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How the pioneering Pontiac muscle car made a lasting impression
Posted by: A.J. Baime March 3, 2015 10:03 a.m. ET
John Nolan, 63, a vice president for a steel producer from Fort Wayne, Ind., on his 1964 Pontiac GTO.
The GTO was arguably the first production muscle car. John DeLorean—who later started his own car company called DeLorean—was the chief engineer of the Pontiac division of General Motors at the time, and is considered the car’s “father.” The concept was to drop a very powerful engine into an intermediate-size vehicle, in the context of what was considered intermediate then. The actual name was Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO, but they called it The Great One.
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One of the keys to love? Passion for a 1965 Pontiac GTO
After serving in the U.S. Army, Tom Jackson was eager to find a "hot car," and when he saw the first model of the Pontiac Gran Turismo Omologato in 1964, he had to have it.
A year later, the 1965 GTO came out, and Tom liked the look of it better than the one he owned, so he traded it for the newer version — just in time for his marriage to Rose Everhart and their honeymoon road trip to Virginia Beach.
"It's my favorite car I've owned. I don't know why," Tom said. "There's just something special about it, and it's what I had when we got married."
That was 50 years ago. Its ownership has changed several times since. The couple has owned the '65 GTO twice.
Their passion for the car today is as deep as it was decades ago.
Tom, 73, said that he and Rose, 68, of Lancaster, loved the car, but after owning it only 10 months they opted to trade it for a 1966 GTO. They had already racked up 27,000 miles on the car. The warranty was for just 24,000 miles.
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