If you’re a classic car lover under the age of 40, you probably first learned about the GTO’s beauty and brawn in the famous Beach Boys song:
“Little GTO, you're really lookin' fine
Three deuces and a four-speed and a 389
Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to her why-ee-eye-ine
C'mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO.”
What would make this famous musical group dedicate an entire song to what was (at the time) merely one sports car among many? To answer this question, we must delve deep into the roots of muscle car history. Keep reading to learn some facts about the life and death of the Pontiac GTO, as well as how aftermarket vehicle parts from Elite Engineering can help you keep your very own “little GTO” lookin’ fine.
Despite the fact that cars that drag racing was “officially” out of vogue at the time, the early 60s were a time when many car engineers were looking for ways to beef up performance and house it in a sexy frame. Initially, the GTO wasn’t its own car at all, but an upgrade package that could be purchased for the Tempest LeMans. In case you’re wondering, GTO stood for “Gran Turismo Omologata” and was often referred to as “The Goat” or “The Great Once” for short. Suffice to say, people loved it, and the GTO became a much greater success than Pontiac ever thought possible.
It would take two long years before Pontiac took the GTO seriously. Finally, in 1966, the GTO stepped out of the LeMans’ shadow and became its own model. Fans were stunned by the coke bottle shape, special 389 ci four-barrel V8 dual exhaust, advanced shock absorbers, and front stabilizer bars. America LOVED it. GTO sales skyrocketed and competitors like the Chevrolet Chevelle and the Dodge Charger were left in the dust.
Three years later, the Pontiac GTO was still one of America’s favorite muscle cars. It’s somewhat ironic that during this, what some consider to be the last golden year for muscle cars, the GTO reached its pinnacle with a model that became known as “The Judge.” Featuring an Endura bumper, Ram Air III engine, Rally II wheels, a Hurst shifter (with unique T-shaped handle), wide tires, and a rear spoiler, the Judge was surprisingly affordable for its time.
Even though Pontiac that new models of the GTO would no longer be manufactured in 2006, America’s love for its original muscle car still lives on. If you’re the proud owner of a classic GTO (or even one that came a few decades later) Elite Engineering has the GTO parts you need to keep “The Goat” in fantastic working order. Shop our full selection of GTO aftermarket vehicle parts online now.