1964 Pontiac GTO Review

1964 Pontiac GTO 389 from North America

Year of manufacture1964
First year of ownership1967
Most recent year of ownership1972
Engine and transmission 389 Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired35000 miles
Most recent distance65000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Impala

Summary:

The car that started Pontiac Excitement

Faults:

The rear axle went out at 45,000 miles, but since I was towing a small trailer at speeds of over 70 mph I believe it was my fault for putting too much of a strain on it.

It burned about a quart of oil a month which does not seem unusual for a high-performance car of the time.

It quickly became sluggish unless it was regularly and properly tuned and timed, which I did at least every two months.

General Comments:

The '64 GTO was the first of the breed and for an introductory year surprisingly little was wrong with it. Combining the track-tested Pontiac workhorse 389 motor, a reliable drive train and a super light weight body made for results that inspired awe and true driving excitement. Quite a few of my friends also had GTO's, but those far heavier 65-70s models couldn't keep pace with my little goat. Neither could the 442's, Grand Sports or even most Corvettes. It was also a great highway cruiser seeming most relaxed in the 80-90 mph range with plenty of reserve left if you wanted to give it a little more go. Additionally it was a comfortable car to drive and the fit and finish were up to the benchmark GM standard of the day. A regular routine of waxing, polishing and maintenance was all that was needed to keep the elements from doing damage to the fragile materials used in those times. Better brakes and handling would have been appreciated, but this car was built for straight line power and that's what it delivered. I have no doubt I would still own the car today if it hadn't been stolen. Shame on Pontiac for putting that storied 3-letter nameplate on yet another abomination.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th April, 2004

20th Aug 2004, 21:46

Twas a great car old man

Before you condemn the Australian manufactured american powered car, read up about Holden's (Australia's GM division) past and recent history.

And before you make another comment go test drive one it will knock your socks off!

5th Apr 2006, 22:48

Don't knock it before you try it. The new GTO is worthy of the name in every sense. It is everything the original was, and more.

A little context is in order. Your 1964 GTO was really nothing more than a humble Tempest (which was available with a *4-cylinder* engine) with a 389 stuck in it. Not only were disc brakes not standard, they weren't even available as an option. And it's styling actually was overshadowed by the groundbreaking, gorgeous Catalina. However, it was a watershed in performance cars and who knows? If the GTO had somehow soldiered on like the Camaro, it might resemble the current model anyway, with the exception of the taillights perhaps.

BTW, a 2006 GTO will whip any previous production 64~74 GTO, including the Judge, in any conceivable performance category, and by a large margin. 0-60 in 4.7, ΒΌ-mile in 13.4, top speed of 170+, and don't even start with braking and handling!

Give Pontiac some credit for peeing the credibility of the GTO name on a bland front-driver (Impala, anyone?).

Don't get me wrong, I love the old classics (would love to own a 68), but the current model brings it's a-game with it!

Average review marks: 8.0 / 10, based on 1 review