Rides from the Readers: 1970 Pontiac GTO
Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.
Today’s featured car is a 1970 Pontiac GTO. The turn of the decade was not kind to Pontiac: The full-size muscle car craze was waning, and the age of the compact car—think Duster, Dart, and Maverick—was arriving. Changes for the the 1970 GTO amounted to a facelift, though the base engine did receive an upgrade from the two-barrel, 265-horsepower, 400-cubic-inch mill to the four-barrel, 350-hp variation. The GTO’s nose received a Firebird-esque treatment, retaining the four headlights but adding “boxed” center sections. Designers added neat horizontal creases along the front and rear fenders and extended the taillights to wrap around the corners of the bumper.
This particular GTO belongs to Karen Gottschalk, who’s loved GTOs as long as she can remember. In high school she started saving for her dream car—dark blue over black, with a four-speed and Crager wheels—trekking to junk yards with her fellow gearhead friends in search of those magical three chrome letters. “I’m sure my folks got tired of hearing me play ‘Little GTO’ on my record player,'” she remembers.
Even when she could only work part-time, Gottschalk saved everything. Two and a half years later, she bought her GTO. It’s with her still, and she’s kept modifications minimal, just headers and a Holley carb. “I don’t like to park it anywhere,” Gottschalk writes. “I just drive it. I still love it as much as when I first got it—I think it’s my fountain of youth.”
Clearly, good taste runs in the Gottschalk family. Her daughter has always loved the blue GTO, and Karen plans to hand off the car to her—eventually. “I’m not letting it go for a long time. I love it and love how I feel when I’m driving it,” she writes.