The Pontiac GTO is an American automobile built by Pontiac Division of General Motors from 1964 to 1974, and by GM subsidiary Holden in Australia from 2004 to 2006.
It was a muscle car classic of the 1960s and 1970s era. Although there were earlier muscle cars, the Pontiac GTO is considered by some to have started the trend with all four domestic automakers offering a variety of competing models.
Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as "any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving." A large V8 engine is fitted in a 2-door, rear wheel drive, family-style mid-size or full-size car designed for four or more passengers. Sold at an affordable price, muscle cars are intended for mainly street use and occasional drag racing. They are distinct from two-seat sports cars and expensive 2+2 GTs intended for high-speed touring and road racing. Developed simultaneously in their own markets, muscle cars also emerged from manufacturers in Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.
According to Muscle Cars, a book written by Peter Henshaw, a "muscle car" is "exactly what the name implies. It is a product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder's philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it. The Muscle Car is Charles Atlas kicking sand in the face of the 98 horsepower weakling." Henshaw further asserts that the muscle car was designed for straight-line speed, and did not have the "sophisticated chassis", "engineering integrity", or "lithe appearance" of European high-performance cars.
A station wagon, also called an estate car and an estate, is an automotive body-style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door (the liftgate or tailgate), instead of a trunk lid. The body style transforms a standard three-box design into a two-box design — to include an A, B, and C-pillar, as well as a D-pillar. Station wagons can flexibly reconfigure their interior volume via fold-down rear seats to prioritize either passenger or cargo volume.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a station wagon as "an automobile with one or more rows of folding or removable seats behind the driver and no luggage compartment but an area behind the seats into which suitcases, parcels, etc., can be loaded through a tailgate."
Pontiac began as an adjunct to the Oakland division of the General Motors line of automobiles in 1926. Pontiac successfully competed against more expensive 4-cylinder models with their inline flathead 6 engines. After outselling Oakland, Pontiac became the sole survivor of the two by 1932. In addition to the inline 6, Pontiac also had an inline 8 by 1933. These two engines were used through 1954, when Pontiac unveiled its V8 in 1955. From 1955 to 1981 the Pontiac Division of General Motors manufactured its own engines, distinct from Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, or Oldsmobile. Displacement began at 265 cu in and grew as large as 455 cu.in. (7.5 L) by 1970.
Pontiac engines were used in its U.S.-market cars; Canadian-built Pontiac automobiles generally used Chevrolet engines. From 1955 through 1959, the Pontiac V8 was also used in some GMC pick-up trucks.