Thursday, March 25, 2010

41 Years Ago Today-That New Car Smell and a Deep V8 Rumble that Caused Paintings to Fall off Walls from a Mile Away

March 25,1969: The day this brand new 'goat' arrived at Mulberry Point

C O L L E C T I O N — For some reason, I can remember odd dates from my childhood quite easily-April 17, 1964, the day the Ford Mustang was introduced, Jun 15th 1973, the day my cat Missy had kittens, March 25th,1969, the day the gorgeous brand-new Liberty Blue Pontiac GTO pictured above came home with us. 

I can clearly remember seeing it on the new car lot, next to a white Bonneville on one side and a brighter blue Chevelle SS396 on the other—the dealership sold Chevys and Pontiacs. There was also a first-edition orange GTO Judge, but it was WAY too garish for our tastes!

As excited as I was whenever we bought a new car, I was sad to see our equally gorgeous 1966 Ford Fairlane 500XL 2 door hardtop being left behind. That Ford was the most perfect red ever painted on a car. The beautiful black vinyl bucket seat interior, with plenty of brushed aluminum trim on the console, dash and doors, had been faithfully cleaned every Saturday by my Dad and yours truly.

The GTO came with a 400ci V8 of 350hp, hooked to a 4 speed manual transmission. Having just read a well-researched article on Pontiac V8 engines of that time in Hemming's Classic Car, I know that all Pontiac V8s of the time were basically the same—there were no small blocks or big blocks like Chevy used. Whether you had a 287, 326, 389, a 400, a 428 or a 455, they were basically the same engine design. My mom was NOT crazy about us going 'backwards' on the automotive evolutionary scale as she put it, retreating back to a manual transmission from the perfectly modern 3 speed Cruise-o-Matic in the Fairlane, but she would put up with it for a couple of years. The car was eventually traded in on January 13, 1972 on a brand new Ford LTD Brougham 2 door hardtop with full power and auto trans, and sanity was restored in our household, lol.

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