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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale January 27th – 31st, 2016 at Russo and Steele’s 16th Annual Scottsdale Arizona Auction. Please contact us for more information.
Named to the Presidency of General Motors’ moribund Pontiac Motor Division during the mid-1950’s with a mandate to “kill or fix it,” fast-rising auto executive Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen quickly engineered Pontiac’s rise in American sales rankings. Thanks to Knudsen’s momentum, “Wide-Track” swagger, industry-leading marketing from the fertile mind of Jim Wangers, and a successful factory racing program, Pontiac Motor Division prospered. Undeterred by GM’s infamous corporate racing ban of 1963, PMD continued its winning ways simply by refocusing on street performance cars that could also translate effectively to the racetrack.
Taking stock of Pontiac’s model line-up, parts bin, and GM corporate restrictions limiting engine size in its intermediate models, the 389 V-8 was selected and accompanied by many other features to create a new high-performance package. Cunningly slipped past the GM bureaucrats as an option package for Pontiac’s Tempest Le Mans, thereby not requiring corporate approval, it was named GTO, a cheeky swipe at Ferrari’s megabuck GT racer. A startling value, the GTO option endowed the Pontiac 389 V-8 with 421 HO heads, a high-lift cam, Carter AFB four-barrel carburetor, 10.75:1 compression, and chrome accents. Tri-Power induction was optional. Much more than the sum of its parts, the GTO option was a highly integrated package of engine, braking, drivetrain, suspension, and appearance features, aimed straight at the heart of the era’s hungry youth market.
Sales were overwhelming for 1964 and refinements for 1965 enhanced the breed to create what many of today’s enthusiasts consider the definitive first-generation GTO. Crisply restyled bodylines with stacked twin headlights per side, revised tail lamps, a muscular hood bulge, and a horsepower boost courtesy of a revised camshaft profile combined to make the 1965 GTO even better than before and it remains an undisputed favorite today.
Relatively rare when new and far more so today, the outstanding 1965 GTO convertible offered here is accompanied by Pontiac Historical Services (PHS) documents confirming its original features and options. Finished in striking Blue Charcoal paint, as specified when new, factory options include a 4-speed synchromesh manual transmission, push button radio, windshield washers and 2-speed wipers, deluxe wheel discs, back-up lamps, floor console, and Saf-T-Track limited-slip differential. Priced at $3,549.44 including the $75 destination charge, this GTO was sold new by Laner Pontiac of St. Louis, Missouri. More recently, the GTO was restored and thanks to outstanding preservation, it remains outstanding throughout. An impressive document binder accompanies this 1965 GTO, as well as the PHS document package, which includes copies of the original window sticker, production history computer punch card, and factory option lists. Equipped with the iconic Royal Pontiac “GR-RRR” display plates and striking throughout, this 1965 GTO convertible is, simply put, a truly great example of Pontiac’s legendary “Great One.”