anti-sway bar. However, the GTO was all about replicating the early hot rodders, slamming a larger engine into a smaller body shell to go faster. This feature and the unique ‘hairy chested’ styling made the Pontiac GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato or "Grand Touring Homologated.") an iconic muscle car which is still sought after today.


Positive  V8 Muscle GTO, Hairy Chested Styling

Negatives  Braking and Handling Requires an Upgrade.

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