1972 Pontiac GTO
Born in October 1963 as a $295 option package, the Pontiac
GTO put a 389-cubic-inch V8 in a Pontiac Tempest/LeMans body, and is considered
to be the first factory-built "Muscle Car." The GTO was produced
from 1964 through 1974, when high insurance rates and emmisions regulations
forced the dropping of its legendary horsepower down to a meager 200 h.p.
John Z. DeLorean, then a Pontiac chief engineer, gave the
GTO its name by appropriating the Italian racing designation Gran Turisimo
Omologato, a name associated with Ferrari. Pontiac expected to sell 5,000
1964 GTOs, but demand skyrocketed and GM built 32,540. Sales reached a high
of 96,946 GTOs in 1966.
Starting in 1966 the GTO went from being a package option
to its own model and remained that way until 1971. In 1970 the GTO underwent
a major design change that stayed with until 1973 when the front end was
changed due to government safety regs concerning bumpers. In 1972, due to
declining sales, the GTO reverted back to being an option package on the
LeMans and Lemans Sport, costing just $353.88. The most noticable change
was in the engine power ratings, which dropped dramatically. This difference
reflected the industry switch from an engine's gross output (power with
no accessories) to its SAE Net output (power with accessories attached).
This was supposed to be more representative of the actual power delivered
to the wheels -- although that didn't really ease the pain for performance
seekers. The 400 V8 was now rated at 250 bhp (net) while the 455 was available
in either 250 or 300 bhp versions. The model shown here depicts the later.
In 72 this model's performance was rated @ 1/4 mile in 14.6 seconds @ 95.2
When Mr. Copley brought us his GTO he didn't want us to do
anything special with regard to customizing. In fact, he wanted none at
all. What he did want was a complete, frame-off, top-to-bottom restoration
to its original state. A 100 point car that would pass the scrutiny of engineers
who originally built it. Everything--right down to the last detail, including
paint and decals.
Since we were going back to stock, there aren't many suppliers
to name other than Original Parts Group which is where we found most of
neccesary replacement parts. Plus some help from PPG to match the color.
The '72 GTO's front-end styling combined elements of the 1970
model with the 1971 as the grille was recessed. An egg crate pattern was
used on the 1972 grille and it was painted black. On the left grille opening
was the familiar GTO nameplate. The Endura bumper was also available on
the LeMans however the grille was painted grey and used a Pontiac nameplate.
On the side, there was a functional air extractor vent behind the front
wheelwells. The hood was the same one used in 1971.
1972 GTOs came with side exhaust splitters exiting behind
the rear wheelwells. These were mounted horizontally rather than vertically.
Wheels are also a carryover from 1972. The Honeycomb wheel
came with a different center cap that had a red Pontiac crest in the center.
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