Unless you have been reading High Performance Pontiac from its days as Thunder Am back in the early '80s, you might not be aware of the link between it and Magnum-Royal Publications' Hi-Performance Cars magazine.
The editor at the time, Martyn L. Schorr, later went on to form Quicksilver Communications and also launched Thunder Am, as well as Vette. With him, he brought such talented writers from Cars as Joe Oldham and the late, great Roger Huntington. Later, another former Cars editor, the legendary Steve Collison, joined the mastheads of Vette and HPP, and today those titles are still going strong.
The April '73 issue of Cars was significant, as its Car of the Year was awarded to the '73 SD-455 GTO, a car that was cancelled as the issue went to press. It was an embarrassment for the editorial staff, but it remains an interesting sidenote in Pontiac history.
As it turned out, the experience with the GTO test car inspired Marty Schorr to purchase a '73 GTO. Though it was ordered with a SD-455, the factory rejected the order and he had to take the D-port 455 instead.
Marty kept the GTO for several years "We swapped motors in around 1978 and put in a 400-inch Firebird engine," he recalled. "It was the takeout engine of the Motion Ratbird—that car got a Chevy big-block. That 400 ran way better than the 455-incher!"
With the permission of Marty Schorr, we reprint that iconic article for your entertainment. Getting a pristine copy of the now 40-year-old magazine was no easy task but with the help of POCI members Gary Atkins and Jim Patterson, we were able to bring this to you. Thanks, guys!
Top Performance Car Of The Year
Pontiac invented the supercar in 1963 and ten years later emerges as its exclusive producer
In thirteen years of selecting Top Performance Car of the Year candidates, flogging them on the open road and under controlled test track conditions and finally selecting the Top Eliminator, never has our job been easier . It is the first time that one car has emerged-head and shoulders above every other entry. In fact, you might even say it wasn't a contest. Pontiac came, saw and conquered. With its all-new GTO, Pontiac challenged all of Motown to a supercar showdown. And, when the smoke had cleared, it appeared that the GTO-once again was King of the Street. The supercar may be dead and buried in other quarters, but, for some strange reason, the message hasn 't been received in Pontiac, Michigan. In an era of decreasing performance, marginal styling and an overall "ban the bomb" attitude, Pontiac has gotten its act together in one of the most exciting, genuine performance intermediates ever to come out of the Motor City. The 1973 GTO, which is better than the original Tiger in every conceivable way, is alive, well and available from your friendly Pontiac dealer. At a time when every other manufacturer has forgotten the enthusiast/performance car market, Pontiac has combined the best features of the 1964-'67 GTO with the most modern (technology and safety features to produce the all-new GTO, our choice for Top Performance Car of the Year honors.
The all-new GTO is what it is because of a group of forward-thinking product planners and engineers who spent untold hours surveying the demographic breakdown of older GTO buyers and of the status of the current marketplace. What they learned, basically, is that there were two groups of GTO buyers: young adults who were primarily interested in performance and older affluent professionals who wanted the performance image with all the comforts of a luxury car.
The net results of the survey netted the market place with a Grand Am for the luxury-performance car buyer and genuine supercar-in every sense of the word-for the enthusiast. The GTO was then positioned for the marketplace with an "as low as possible" base price to attract the. young buyer, and with a great power-to-weight ratio, and suspension th at would mesmerize the buyer interested in no-nonsense handling characteristics and a good, solid base powertrain. There you have the 1973 GTO.