GOAT TEASE: Cars Illustrated New Car Preview – 1987 Pontiac GTO


Here is one of the great new car previews from the original Cars Illustrated Magazines – Series Volume 3 Number 4

The GTO returns in ’87 on the Grand Am platform. With 230-horse 16-valve Super Duty engine, the new Goat will kick ass all over the street.

The GTO is back. After 11 years, Pontiac is seriously considering resurrecting the name synonymous with American street performance. Thanks to younger, more aggressive personnel who remember the days Pontiac automobiles with Pontiac engines were the cars to beat on the street, you may well see this pocket rocket in your Pontiac dealers showroom in a short time.


The return of this famous logo is enough to bring tears to the eyes of even the most hardened musclecar freak.

What makes this new GTO so special, and how does it fare compared tot he old GTO we know and love? It does very well, thanks you. It meets all the criteria to make it a GTO design: design, comfort, performance, but it also has an uncanny ability to turn you on. The car has a vibrancy that you cant get by just hanging on a spiffy nameplate. Pontiac was very careful to retain some of the styling elements of the early Goats, giving the new GTO those family genes essential to living up to the names reputation.

If its daddy was a tripower and its mother a Ram Air, then this little Super Duty engine will make the family proud. The 2.7-liter 4-cylinder uses a Super Duty block sporting bright red paint that Pontiac plans to identify their high performance engines.

This way when you lift the hood at Elmer’s garage everyone will know immediately that ain’t your average sewing machine motor. The Fieser GT with the 2.8 liter V6 engine is the first hi-po engine to painted red with more to follow.

What will really troops on wont be the red paint, because parked on top of the new block is a specifically cast 16-valve head. If you do the arithmetic, that means four valves per cylinder for excellent flow. Powering this new valve-train will be twin overhead camshafts. With fuel-injection, this configuration will crank out around 230 horsepower. Weighing in at 2700 pounds, the new GTO has a better power to weight ration than a 1969 Ram Air III GTO. Turbocharging would raise the output to over 300 horses!

Current plans are to mate this engine to a 3-speed automatic modified to accept the higher output of the Super Duty. It is possible that a 5-speed manual transmission would be available if and when the car is brought to market.

The suspension based on the excellent Grand Am set up, has been further modified and designated Y99 + with 16x8inch ultralight wheels, P225/50 VR16 Goodyear Gatorback tires and equal length halfshafts. Four wheels disc brakes also make this a breed apart form the standard Grand Am.


Rear deck lid foil recalls the Judge, but is functional and helps push down the rear end at speed for better handling.

The new GTO’s exterior is heavily dependent on the Gran Am. In fact, a number of exterior features on the GTO should be available as part of a Aero package for the 1986 Grand Am such as the flush mount headlamps. The front air dam and ground effects, flared rockers, look good on the Grand Am…er…GTO, as do the wheel opening flares. And mounted on the deck-lid is a functional rear spoiler, with emphasis on the word functional. We all know how the 1969-71 Judge spoilers accually lifted the rear up. Its a good example of how much more sophisticated this new GTO is in terms of high tech engineering and aerodynamics.

GTO identification is located at the base of the b-pillar, on the decklid (where it was from 1964-1972), in the left front grille (ditto), and on the doors, just like all the GTO’s that preceded it, the grills are blacked out.

If the drive-train and exterior aren’t enough to raise your pulse rate, a tour through the interiors should push you over the edge.  Again, the GTO tradition hasn’t been over looked, combining the Grand Am interior with special GTO appointments. As in the Grand Am, the controls for the fog lams and wipers are located in pods on both sides of the instrument panel , and the rest of the dash and console are pretty much stock. Settle yourself into buttersoft leather sets and let your eyes dance over the round analog gauges, and you know this isn’t a video arcade….this is a car. Three pods contain the instrumentation, consisting of a tachometer with a 7-grand redline in the right pod, a speedometer in the center pod and four small gauges within the left pod handling oil pressure, fuel, water temperature and amperage. The large easy to read alphanumerics are white on a black background. If one could bottle and sell the perfect instrument panel, this would be it.

goat3The black 4-spoke leather wrapped Momo steering wheel has a red horn button with the letters GTO in the center. The leather seats bear mentioning for two important reasons. Instead of front buckets and rear bench, just to lighten the load for racing purposes and discourage double dating. If the seat upholstery look vaguely familiar, it should. It was patterned after the 1965 GTO bucket seat with it’s diagonal rib seat-backs design and Pontiac emblem embossed in the leather. Like we said, the GTO heritage runs rampant through this heir to the crown.

We would remiss not to emphasize that this is a engineering exercise, and we were assured there was no specific plans to put the GTO into production. That however, was before all the positive feedback Pontiac between the eyes,. In the liue of SVO Mustang and the upcoming Shelby 16-valve head Charger due in late 1986, the people at Pontiac have some serious things to think over, like what colors to offer the GTO in and whether to make the turbo a option in the first of second year. From a sales standpoint, from a image standpoint, its a foregone conclusion this car is unquestionably a winner, It;s out guess the rebirth of the GTO is simply a matter of time.

And the time is now.




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