Production of the X-body Ventura II lasted from 1971 to 1977. The 'II' suffix was dropped after 1972, and the Phoenix name was added to the line in 1978. A three-speed with column-shift was standard. A four-speed manual and two-speed automatic was optional equipment on six-cylinder cars. Vehicles fitted with a V8 engine could be purchased with a three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic.
For 1974, the Ventura saw only minor changes. The prior-year's Firebird-style grille was now used on all models in this line. Body styles included a coupe, sedan, and a hatchback. Standard equipment included armrests in both the front and rear, Deluxe two-spoke steering wheel, wood-grained door inserts, high/low ventilation, rubber floor covering, hubcaps, and vent windowless styling.
Buyers had the option of purchasing the Sprint and GTO packages. The Sprint option added black-textured grilles. The GTO package was now an exclusive package on the Ventura model line.
The Ventura Custom line added cloth or all-Morrokide trim, bright metal front seat side panels, glove-box lamp, custom cushion steering wheel, pedal trim plates, right-hand door jamb switch, deluxe wheelcovers, and rocker panel moldings. The hatchback coupes were given load floor carpeting, fold-down seats, cargo area dome lights, Space Saver spare tire, and trimmed sidewalls.
The base engine was a 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine rated at 100 horsepower. The base V8 engine displaced 350 cubic-inches and offered 155 horsepower.
After War broke out in the Middle East, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) temporarily restricted the flow of oil to the West. As a result, gasoline became expensive as supply diminished. Consumers who were in the market for a new car turned their attention to smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles. Pontiac, still clinging to the hope that the performance market was still attainable, continued to offer the GTO package.
The GTO package was moved from the Colonnade-style A-body to the compact X-platform of the Ventura for 1974. This shaved around 200 pounds off the weight of the vehicle and designers distinguished the GTO from its Ventura sibling line by adding GTO-specific trim and multi-color graphics, along with a shaker hoodscoop.
The GTO was more than appearance option; it was given a F41 heavy-duty suspension system, Rally II wheels, a Safe-T-Track differential, and power front disc brakes. The engine mounted under the hood was exclusive to the GTO package; it was a 350 cubic-inch V8 offering 200 horsepower.
Pontiac sold 7,058 examples of the GTO (the WW3 option) for 1974. Though it was smaller and lighter than in previous years, it was very different than the GTO's of the late 1960s. Zero-to-sixty took 9.5 seconds and ran the quarter-mile time in 16.5 seconds at 84.03 MPH.
The GTO came equipped with the floor shift, M11-coded Saginaw three-speed manual with a 2.54:1 first-gear ratio. The GTO's that were sent to California were given the mandated M38-coded Turbo Hydramtic 350.By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2014