GTO stands for Get The Others.
Pontiac Motor Division had a mission back in 1964. The mission is accomplished even 56 years later.
The 1964 GTO. A device for shrinking time and distance. That was a bold statement in the magazine advertisement created for that car. The ad also showed an image of the front of the car perched atop the crest of a hill on an open road with a sunrise behind it. Bold indeed, but did they realize what that meant? I’m thinking so, but I’m not sure they thought that would be the case regarding that car fifty years later.
1964 GTO magazine ad
Enter the year 2020 and a 1964 GTO with non-original styling and an all business look. This thing is low. Weed trimmers would be jealous. The stance is just right with a flair for super car chutzpah. Well probably not that well balanced, but it has sex appeal. I tried to get low on the ground and see under it just out of curiosity, but the best I can do is look into the fender wells and look in from the gas tank end to see what its made of. Tubular control arms all around and adjustable coil-over suspension. The chassis was also lowered over a 12” GM rear differential with a girdle style rear cover and a rear sway bar. I see a 3” exhaust system snugly packed up in the frame and body with an X-pipe for max flow.
To put some stopping power on the thing, there are giant disk brakes on it. You can see them clearly through the custom built forged brushed aluminum be-spoked wheels. 18x7 up front and 19x9 out back give plenty of room for the big binders and get shorter side walls on the tires. This set up promotes firm lateral control and quicker steering response through a close ratio steering box. To keep things flat up front where the engine weight is, there is a giant front sway Bar.
Getting inside the thing makes you notice all the detail that has gone into this build. All the remaining stainless trim has been brushed to take the shine off and all the hardware is machined stainless. Door handles inside and out are billet aluminum to match the billet hood hinges. The dash and interior are a matte silver in contrast to the high gloss silver exterior. Looking down the side you don’t see the cast pot metal emblems of old, but if you stand back and look again, they are air brushed on with a 3D effect creating the illusion that they are still there. All other external trim is removed including fender trim drip rails and rocker panel have been shaved creating a very sleek look.
Sitting in the low and soft but high bolstered seats you are cradled like a small child safe in mamma’s arms to keep you from sliding all around even though the car itself might be. The chrome Hurst shifter protruding from a factory console which was perfectly chromed and painted for an OE appearance is right at home between the front bucket seats. An elegant hardwood and brushed stainless spoke steering wheel makes you all warm inside just to touch it. Looking at the dash and the OE rally gauges with tachometer with machine turned face plate transports you mentally to the 60’s. Analog perfection. At the top left corner of the dash the ignition key hangs out of place for most cars. No pocket key or push button here. With a quick twist clockwise, the thing starts with zeal after only a few revolutions of the starter showing that fuel injected engines are not always necessary.
Clutch down and into first gear with a quick blip of the throttle we are rolling easy. Second gear smooth. Third gear smooth. Fourth we are cruising 45 MPH with the 3.73: rear gear ratio making people stare and thumbs up all around. We find a side street to exercise the thing a bit harder and let it rip. It sounds like a small animal could get sucked into one of the three deuces at wide open throttle. When the tires stop spinning in first, it does it again in second, then banging third has the momentum to straighten out the beast. The banshee like scream right up to 6000 RPM is an unforgettable battle cry. Anyone who has ever mixed it up with a Pontiac powered hot-rod knows the sound by heart. Letting out at the end of the street and going to neutral, the brakes with hydro-booster tame down the speed with no effort at all. I’m sweating with excitement and want to go again. That is until we see the blue lights. With a couple quick turns, we evade and return to the garage. On the way back we run the AC to cool us and with power steering and power brakes it is so easy to drive.
This car is not your typical resto-mod for the ages but a perfect blend of old and new styling and function. The thing sounds and runs like the days of old, but it drives so much better. I am exhilarated by it completely and cannot remember anything else about my day. I guess the thing really does shrink time and distance, but somehow better. The future looks promising.