Image credits: © Pontiac. GM Corp
1964 Pontiac Tempest news, pictures, specifications, and information
The 1964 GTO option package for the new intermediate-size Pontiac Tempest LeMans started the muscle-car era in the automobile industry.
This 1964 GTO Convertible is a multi-show winner and freshly restored for the 2008 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. It is powered by the original dated, 325 horsepower, 389 cubic-inch, 79J, V8 engine and has all the correct numbers. Options include an automatic transmission, power steering, brakes, windows, seats, wood Custom Sport title wheel, correct 1964 spinner hubcaps and Firestone F70-14 redlines. The car includes full PHS documentation, factory brochure, build sheet, original invoice, shipping records, owner's manual, power top manual, Protect-O-Plate and rubbing of original plate.
Sold for $19,800 at 2011 Gooding & Company
1964 was the second year for the LeMans variation of Pontiac's Tempest. As with the Grand Prix and the GTO, the LeMans name reflected the company's efforts to foster a sporting image.
For 1964, the Tempest LeMans cars featured a six-cylinder engine or an optional V-8 and were distinguished by an assortment of specific badges and sporty faux-louvers placed just ahead of the rear wheels.
This convertible was completed on November 6th of 1963. It still retains its original color scheme. It has a Grenadier Red exterior with an ivory top over a red interior. The car features a two-speed automatic transmission, front and rear floor mats, push-button radio, sun visor vanity mirror and custom seat belts. It also has power steering, power brakes and automatically retractable soft top.
The current owner acquired the car in 2004. It is a low mileage car that is powered by a 326 cubic-inch overhead valve V-8 engine with 2-barrel Rochester carburetor and a two-speed automatic gearbox.
In 2011, the car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was estimated to sell for $25,000 - $40,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car was sold for the sum of $19,800 including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2011
The Trans-Am Series is an automobile racing series created in 1966 by the Sports Car Club of America. Originally known as the Trans-American Sedan Championship it has evolved over time from its original format as a manufacturer's championship for modified racing sedans to its current form as a driver's championship open to GT style cars.
The series was formed at the beginning of the pony car era and came from the SCCA's A & B Sedan amateur Club Racing classes, which were based upon commercially produced cars which had been modified for racing competition. Originally the series was open to FIA Group 2 Touring Cars and it featured two classes, over 2.0 Liter and Under 2.0 Liter, with both classes running together. The series was best known for competition among American V8 sedans such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Plymouth Barracuda, Mercury Cougar, AMC Javelin, Pontiac Firebird, and Dodge Challenger in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The first race was in 1966 at Sebring International Raceway. The overall win went to Jochen Rindt driving an Alfa Romeo GTA an Under 2-Liter car, with Bob Tullius driving a Dodge Dart, taking second overall and first in the Over 2-Liter class.
This car is an example of the early period in Trans Am racing.
There is no doubt that the Pontiac GTO started an entirely new market for the domestic auto industry. Although there were numerous cars that offered high performance drive-trains, the GTO was the first to put a large cubic-inch engine into a smaller, intermediate sized body.
The story of the GTO is one that is well documented, with an informal meeting taking place at the GM Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan. John DeLorean, Pontiac's Chief Engineer, along with Assistant Chief Engineers Bill Collins and Russ Gee, were looking at ways to hang a dual exhaust system on a 326 Tempest. Collins suggested dropping in a 389 cubic-inch engine, since all Pontiac V-8 engines at the time shared the same dimensions. DeLorean gave the project the green light and the rest, as they say, is history.
With initial sales for the GTO package topping 32,000 units, it was indeed a smashing success. Offered as a 2-door coupe, a 2-door sedan and a convertible with a wide variety of options, even G.M. brass was pleased with the results.
This Grenadier Red GTO convertible is one of just 6,644 produced. Ordered new by the current (and only) owner, it is a fine example of the Original Muscle Car. Wanting a new convertible, he read about the GTO package with the bigger V-8, dual exhaust, redline tires and more, and he knew he had to have one. Today the car stands as an outstanding example of an unrestored original GTO.
Sold for $53,900 at 2006 Worldwide Auctioneers
The GTO is credited with starting the Muscle Car Era. 1964 was the first year for the GTO. The offering was repeated in 1965 and in 1966 Tempest GTO became a separate series. There were 6,644 convertibles produced in 1964, with a sticker price between $3,200 and $3,400.
Included with the GTO package were dual exhausts, special GTO nameplates, simulated engine-turned dash panel inserts and dual hood scoops. A heavy-duty three-speed or close-ratio four-speed transmission were optional along with a more powerful Tri-Power engine producing 348 horsepower. The 325 horsepower GTO went from 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds. Pontiac sold 32,450 Tempests with the GTO package during the 1964 model year.
The name 'GTO' was borrowed from Ferrari who had used the name a few years prior with their legendary Ferrari GTO series. GTO meaning Gran Turismo Omologato. The Pontiac GTO continued the production tradition of the GTO name by becoming what is widely accepted as the first Muscle Car. It was the work of John Z. Deloren who put performance components in a Tempest. The GTO option first offered in October of 1963 set the buyer back an additional $295.90. This package included a 389 cubic-inch V8 engine that produced 325 horsepower. There was dual exhausts, a four-barrel Carter AFB carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, Hurst shifter, heavy-duty clutch and suspension, upgraded tires, twin hood scopes, GTO emblems, and a 3.23:1 rear axle ratio.
The white two-door Pontiac GTO shown with chassis number 824P66350 was drag raced a few times in 1964 and 1965 in NHRA stock class competition. It has been driven sparingly since then, spending most of its time in a garage. The odometer reads just over 17,000 miles. It is equipped with a 389 Tri-power engine with a four-speed transmission and Hurst wheels. It was auctioned at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on Hilton Head Island where it was expected to fetch between $75,000-$100,000. That estimate proved to be very inaccurate as the new owner got a bargain at $53,900.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2010
High bid of $55,000 at 2013 Mecum. (did not sell)
Sold for $45,100 at 2013 Barrett-Jackson
This 1964 Pontiac GTO is finished in Medium Red with a Black interior and is powered by a 389 cubic-inch V8. It has been upgraded with period correct GTO tri-power induction system and is backed from the factory with the M20 wide ratio 4-speed manual transmission.
In addition to the factory Gran Turismo Omologato package and aforementioned M20 4-speed, this car was extremely well optioned with Air Conditioning, Push Button Radio, Verba-phonic rear speaker, padded instrument panel, power steering, power brakes, all Soft Ray glass, outside rear view mirror, positive crankcase vent, HD springs and shocks, and custom retracting seatbelts.
At some point during the car's history, a previous owner had taken the original air conditioning compressor off and it is since lost, but the factory dash, controls and much of the plumbing remain with the car.
The car was delivered new from Tom Ray Pontiac in Glendale, California, and has been on the West Coast its entire known life. It was given a frame-off restoration that was completed in 1996. Since that time it has been stored, virtually unused, within a large collection in a climate-controlled facility until 2013.
Sold for $220,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company
Sold for $330,000 at 2015 Gooding & Company
This Pontiac GTO was constructed at Pontiac's assembly plant in Fremont, California on June 24, 1964. It was originally ordered by the Dallas Pontiac Zone and generously equipped with several extremely rare factory options. It has a four-speed M20 wide-ratio gearbox, a Safe-T-Track rear axle, dash-mounted tachometer, and a 3.23:1 rear end. Inside, there is air-conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power windows, instrument panel pad, full floor mats, door edge guards, center console, windshield washer with dual-speed wipers, inside tilt mirror, and six different accessory lamps. There are Medium Red bucket seats, and deluxe wheel discs with redline tires.
This is one of the few 1964 Pontiac GTO Convertibles built with a four-speed manual gearbox and air-conditioning.
The car was originally delivered to Bill McDavid Pontiac in Fort Worth and purchased by Celeste Sharp. Later, it was purchased by a second Texas-based individual, before being discovered by its third owner, who commissioned a complete restoration. Currently, it is in the care of its fourth owner.By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
Sold for $17,000 at 2012 Mecum
Sold for $26,400 at 2015 Gooding & Company
Sold for $15,400 at 2016 Bonhams
The Pontiac Tempest was introduced in 1961. It experienced unprecedented sales during 1964 with the introduction of a new version (the Tempest LeMans GTO). The Pontiac Tempest was a very diverse model offered in several different bodystyles with a variety of engine options and trim levels. For 1964, the Tempest was enlarged and given a separate frame construction. The base engine was a six-cylinder unit assembled by Pontiac Motor Division from Chevrolet-produced components. The 215 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine had a Rochester one-barrel carburetor and delivered 140 horsepower.
Trim levels included the base, the Custom, LeMans, and LeMans with the GTO option. The base level was available as a hardtop, sedan, and a station wagon and were distinguished by small hubcaps, devoid of upper belt line moldings, and triple windsplits located behind the front wheel openings. Most of these cars were fitted with six-cylinder engines; cars with V8 engines were given front fender badges.
The Tempest Custom line was similar to the base Tempest, but had bright upper beltline moldings and Tempest Custom nameplates on the rear fenders. They also came with carpeting, Deluxe steering wheel and courtesy lamps on convertible bodystyles.
The Tempest LeMans models had the LeMans nameplates on the rear fendersides, model badges on the deck lid, LeMans script plates on the dashboard, and ribbed decor plates for the deck lid latch panel. LeMans models could also be fitted with the Grand Turismo Omolgato (GTO) option package, which was designed as a way to circumvent a corporate high-performance ban.
This Tempest Station Wagon is one of just over 2,2,00 examples produced with the optional V8 engine in 1964. The original California owner retained the car for many years, accruing approximately 88,000 miles. It spent a decade in storage with the subsequent owner, before being given a cosmetic and mechanical restoration in 1998 with its only known repaint and a re-chroming of much of the bright-work.
The car has been given several upgrades including front disc brakes, a larger front sway bar, a Desert Cooler four-core radiator, a Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 transmission, and an aluminum intake manifold with a Carter four-barrel carburetor. The 326 cubic-inch overhead-valve V8 engine offers 280 horsepower and is mated through a 3-speed automatic Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission.By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
Sold for $26,000 at 2015 Mecum
Sold for $31,350 at 2015 Motostalgia
This Pontiac GTO is powered by a 389 CID with a Tri-Power setup and mated to a 4-speed transmission. It is black with a red interior.By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2016
The Pontiac GTO, in all respects a muscle car, debuted in 1964 and continued until 1974. John Zachary DeLorean, best known for the Delorean automobiles, was the individual who forced the development of the legendary GTO. The vehicle was very successful because it was able to capitalize on a segment of the market that had not been fully realized. Most of the muscle cars during this time were full-size cars. They had large engines, but due to the weight they were usually slow to accelerate. Pontiac offered a combination of 389 cubic-inch engines in their mid-size Tempest line and called it a GTO. The name GTO comes from Ferrari. It means Gran Turismo Omolgato.
The GTO package included the V8 engine, premium tires, special hydraulic lifters, dual exhaust, manual three and four-speed transmission with a Hurst shifter, heavy-duty clutch, improved suspension, a 3.23:1 rear axle ration, dual hood scoops, GTO emblems, and bucket seats. The 389 cubic-inch engine was rated at 325-348 horsepower depending on the configuration and modification of the engine. The 428 ft-lbs of torque was even more astonishing. Placing this mammoth engine in a mid-size sedan created a vehicle that was untouchable. It was available in both the coupe or convertible body styles. Pontiac sold nearly 32,500 GTO's during the first year.
For 1965, the Tempest GTO received cosmetic and mechanical updates. The engine was modified and was now producing between 335 and 360 horsepower with a torque rating at 431 ft-lbs. The headlights of the vehicle were modified; they were now in stacked configuration. The dual hood scoop was replaced with a single hood scoop. Over 75,000 examples were sold in the second year.
A dealer cold air induction kit for the Tri-Power cars helped stimulate sales and increased the horsepower of the vehicle. The induction kit made use of the hood scoop and brought about the Ram Air package.
For 1966, the GTO became its own model. There were styling changes mostly concentrating on the roof and the rear lights. The engines were unchanged, however, during the middle of the year the multi-carburetor setup was no longer offered. The GTO was still more popular than ever, selling 96,946 examples during 1966.
In 1967, a new 400 cubic-inch engine was introduced. The horsepower rating was between 255 and 360 horsepower depending on the configuration. The torque rating was between 397 and 438 ft-lbs. Minor styling changes occurred, mainly the grill and the rear of the vehicle. During the 1967 model year, nearly 82,000 GTO's were sold.
In 1968, the wheel base was expanded to 112 inches and now sat atop General Motors split wheelbase A-body. Major styling changes occurred. A rubber bumper, labeled the Endura, adorned the front of the car. Hidden headlights were optional equipment. The engine choices remained the same but the horsepower and torque was increased. The 440 was not producing between 265 and 360 horsepower while the torque ranged from 397 through 445 ft-lbs.
In 1969, the competition was becoming fierce. To compete, Pontiac offered a package on the GTO that included body paint, rear spoiler, decals, and a 366 horsepower, Ram Air III V8. A Ram IV V8 could also be purchased, increasing the horsepower rating to 370. Still a very successful year for Pontiac, there were more than 72,000 GTO's sold.
In 1970, the GTO once again received styling changes. There were now four exposed headlamps. The rear engine was
redesigned and the body received new creases. The base engine was dropped. A 455 cubic-inch engine was introduced. The 400 cubic-inch engine produced between 350 and 370 horsepower. The 455 cubic-inch V8 produced between 360 and 500 horsepower. Sales were still strong, but dropping. A little more than 40,000 GTO's were sold.
In 1971, sales continued to drop. Only about 10,000 were sold. GM announced that due to rising emission and safety regulations, compression ratings would have to be reduced and all engines would need to run on unleaded fuel. The horsepower ratings began to decrease. Due to a heavier chassis, introduced a few year prior, and lower horsepower ratings, the vehicle was losing its ability to be competitive. More bad news for the GTO; this was its last year as an independent model. The front end of the vehicle received minor styling updates.
In 1972, the Judge and convertible options were no longer offered. The horsepower ratings continued to go the same direction as the sales figures: down. A little over 5,800 vehicles were sold. The horsepower output was between 250 and 300. The 400 and 455 cubic inch engines were both offered.
In 1973, only 4806 GTO's were sold. The engine horsepower decreased as well, now 230 through 250. Its muscle car status was officially gone.
The 1974 production year was the last for the GTO. It was now an option on the Ventura model line-up. It came as a coupe or a hatchback. A 350 cubic-inch engine was the only one being offered. With a 200 horsepower rating, the car was dying a slow and very painful death. A little over 7000 vehicles were sold with the GTO option.
There were a few reasons for the GTO's decline. The muscle car era was coming to a close - or just being redefined and awaiting a revitalization. Government and safety regulations were becoming more strict. There were tough fuel regulations which severely limited the output of the engines but promoted better fuel economy. Insurance charges increased making these machines out-of-reach for many consumers. The cars became heavier, and heavier. The engine sizes decreased; The cost of ownership increased. The muscle car era was destroyed.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2006
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