1972 Pontiac GTO

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 mph.

1972  GTO

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.

1972 Pontiac GTO spoiler.

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.

1972 Pontiac GTO - 3/4 front view

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 Pontiac GTO - rear bumper.

1972 GTOs came with side exhaust splitters exiting behind the rear wheelwells. These were mounted horizontally rather than vertically.

1972 Pontiac GTO - hood.

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.

1972 Pontiac GTO - rear fender. 1972 Pontiac GTO - front fender.

1972 GTO Performance starts with AC Delco plugs.

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Hot Rods & Custom Stuff - builds, restores, paints, services and sells parts for classic autos, cars, trucks and street rods.