1972 Pontiac GTO

1972 Pontiac GTO


"The original Racer"

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.

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

The wheels are also carryovers from 1972. The Honeycomb wheel came with a different center cap that had a red Pontiac crest in the center Only three engines were available--the 400 c.i. V-8 rated at 250hp and the optional 455 and 455 H.O. rated at 250 and 300hp. The three speed manual was standard with the 400 while the 455 was available only with the three-speed automatic. The 455 H.O. could be had with either the four speed manual or automatic. The EPA's worst nightmare, and every muscle car nut's dream come true!

In the interior, the standard setup was the regular LeMans interior which could be upgraded to LeMans Sport status. Above the glove box door, the word Pontiac is embossed into the dash pad. Other changes included the substitution of an 120mph speedometer over the 140mph unit used in 1971. The standard steering wheel was a color-keyed two spoke unit. Optional was the Formula steering wheel. Most of the Formula wheels used on 1972 GTOs came with a solid Pontiac Crest in the center whereas late 1972 steering wheels had an outlined crest.

The car even comes with an 8-track tape player. You can't get much more than 70's stock than that. It even works! "Stayin' alive! Stayin' alive! wooo, wooo, wooo, wooo, Stayin' alive!" Sorry, we momentarily forgot that Disco is dead for a reason....