As a car credited for starting the muscle car era, the Pontiac GTO enjoys legendary status as a truly revolutionary car. The Pontiac GTO followed a rather simple recipe of putting a high output V8 in an intermediate Le Mans body, which soon worked out so well that other brands started copying it, adding their own spices.
Soon after, the North American market was flooded by powerful and impossibly cool cars, and it was all thanks to Pontiac. For example, the GTO name was chosen as a cool sounding moniker and a nod of respect to those pesky-but-lovable Italians and their homologation grand tourers.
Looking back, the original 1964 GTO was eclipsed by later iterations—more specifically, the streamlined silhouettes that appeared in 1968. Inarguably, the GTO nameplate peaked in coolness in 1969 with the introduction of The Judge. Sporting a high impact orange paint and flaming graphics, The Judge perfectly embodied what the 1960s were in every way. Still, our vote goes to the original GTO, for it created the wave that marked the wildest, most counter cultural era of American auto performance.