2011/06/21

[Muscle Cars] Gran Turismo Omologato, american way

* As you can see, i've added a new tag to the title, this will make easier to differenciate the categories of my different articles.

Did you know that GTO was standing for Gran Turismo Omologato? These mythical three letters has been introduced in the car history by the famous Ferrari 250 GTO in 1962 (and that will surely be the subject of a later post :)). John Delorean (yeah, the guy behind the car) decided to use these letters in 1964 for a special package of the mid-class Pontiac Tempest. The Tempest GTO was supposed to only be limited to 5000 units, but it was so much a great success that the car has been produced from 1964 to 1974, and from 2004 to 2006.

The first generation



The 65 one was a sure hit.

As said before, the car has been introduced in 1964 by Pontiac. The original engine was delivering 325 bhp, which was rather "normal" in these years. Quickly, as the success of the line was growing, Pontiac decided to increase the power of the GTO, to reach 360 hp in 1967. This was truly a high performance car, and they also offered a Convertible and a Hard Top version.
Talking of diecast, i have two castings of this first gen. The first is a 1966 one, introduced by Johnny Lightning in 2005. Mine is a bit special, since it's the Forever 64 Wal-Mart Exclusive white one issued in 2010.  This is a well designed casting, and the black top add a nice styling touch. Wheels are custom though, i would have prefer a more classy look.



Second casting is the 1967 Hot Wheels one. Designed in 1997, this one is not as well-made as the JL one (of course, it's a Hot Wheels), and as usual on HW cars, wheels aren't fitting so well. But the paint is awesome, and it looks really sporty, just as the real car.

The second generation

The killer 70 one.

Redesigned completely in 1968, the GTO was now wider and more aggressive than the first one. Still a copy of the Chevrolet Chevelle, the 68 GTO introduced the classic 4-lights front. Those years were the pinnacle of the performance in muscle cars, and the GTO has been forced to increase its engine power. It reached 400 hp in the new Ram Air engine introduced in 1969. The GTO was now facing serious competition, such as the cheapers Plymouth Road Runner and Dodge Coronet Super bee. In 1969 and 1970, Pontiac offered a special edition named The Judge, which had a special livery and a 455 hp special engine. It was a monster of performance, but was discontinued in 1971. From 70 000 units sold in 1969, they only sold 10 000 in 1971, and the car started to decline.

Talking diecasts, Matchbox issued a nice 70 Pontiac GTO in 1996. You can see with the pics that the car is way wider than the two ones before. The one i have is the 2010 one, with yellow color. It's an overall nice casting, but it's missing side mirrors and the plastic spoiler isn't that great. And of course, my collection would have been incomplete without a The Judge version. The orange Motor Max casting i have is just awesome, and came with a 82 Chevrolet El Camino that will be covered later. The color fits it really well, and i must say it was expensive but worth the price.



The third generation

The more classy and less popular 73 one.

In 1972, the GTO came back to his origins by being reverted to an optional package, this time on the Pontiac LeMans. With the petrol crisis, this kind of powerful but gaz-expensive cars were no longer popular and only 5800 units were sold. In 1973, the internal competition from the brand new Pontiac Grand Am really cut off the sales of the GTO, and it was the beginning of the end for this legendary car. Pontiac offered in 1974 as an option for the much-smaller Pontiac Ventura, and sales bumped off a bit (to 7000 units), but still not enough to continue the sell of the model.

The diecast part now! Those years are rare in diecasts, but i have the chance to have a wonderful 1973 white Pontiac GTO by JL. I have the original white version from the Classic Gold serie issued in 2004. It's a way more classic car than the monstruous The Judge, but it still has a nice style touch. Rubber tires are a nice addition.



2004 : The reborn

The new one was the ultimate Pontiac's fail.

GM decided in 2004, as the Pontiac brand was declining a lot, to introduce a new sporty car to the line. They used the Australian's Holden Monaro has a base and only put a Pontiac badge on it. Pontiac had high expectations for this USA-only sold model, but the car received a cold reception from the fans. It was decried as a too much boring style, and had been overshadowed by the new Chrysler 300 and Ford Mustang. Sales had never reach GM's first expectations, and the model was discontinued in 2006. It was the last Pontiac's attempt for a sport car, before the brand disappeared in 2010.

Johnny Lightning, american's diecast car specialist, introduced the new GTO in the line as soon as the car was announced in 2004. I have the latest release of it (in 2007), and the orange fits it well. It kinds of remind of the GTO The Judge. Unfortunately, wheels are bit off, but the casting is nice overall. I really like those kinds of modern sporty cars, and that's a nice add for any collection.




Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics!

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