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GTO

The GTO was the brainchild of Pontiac engineer Russell Gee, an engine specialist; Bill Collins, a chassis engineer; and Pontiac chief engineer John DeLorean. In early 1963, General Motors' management issued an edict banning divisions from involvement in auto racing. At the time, Pontiac's advertising and marketing approach was heavily based on performance, and racing was an important component of that strategy. With GM's ban on factory-sponsored racing, Pontiac's young, visionary management turned its attention to emphasizing street performance. The name, which was DeLorean's idea, was inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO, the successful race car. It is an Italian abbreviation for Gran Turismo Omologato, (exact translation is Grand Tourer Homologated) which means officially certified for racing in the Grand tourer class. The GTO was basically a violation of GM policy limiting the A-body intermediate line to a maximum engine displacement of 330 cu in (5.4 L). Since the GTO was an option package and not standard equipment, it could be considered to fall into a loophole in the policy. Pontiac General Manager Elliot "Pete" Estes approved the new model, although sales manager Frank Bridge, who did not believe it would find a market, insisted on limiting initial production to no more than 5,000 cars. Had the model been a failure, Estes likely would have been reprimanded. As it turned out, it was a great success.