VIDEO: Pontiac GTO…The “Ultimate Driving Machine” Years Before BMW

Last night, we took a look at the “Summer of Love.” But in the case of GM and Ford’s F-Body fleets, as with the E-Body Challenger and ‘Cudas of the early 1970s, there was anything but “love” being shared. As a matter of fact, Pontiac used a certain ruthlessness, in 1967, to try to make the Firebird that car that could outsell the Mustang, Barracuda and the Camaro simultaneously. But horsepower warfare was not one that was confined to the pony cars, and in fact GM’s A-Body fleet, the midsized muscle that was “Chevelle” and “GTO,” joined-in on the power-fueled rampage.

Ironically, BMW is often considered, “the ultimate driving machine.” But many years before Bimmer took the crown, Pontiac claimed their GTO to be the “ultimate driving machine” for 1967. This is evident in our featured commercial from that year, in which Pontiac claims that “the great one is here.” In this very statement, the automaker almost assigns a supernatural identity to the A-Body classic. Sounds wacky, but if one considers how the Buick Grand National became the space-age cousin to the Monte Carlo SS, then its not hard to see how the GTO for 1967 could have, at least ideologically, functioned as a similar “cousin” to the Chevelle SS of that same year.


This is because in typical, Pontiac fashion, the GTO surpassed its Chevrolet counterpart in terms of a few features. As with the Firebird, these included hood-mounted tachometers, engine options like the tri-powered 389 that were exclusive to the automaker, as well as other aesthetic upgrades. Unlike the Chevelle SS of the same era, the GTO is actually said to be the A-Body that started midsized muscle for GM, because upon its introduction, the Goat was a factory hot rod that, like many later Supercars of the time, was built in defiance of Corporate Law.

Our featured TV commercial from 1967 captures the Pontiac GTO spirit, and whether or not you believe that Pontiac’s A-Body really is “the great one,” you can’t deny that it really was the grandfather, even before the Chevelle, of GM A-Body muscle!


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