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6 Ways the 1974 GTO Broke New Ground (For Better or For Worse)

Posted December 10, 2019 12:00 PM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto GTO history pontiac

The 1964 GTO enjoys legendary status, having been credited with kick-starting the muscle car era, and it remains a revered collectible. Conversely, the 1974 example has been viewed as the Goat that ended that same era, resulting in fewer fans and lower resale values. The Ventura’s compact economy car status, its close kinship to Chevrolet’s Nova, its smaller engine than found in previous GTOs, and the climate in which it was introduced are a few reasons that are typically cited.

To be fair, any car produced for 1974 faced difficult circumstances. Insurance companies had been cracking down on muscle cars for years, hiking rates and putting them financially out of reach of many potential buyers. Additionally, in a continuing effort to reduce pollution, federal emissions standards were becoming more stringent. Compression ratios started dropping in 1971 to burn cleaner low-lead and unleaded fuel but that also reduced power. Federal safety regulations were increasing occupant protection in a crash, but also added weight in many instances, further degrading performance and economy. The advancing bumper requirements also influenced styling.

The innovations of Pontiac's classic pony car - examined.

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Re: 6 Ways the 1974 GTO Broke New Ground (For Better or For wWrse)

12/10/2019 2:57 PM

We have been losing our freedoms for years, one by one, until you can't have fun and you can't enjoy yourself anymore....

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Re: 6 Ways the 1974 GTO Broke New Ground (For Better or For wWrse)

12/11/2019 2:37 AM

The 1974 GTO is a Chevy Nova with Pontiac badges! GM found a way to destroy the reputation Delorean built. Wide track - GONE!, 389 or 400 CI hi performance engine - GONE!

The article states excuses why performance cars "faced difficult circumstances" in 1974, but Pontiac made a Trans Am and Formula with a 455 SD motor, Chevy put a 454 in the Corvette, Olds put a 455 in their 442 and Buick put a 455 in the GS.

I have a 1973 and 1974 Alfa Romeo Spider. Both have the same 2.0L Hemi head, dual cam, aluminum head and block, high revving motor with the same mechanical fuel injection.

Porsche made a 911 RS - wow, what a car!

Jaguar made a V12 XKE.

Jensen put a 440 in their Interceptor.

Lamborghini created and started selling the Countach LP400!

Alfa produced the Montreal with a 2.6L V-8 with quad cams, hemi heads, aluminum block and heads.

All are examples of other companies continuing or starting production of high performance cars in 1974, so why did Pontiac kill the GTO-Nova?

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Re: 6 Ways the 1974 GTO Broke New Ground (For Better or For wWrse)

12/18/2019 1:12 PM

Badge engineering! GM started doing a lot of that in the '70s I think. You know, change the grill and rear bumper, add a new badge and instant new model for Pontiac (or whichever).

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Re: 6 Ways the 1974 GTO Broke New Ground (For Better or For wWrse)

12/23/2019 3:33 PM

All true, other companies made performance vehicles just when Pontiac decided to kill this name brand performance vehicle. One should also consider what Pontiac is building now.

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Re: 6 Ways the 1974 GTO Broke New Ground (For Better or For wWrse)

12/28/2019 6:30 PM

I thought that GM should've kept the Pontiac name around and used it for specialty cars only.

1. Pontiac Trans Am (based on the Camaro ZL1)

2. Pontiac Formula (based on the Camaro SS)

3. Pontiac GTO (based on the CTS V)

3a. Pontiac GTO Judge (based on the CTS V)

4. Pontiac Can Am (Based on the ATS V)

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Re: 6 Ways the 1974 GTO Broke New Ground (For Better or For wWrse)

12/28/2019 6:38 PM

That would be a good idea for a name brand resurrection. How about a 2022 Pontiac GTO to rival any Aston Martin or Lotus. You'd only have to make a handful, say 50 vehicles in total.

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Re: 6 Ways the 1974 GTO Broke New Ground (For Better or For wWrse)

12/28/2019 7:34 PM

I love it!

At the same time, Chrysler could revive the Plymouth name by bringing back classics like the GTX, Road Runner, 'Cuda and Duster 340!

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