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This dramatic shot of McCahill flogging a GTO shows how badly the vehicle needed a rear sw
Subsequent to the runaway success of the '66 GTO, Pontiac returned for '67 with a new list of styling, powertrain, chassis, and safety features, which made the GTO an improved vehicle in nearly all respects.
As mentioned last month in this GTO anthology, GM forced Pontiac to drop its extremely popular tiger-themed promotional campaign. In response, Pontiac's ad agency, McManus, John & Adams, scrambled to come up with a new slogan to use in GTO advertising and marketing. In a switching around of the letters G, T, and O, they came up with the expansion “The Great One,” and it turned into a slam-dunk slogan for the '67 GTO.
As far as the GTO is concerned, '67 was an iconic model year. It's the car many people recall when they hear conversations about GTOs in general. It seems like many Pontiac hobbyists have a bond to the '67 GTO, whether it was admiring one as a child, riding around in one as a youth, or as an aficionado or collector today.
New Design Details
A major styling refresh helped define the GTO's previous model year, and the styling updates for '67 were mild. The plastic egg-crate grille on the '66 was updated to a bright wire-mesh design, which gave this new GTO an even more aggressive look than the previous year. A thicker, lower body-side molding was added, which incorporated a GTO emblem just behind the front wheel, port and starboard.
The “Surfrider” GTO was a paint-and-trim show car built for the ’67 show season. It featur
The GTO sport coupe would account for 7,029 sales for ’67. It would not return for ’68, th
The famed Pontiac hood tach would make its debut later in the ’67 model year as a dealer-i
New styling updates for ’67 included a wire-mesh grille, which replaced the plastic egg-cr
The tail was revised with a new taillamp design featuring four thin slots per side, surrounded by a bright strip running from the top of the bumper, up to the corner of the quarter-panel, across the edge of the decklid, and back down.
Pontiac also introduced a new optional steel wheel with a chrome trim ring and center cap, called Rally II. Designed to resemble the popular five-spoke designs of the era like American Racing's Torque Thrust, the Rally II proved to be one of the greatest designs in Pontiac history.
The new lower-rocker-panel trim was much thicker than in ’66 and gave the ’67 GTO a top-of
Rear-end updates included a new taillamp design with two pairs of chrome-trimmed slots sur
GM management made the decision in 1966 to eliminate multiple carburetion for all its vehicles, excluding Corvette. It seemed the GTO's performance and reputation would suffer. Not a chance! Leave it to Pontiac's talented engineers to take a potentially bad situation and turn it to their advantage. They revamped the GTO's V-8 engine offerings, retained the GTO's performance reputation, and set the stage for more powerful GTO performance in the future.
They started by enlarging Pontiac's fabled 389 to 400 cubic inches by way of a larger bore size (4.12 versus 4.0625). This was not simply a quick overbore. To maintain sufficient wall thickness, the block was recast and received one additional freeze plug per side (three versus two). Like the 389 it replaced, the new 400 came through, only with two-bolt main journals for '67.
A ’67 GTO hardtop lines up for a pass at Motor City Dragway with another GTO ready to go r
New and significantly improved cylinder heads were part of the GTO's new powertrain. Pontiac's engineers revised the intake ports for increased flow, and moved the valve-stem centers out from 1.82 inches to 1.98 inches apart to allow for larger 2.11/1.77-inch valves (versus 1.92/1.66-inch previously). The new heads were assigned casting number 670 and provided 10.75:1 compression.
Flying in the face of GM's Tri-Power ban, Pontiac engineers tried to adhere to the letter of the rule by mounting three two-barrel carbs on a common baseplate, technically making a single six-barrel carburetor. They soon realized they could easily meet the 400's airflow requirements with a single Rochester Quadrajet spread-bore carburetor, and went with the simpler, less expensive, and less controversial choice.
In practical application, the Quadrajet worked much like the Tri-Power, with the small front barrels working like the Tri-Power's center carb for normal operation, while the huge secondaries kicked in when additional airflow was needed. Both systems flowed approximately 700 cfm, but the new dual-plane intake manifold—a knockoff of Pontiac's NASCAR Super Duty single four-barrel intake—was a more efficient design than the Tri-Power unit.
There were four versions of the Pontiac 400 V-8 used in the GTO, each with a California AIR variant:
The base engine used the 067 cam and standard exhaust manifolds. It was rated at 335 hp at 5,000 rpm, with 441 lb-ft of torque at 3,400.
The 400 H.O. engine was the next up the performance ladder. Using the hotter 068 cam and new high-performance exhaust manifolds, this mill was rated at 360 hp at 5,100 rpm, with 438 lb-ft of torque at 3,600.
Even more exciting was the 400 Ram Air. It was the top-performing engine option for '67. It was the successor of the '66 XS engine (see last month's issue). Using the same 301/313-degree duration 744 cam as the XS, the Ram Air 400 used the new H.O. exhaust manifolds and a revised Ram Air pan to accommodate the Quadrajet carb. Later in the season, the Ram Air 400 received casting number 97 heads. These were identical to the 670s except for revised machining to accommodate taller valve-springs and polished valves. Many of the 97 heads were 670s restamped by the factory to reflect the machining differences (see “Red Means Go” in this issue). The Ram Air 400 was rated at the same 360 hp as the 400 H.O. in keeping with GM's 10-pounds-per-horsepower mandate. Actual horsepower was closer to 400.
The '67 GTO could also be ordered with a low-compression, two-barrel 400. Available as a credit option, it was targeted to buyers wanting GTO styling with regular-gas compatibility, and who didn't mind a mandatory automatic transmission. It was, for the most part, a variation of the 400 that was standard on Pontiac's full-size Catalina. The GTO's 400/2bbl was rated at 255 hp at 4,400 rpm, with 397 lb-ft of torque at 2,400. It used a large-chamber version of the small-valve '66 heads to achieve 8.6:1 compression. It also used the 254 cam found in 326 engines and an intake manifold similar to the one used on '66 engines. A total of 2,967 GTOs were equipped with this step-down powerplant.
Speaking of automatic transmissions, the '67 GTO did away with the two-speed Super Turbine 300 of the previous year in favor of the three-speed Turbo 400. For the first time, the GTO had an automatic that was compatible with a high-performance engine.
The Turbo 400 was available with a Hurst Dual-Gate shifter. Ignoring its rather chauvinistic nickname, His &Hers, the shifter could be used in a normal fashion (Her mode) or shifted manually by moving the shifter into the special gate that prevented upshifting into neutral (His mode).
Increased Safety for ‘67
The ’67 GTO’s interior was similar to the year just passed, and a new collapsible steering
Stricter federal safety standards came into play for '67. For GTO owners, that meant a new collapsible-design steering column that absorbed energy in a crash, reducing injury to the driver.
The GTO's braking system was also upgraded. Responding to the criticism of inadequate brakes on earlier GTOs, front disc brakes were made optional, increasing stopping power and greatly reducing fade. All '67 Pontiacs received new dual-chamber master cylinders, which effectively separated the front and rear braking systems, and prevented the complete loss of stopping power if a brake line failed.
Great Performance from “The Great One”
While Pontiac was no longer allowed to use tiger-related themes in its advertising, it sti
Roadtesters back in late 1966 and early 1967 were pleasantly surprised by the performance of the '67 GTO—as much by the new front disc brakes as they were with the acceleration capabilities of the Ram Air 400 engine. Hot Rod magazine tested an automatic Ram Air GTO and ran the quarter-mile in 14.11 seconds at 101.23 mph. Adding a Level 1 Royal Bobcat kit dropped the e.t. to 13.89 at 102.1
Similarly, Car Life magazine recorded a 13.89 e.t. at 102.80 mph with a Ram Air GTO with the Dual Gate–shifted automatic and 4.33 gears, though testers noted the engine was temperamental and ran miserably below 60 mph. They stated that freeway operation with the 4.33 gears was not pleasant, with the engine turning 3,500 rpm at that speed, which produced overheating and boil over. Nevertheless, they loved the car and concluded by saying, “Performance, brakes, and styling continue to set the pace for other manufacturers.”
A new grille design replaced the plastic egg-crate grille (of ’66) with a bright wire-mesh
For the GTO's fourth year, sales dropped somewhat but were still very strong. Pontiac built a total of 81,722 GTOs for '67, including 7,029 Sport coupes, 65,176 hardtops, and 9,517 convertibles.