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Gary's GTO Journal

Test Drive 1965

 "Once I was firmly buckled into what Pontiac called a bucket seat, a twist of the key at the far left of the dash brought the tri-carb beast to life. The chrome shifter that juts from the console garners instant respect because it's a race-car piece straight from George Hurst, and it's standard on every four speed GTO. Its white knob, replete with engraved shift pattern, fell easily to hand as the clutch pedal was depressed to engage first gear. Then I brought the revs up to three grand and dropped the clutch. The shifter jumped because the engine's torque was fighting its rubber damped mounts, and white smoke wafted into the cockpit and tugged at the back of my throat as the OE red line tires, while screaming in protest, were incinerated in the wheel wells. After an eternity, the Tiger Paws finally composed themselves and grabbed the asphalt with a lurch. The arrowhead that is molded into the bucket seat back tattooed me between the shoulder blades. My neck snapped, the scenery became a blur, and the revs rose at an alarming rate. From under the hood came a wail matched by no other, as the intake roar of three inhaling Rochesters filled my ears. Nearing the tach's red line, a glancing stab at the clutch pedal with the left foot, timed in perfect harmony with a yank on the chrome stick, and first gear became second without the accelerator pedal ever leaving the plush loop pile carpet. The two-three shift got the same treatment, the three-four came just as easy, and with the speedo approaching the bail money side of the dial, it was time to back out of it. At highway cruise speed, the shifter ball vibrated in my right hand, massaging my palm as the whine of the M20 four speed gearbox seeped into the cockpit along with just enough heat from the transmission tunnel to keep my right calf warm. The slight scent of raw fuel, mixed with that of burned oil from the four-bolt valve covers, entered the cabin from the open sky as the top was put down. Glancing through the windshield, my eyes fell upon the bulging hood scoop, and ever-present reminder that I was driving the hottest Pontiac on the planet."

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