The Pontiac GTO
The Pontiac GTO is one of the greatest muscle cars in history. Produced originally from the mid sixties to the mid seventies it played a huge part in the growth in popularity of the muscle car. The car sold well for the first few years despite the fact that most people consider that it has some serious flaws as a car. In the end it was the high price of gas that did in the GTO during the seventies just like it did to most other muscle cars. Despite its flaws many people consider the Pontiac GTO to be a classic and there is considerable interest in them from collectors.
The Pontiac GTO was originally introduced in 1964 primarily because General Motors had put a ban on auto racing amongst its subsidiary companies. At the time Pontiac relied heavily on racing as a way to market its vehicles. No longer able to do this they had to find another way to maintain their image as the maker of performance cars so they decided to concentrate on street performance. The result was the GTO which initially was simply an options package on the LeMans. Really the only difference was that they put a bigger engine in the car. The GTO proved to be a huge success despite there being some serious criticisms. Because the steering and braking hadn't been upgraded most people found them to be completely inadequate for a muscle car. Pontiac upgraded the brakes and steering on future models and as a resulted created on e of history's great muscle cars.
There was a major redesign in 1968 and despite the fact that there was now a lot of competition in the muscle car marketplace sales continued to increase. The new design was named Car and Driver car of the year. However once the seventies rolled around sales plummeted, mainly because of the massive increase in the cost of gas. This wasn't an issue specific to the GTO the sales of all muscle cars suffered badly and as a result 1974 was the last production year.
During the late nineties there was a revival in interest in the muscle car as the result of a major redesign of the Ford Mustang as well as the introduction of cars like the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300. In 2004 Pontiac decided to jump back into the muscle car market and produced a new Pontiac GTO. Actually it wasn't new it was based on the Holden Commodore that was being sold in Australia. Sales were decent but the new GTO never really caught on, mainly because of the styling. The car looked more like a family sedan than a muscle car and that made it hard to sell in what was by then a very competitive market for muscle cars. As a result the GTO only remained in production for three years and went out of production in 2006.