1965 Pontiac LeMans GTO
8-cyl. 389cid/335hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Despite the 1964 GTO’s initial success, Pontiac executive Jim Wangers claimed that many more could have been sold if it wasn’t for industry strikes. Wangers was proved almost correct in 1965, when 75,352 GTOS were delivered, up from 32,450 the year before.
The 1965 Pontiac GTO was still a $295 Tempest Le Mans option package, crisply redesigned with vertically stacked headlights, a split recessed grille and a single hood scoop. The four-pod dash remained, but an improved Rally gauge package was offered for $86 with an 8,000 rpm tachometer. The Coupe started at $2,871, the Hardtop at $2,935 and the Convertible at $3,165.
All had the 389 cid V-8, with the majority (54,805) having the 335 bhp, four-barrel version and 20,547 fitted with the 360 bhp Tri-Power engine, which cost an extra $115.78. Surprisingly, 56,378 GTOs were fitted with manual gearboxes and only 18,974 with automatic transmissions – which cost an extra $199. Cars with manual gearboxes received new cross-member reinforcement.
The base 335 bhp GTO was tested at 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds, with a 16.1-second quarter-mile at 89 mph. Top speed was around 115 mph. A late 1965 package made the hood air-scoop functional and could be dealer or owner-installed.
A total of 15 exterior paint colors with codeswere offered: Starlight Black (A), Blue Charcoal (B), Cameo Ivory (C), Fontaine Blue (D), Nightwatch Blue (E), Palmetto Green (H), Reef Turquoise (K), Teal Turquoise (L), Burgundy (N), Irish Mist (P), Montero Red (R), Capri Gold (T), Mission Beige (V), Bluemist Slate (W), and Mayfair Maize (Y). Two-tone paint was available in standard colors for $31.74 or in special colors for $71.93. A one-off exterior color cost only $40.19.
Six interior trim colors included Black, Blue, Turquoise, Gold, Red, and Parchment and Black. Five convertible top colors were offered: White, Black, Blue, Turquoise and Beige. Vinyl tops were introduced for the first time, in black or beige, as were slotted silver rally wheels, with separate center caps and trim rings.
Pontiac boss Pete Estes moved to Chevrolet during the year and John Z. DeLorean took over, as Motor Trend awarded “Car of the Year” honors to the entire Pontiac lineup. The muscle car boom was about to grab second gear.