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The Ember: This 1974 Pontiac GTO Showed What Could’ve Been If They Had Stayed The Course


The Ember: This 1974 Pontiac GTO Showed What Could’ve Been If They Had Stayed The Course

In 1973, General Motors introduced the redesigned A-body line. Delayed due to the strikes that the company had been suffering through, the new bodies were more formalized, featuring the Colonnade styling that would last through 1977, and a chassis that would influence GM vehicles through the beginning of the 2000s in many ways. It also seemed to be the moment that General Motors decided that fun was no longer allowed. They tolerated the Chevelle Laguna and Super Sport at best, but if you really want a grasp at what the new crew was thinking, all you had to do was look at the Pontiac GTO. For 1973, the GTO was a hot version of the plain LeMans, and both were usurped by the upscale, Euro-influenced Grand Am. In 1974, the Goat was knocked down to being the hot ticket form of the Ventura…the X-body…the Nova clone. For those who were used to what the GTO had been, it was like GM had used the history of that car as toilet paper. But was it all bad?

The X-body was in many ways just a more useful F-car. Novas and clones shared components with the Camaro and Firebird…until 1975, 1967-69 F-car suspension pieces are used. And I’ve offered up my thoughts on the civil war in Pontiac at the time, between the fluff and filler crowd and the speed freaks. Look at the wee little Goat again…and tell me that Pontiac couldn’t have pulled this off if they had just stuck with the program. Keep a rowdy version of the Pontiac 350 on hand, and maybe offer up a 400-powered version too. Grab every usable suspension piece that made the F-cars handlers back in the day, keep it sporty and priced right and the GTO could’ve stuck in “junior supercar” territory just find, fending off 360 Dusters and Darts and 302 Mavericks. It would’ve paired nicely against the Firebird as an entry-level screamer and would’ve left the larger A-body to the fluffy crowd. The GTO could’ve evolved, as well…first in 1975 when the X-car gained the second-gen F-car front suspension, then in 1978 when Pontiac started looking at the 1978 G-body LeMans as a performance option.

Hindsight…always works when looking backwards, doesn’t it?

AllCollectorCars.com Link: 1974 Pontiac GTO


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12 thoughts on “The Ember: This 1974 Pontiac GTO Showed What Could’ve Been If They Had Stayed The Course

  1. John conrad

    I owned a 1974 GTO in 1975. And for a 17 year old kid it was a really nice car. It had a dark blue paint job. A 350 with a 4-speed transmission,Hurst comp. plus shifter and Ram Air. The ram air was a combination of vacuum and Electric and would open a small window on the hood scoop when you kicked it in the ass. When your secondaries kicked in it had a pretty good boost. I knew it wasn’t the GTOs of old. But it was a very nice car. It treated me better than I treated it. I put Keystone style mags on it and a set of chrome header side pipes. I had 4 -G 60 /14 inch tires all around. It wasn’t the fastest on the street but it sure looked good. I wish I still had it!

    Reply
  2. Doug

    The 74 GTO is just begging for a Jim Butler built 455 which would fit right in. 500+ HP and you would have a monster on your hands.

    Reply
    1. James m hannan

      I NO MECHANIC WITH A VENTURA IT IT HAS
      454 BIG BLOCK.SOUNDS GREAT WITH D
      HEADERS N EVEN A 4 SPEED BUT ONE THING HE FORGOT TU DO IS TU PUT POWER
      STEERING IN IT.I JUST DIDNT GET IT.

      Reply
  3. Christopher Craft

    I like em as i do all GTOs, however, they are more copycat than trendsetter, and rather than stand out they look like an era of cars, moreso than THE CAR. 69-70 ALL DAY

    Reply
    1. MrGoat

      Had a Red 1974 that I bought new. 1/4 mile was not outstanding, but good for a 350 cid with 3.08 economy rearend. Top end was awesome had a 1974 455 cid Grand Prix on my bumper one night with it topped out. Called the guy on the CB ask if he wanted to pass. Said he couldn’t was having to draft to stay caught up. Yeah it was a great car. Had 130K + miles on it with original motor and rearend when I sold it in 1980.

      Reply
  4. Jim mclean

    First got I met was a 68 it was silver grey and it happend in 68 .it was elegant and just beautiful with red trim.in 75 i spotted an abandoned 68 with Alabama plates .in 1979 i bought a 67 goat white with a black roof like leather paid 55 bucks .it had thrown a rod rebuilt the 400 and lost it in 1990 found a 1972 goat four speed for 150 bucks .losted too .also in 79 found a 66 for $100 .love them .

    Reply
  5. Don

    I had a ’68 GTO convertible. It screamed. I traded it for a new ’74 GTO. It would run neck to neck with a ’74 Vette. It would run 135mph easily. The ’68 would run in the 160’s. I still consider the ’74 a goat.

    Reply
  6. James m hannan

    I NO MECHANIC WITH A VENTURA IT IT HAS
    454 BIG BLOCK.SOUNDS GREAT WITH D
    HEADERS N EVEN A 4 SPEED BUT ONE THING HE FORGOT TU DO IS TU PUT POWER
    STEERING IN IT.I JUST DIDNT GET IT.

    Reply
  7. Warren

    On my third GTO! All 69s. 427 BB Chevy with 6/71 blower on alchohol, 5 spd tremec! Screams!
    Still have two of them. Looking for a 428 pontiac motor for the other one. Had a 428 in my first one. Smashed all BB Camaros and Chevelles that tried me!

    Reply

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