Last week’s photo showed a 1968 Pontiac GTO, and though most readers recognized it as a Pontiac, quite a number missed the year a bit or thought it might be a Firebird, which indeed it did resemble in the photo.
Chosen randomly from the correct entries was Ed Somers, of Aiken, who wrote:
“I bought myself a 1969 as a college graduation present. The hood scoop is from a ’68 or ’69 Goat. This is a ’68. It has the vent window and no headrests. Headrests were added and the vent windows were eliminated in the 1969 model.”
Somers wins a prize from The Augusta Chronicle. Other readers identifying the vehicle were:
AIKEN: Mike Hillman said: “We have ’65 GTO that was in the Waiting for Butterflies movie they made here. It hasn’t come out yet.” He said he has had the red GTO for two years and also has a 1968 Firebird 421 and a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 that he received at graduation.
AUGUSTA: Craig Kerin and Gerald Byrd
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “The hood-mounted tach gives this one away, and the side vent windows in the door further identify it as a 1968 model, the last year they appeared on (I think) all GM cars.
“I can remember the commercials with the lab-coat-wearing guy beating on that new front Endura bumper with a crowbar. As I unfortunately found out with my 1971 GTO, it could not, however, stand up to brushing against Mr. Kitchens’ chain-link fence! It shaved the right corner of that bumper off as efficiently as a cheese grater!
“No body shop would touch it because there was (and still is) no effective way to repair a flexible bumper. I could not afford to replace it, so it was still like that when I traded it in 1978 as an expectant father for an Oldsmobile Delta 88 Sport Coupe … diesel! Oh, how I wish I could have afforded to preserve and store that GTO.
“As anyone can tell you who has owned one of these muscle cars, although GTO stands for Gran Turismo Omologato and is inspired from the Ferrari 250 GTO, it really stands for gas, tires and oil! My ’71 model had already been detuned down to 300 horsepower from the 360-horsepower rating of the 1968 models, but still it had a thirst that could not be quenched.
“I still have a lot of fond memories associated with that car and would love to know its fate. I saw it one time a couple of months after trading it in, and it already had side damage to the right front. I wonder if the new owner experienced its propensity to want to swap ends under hard acceleration?”
EVANS: Paul Perdue wrote: “The vehicle is a 1968 Pontiac GTO. I had 1969 Chevelle SS396 that was comparable to the GTO. Filling it up with gas was no problem since gas was 15 cents a gallon for regular and 19 cents for high test. Those were the days ...”
Jerry Paul wrote: “My guess for this week is a 1968 Pontiac GTO.”
Larry Heath wrote: “1968 Pontiac GTO. This was the first year for the new GM ‘Coke bottle’ styling. It continued the concept of big-block engines in an intermediate-size car. Changes include the hidden-headlight option, Endura front bumper and hood-mounted tach. The front vent window was retained and disappeared in 1969.
“A friend of mine at the time had a dark-green version with black vinyl top. It also had several power options including air conditioning. This was really a nice car for the time period. However, subsequent modifications in the name of performance ultimately led to some reliability issues. I made similar mistakes with my Plymouth GTX.
“Your column allows for some good memories about cars of our youth. It also reminds me of lessons learned.”
Wayne Wilke wrote: “The car is a 1968 Pontiac GTO. The hood-mounted tachometer, twin hood scoops, round side-view mirror and presence of front quarter vent windows – I am pretty sure – indicate this is a 1968 model, not a 1967 nor 1969.”
Bill Harding wrote: “The GTO was originally an option package for the 1964 Pontiac Tempest LeMans. Outstanding sales allowed Pontiac to make the GTO its own model, available only as a two-door, in sedan, pillarless hardtop coupe or convertible form. The ’68 GTO had a 400-cubic-inch V-8, rated at 350 horsepower. An Endura (urethane foam) body-color front bumper with hidden headlights was a popular option, as was a hood-mounted tachometer. 1968 was the first year for glass rear windows in GM convertibles, and the last year for ‘no-draft’ vent windows.”
HEPHZIBAH: Willie Carter said he had owned 1966 and 1969 GTOs. He drove the 1966 when he was a teenager before he went into the service. It had the 389-cubic-inch engine and automatic transmission. He said he learned a valuable lesson on trade-ins from a used-car lot in south Augusta when he later found out the $200 he was given for his 1959 Ford was added back into the deal. He changed it over to a four-speed manual transmission.
LOUISVILLE, GA.: Robert L. Holbert wrote: “This is an easy one this week. The giveaway is the hood-mounted tachometer. It is a 1968 Pontiac GTO, the beloved ‘Goat.’ I had the original 1964 model with the 389-cubic-inch (6.5 liter) engine with Tri-Power. By 1968 they had gone to a 400-cubic-inch engine with a large four-barrel carb. Considered the original muscle car, it was the brainchild of John DeLorean who took a tame Tempest platform and turned it into a beast. I had to sell mine when I went to graduate school; couldn’t afford the gas even at 40 cents a gallon. It got all of 6 miles to the gallon in town and 12 on the road!”
MCBEAN: Robert Lamb identified the car by its twin hood scoops and the tachometer on the hood.
MARTINEZ: Jim Muraski said: “This week’s car is a 1968 Pontiac GTO.”
NORTH AUGUSTA: Ted Wasserlein wrote: “I am going to say it is a 1968 Pontiac GTO but I must admit I am not 100 percent sure of the year.”
Carroll Camp wrote: “This week’s car is a 1968 Pontiac GTO. The hood-mounted tach was another of Pontiac’s leading-edge features. The new GTO’s styling was a drastic departure from the previous generation and had a shorter wheelbase. I recall seeing a shipment of these cars being delivered to the dealer in Jackson, Miss. I was 20 at the time and thought the ’67 model was really a more beautiful car. However, GM was breaking new ground with its ’68 models.”
PERRY, FLA.: Larry Anderson wrote: “This week the auto is a 1968 Pontiac GTO.”
WARRENVILLE: James Covar
In addition, these readers were on the right track with other Pontiacs:
Raymond Richards, of Aiken, said it was the “1967 Pontiac GTO – The Goat.”
John Hayes, of Augusta said: “It appears this weeks car is a 1967 Pontiac Firebird.”
Walker Mobley Jr., of Augusta, wrote: “This weeks car looks like a 1969 Pontiac GTO known as The Judge. I don’t remember if The Judge was the standard name for all ’69 GTOs or a special order. I have heard people say this was the best-looking year for the car but that’s just anything else – personal opinion. I don’t remember the engine/transmission options for this year. Please keep these puzzles coming.”
Lowell Fritsche, of Augusta, guessed 1964 GTO.
Willie Tucker, of Hephzibah said: “This week’s car is a 1967 Pontiac GTO.”
Marc Wilson, of Martinez, wrote: “This week’s car appears to be a 1967 Pontiac GTO. With the hood-mounted air scoop and tach, along with the red-line ‘Tiger Paw’ tires, it had a great look and performance. My friend John Hayes would still look good taking on all comers with the 400-cubic-in engine and Rochester four-barrel carburetor producing 360 horsepower and the Hurst Performance Dual-Gate Shifter.”
Tony Perrotto of Martinez guessed the 1969 GTO – “my first car.”
Lloyd B. Schnuck thought it was the “1967 Pontiac Firebird Ram Air 400 Sport Coupe with hood tach, with Goodyear Polyglas R/S tires. Firebird engines ranged from 230-cubic-inch six to 400-cubic-inch Pontiac Ram Air V-8; window vents for 1967.”