1965 PONTIAC GTO
RESTYLED AFTER ONLY A YEAR
The entire Pontiac Tempest got a major restyle for 1965, and this included the GTO. The new body was 3.1 inches longer than the ’64 model on the same wheelbase. This was the first year for the stacked headlights, which remained through the 1967 model year, and was a look also embraced by Ford in the mid-60s. The weight went up by about 100 pounds, but the brake swept area was increased by almost 15% to compensate. The GTO got heavy duty shocks and a heavier front sway bar. The dash and gauge cluster was changed also. Outside, a phony hood scoop appeared.
1966 PONTIAC GTO FINALLY A STAND-ALONE MODEL
1966 was also the first time the GTO was viewed as an actual model, and not an option package within the Tempest/LeMans model line. The 3 body styles continued, the best-selling 2-door Hardtop; the 2-door Coupe (with pillar/post); and the Convertible. The 1966 Pontiac GTO became the first production car in history to replace their metal front grilles with molded plastic units.
1965 PONTIAC GTO ENGINE OPTIONS
Actually, the two primary engine offerings, the 389 4-barrel making 335hp, and the 389 Tri-Power with 360 hp, remained unchanged for the 1965 model year. However a new, albeit very rare option was offered for the first time. The XS option had a Ram Air setup breathing through a single Carter AFB 4-barrel, with a hot .744-lift cam. Pontiac may have understated the power output for political reasons, because it was advertised as 360hp, the same as the Tri-Power. Doesn’t matter much, as only 35 XS-optioned GTOs were every built. However, dozens of Pontiac dealers all across the country installed an estimated 300 factory Ram Air kits on GTOs either before or after the sale.
1965 Pontiac GTO Convertible
1965 Pontiac GTO Interiors
1965 PONTIAC GTO INTERIOR UPGRADES
The new interior included “Strato Bucket Seats” which were taller, narrower and better contoured for improved comfort and support. Adjustable headrests were optional. The entire IP (instrument panel) and gauge cluster was redesigned and now the ignition switch was where people expected it to be, just right of the steering column, rather than over to the far left of the dash, as it was on the 1964 and 1965 models. The 4-gauge layout continued but now with wood trim.
1965 PONTIAC GTO CONTINUES TO GROW IN SALES
Each year, GTO production was rising. From 32,450 in 1964, to 77,352 in 1965, the growth continued with 96,946 GTOs sold in the 1966 model year.