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1967 GTO Has Been in the Same Family Since 1966 Because Muscle Car Horsepower Beats Math

In the mid-60s, Pontiac had it rough, not because of its own wrongdoing but for bureaucratic reasons from high-up corporate. General Motors made somewhat of a foot-in-mouth decision to distance itself from the racing world, and that strategic turn was not the best news for selling performance cars. After all, Pontiac had nailed the muscle car aura on the walls of Detroit with the GTO option package, and it couldn’t leave the scene without making one first.
1967 Pontiac GTO 41 photos
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
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General Motors decreed that none of its divisions would put a base engine with a displacement bigger than one cubic inch per ten pounds of car bodyweight in their automobiles. Notice the keyword of this limitation – ‘base.’ That was the lifeline that John DeLorean – yes, that DeLorean that would eventually become a car culture icon with the ‘Back to the Future’ DMC-12 – and his team grabbed on for dear muscle car life.

The ingenious bunch from Pontiac simply went around corporate orders and made the GTO an optional package for the Tempest, with a big 389 cubic-inch V8 (6.4 liters) engine as the main course. The public adored it, and sales took DeLorean’s side – so GM had to admit a tactical defeat.

But the corporation wouldn’t take back its words about the racing write-off, so it still pulled the reins on Pontiac piston enthusiasm. It did, however, loosen the grip a bit, giving the hot-headed boys under DeLorean’s command the 400-cubic-inch (6.6 liters) overall engine limit. But it also took away the multiple carburation to scratch the tire-burning itch from the right foot sole of the dragstrip-longing wrench turners.

1967 Pontiac GTO
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
By 1966, the GTO gained enough sales momentum to become a standalone model, and buyers rushed in for it. 96,946 orders were sent to Pontiac, to be exact – the highest money-making performance ever in the nameplate’s brief history that ended in 1973.

The first generation debuted in 1966 and lasted one more year, with no major visible changes for the 1967 model. I mean, no visible changes for a 50-50 car (seen from 50 feet away while doing 50 mph. From a metric perspective, this eyeball yardstick sounds less poetic – 15 meters and 80 kph, so let’s stick to U.S. imperial standard this time).

The big improvement was under the hood – the GTO received a pampered new V8 with precisely 400 cubes to make go-fast power. The standard engine was an over-bored 389 fitted with a single four-barrel carburetor (remember the multiple carburation ban from yesteryear that took away the TriPower).

1967 Pontiac GTO
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
The newly-introduced Pontiac engine fired 335 hp (340 PS) and 441 lb-ft of crank twist (598 Nm) in this configuration. Two other options were available: the High-Output and the RamAir (both new for the GTO). And yes, there was an economical version, too, with a two-throat carb, lower compression ratio, and other fun-smothering attributes that we shall discuss no further.

We are looking at a 1967 Pontiac GTO that’s been in the same family since 1966, and this is not a typo nor a secretive DeLorean time-taming contraption. The story is oozing gearhead perfume and gasoline fumes from every pore, and it’s a perfect example of piston devotion that could be taught in schools.

In December 1966, a Pontiac GTO fan – the father of the man we see in the video – bought a new car. By then, it was already his third GTO – the gentleman’s house was across the street from a Pontiac dealership, and he had owned a ’64 and ’65 until then.

1967 Pontiac GTO
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
So, in the last month of 1966, Terry Weiner and his dad walked into the showroom and picked the Signet Gold GTO. Only 15 at the time, Terry waited another year to get his license – and the right to drive the sleek Pontiac. The car became his high-school daily driver and stayed with him until today.

Being a Chicago, Illinois, resident was not the best possible scenario for Terry and his 1966-bought ’67 GTO, so in 2006, a meticulous restoration was finished. To say that the renovation was an outstanding job would be the understatement of the century – the GTO looks as great as it did on that December day in 1966 when the Weiner boys went to take it out of the dealership for its first drive.

A Pontiac know-it-all, Terry has taken all precautions to see that his precious heirloom GOAT gets an impeccable rejuvenation from the ground up. The wheels and hood tach are not true to the original build sheet, but they were installed at the dealership after the car was purchased, so no harm was done.

1967 Pontiac GTO
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
This GTO looks lean and mean but sports the standard 400 V8 with the three-speed automatic. The transmission, GM’s newly-introduced Turbo Hydra-Matic with a dual ‘His/Hers’ console shift quadrant, allowed for carefree highway cruising or some fun-and-games old-fashioned acceleration.

Granted, the four-speed manual was the heart-pumping option, but old man Weiner decided the hassle-free auto would be a wiser choice. He was probably right, given that this car brings back memories to some viewers.

You know, the ‘100+ mph back road tales’ type of stories and one confession even states a 135 mph top-end performance. That’s 217 kph in a car that offered disc brakes as an option for the front wheels. The standard drums –featured ’67 GTO is also equipped with – weren’t particularly encouraging, especially in an emergency stop.

1967 Pontiac GTO
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
The 400 cubic-inch V8 mated to a manual (either a three- or four-speed) gave some owners back in the day a chance to play practical jokes to friends on Saturday nights. The story is all to known: the driver would take out a fresh portrait of Andrew Jackson (Federal Reserve legal tender), put it on the dash, and dared the passenger to grab it between gears. At the end of the roaring attempt, the hundred would return to its GTO-driving owner—every single time. War vets claim that a ’67 GTO was more life-threatening than a tour in Vietnam back in the day.

The GTOs were ridden hard and fast, so out of the 81,722 units (65,176 hardtops, like this gold example), not too many are left intact in 2023. One in mint condition like this is undoubtedly a rare treat that usually gets the trailer and car show queen titles and is seldom driven out in the open.

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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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