The Pontiac GTO ushered in the American muscle-car era in the mid-1960s, just as the baby boomers began to come of age. The first GTO was born when engineers dropped a 389-cubic-inch V8 engine, which was built for a full-size sedan, into an intermediate-size Pontiac Tempest LeMans. Initially offered simply as an option on the Tempest LeMans, the GTO—which in Italian stood for Gran Turismo Omologato, or in English, Grand Touring Homologated—became its own model in 1966.
Available as a hardtop, coupe, or convertible, the 1966 Pontiac GTO was equipped with a standard 335-horsepower V8 engine. The “Goat” could really move; in tests, it went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds. It also looked much different than its predecessors. Starting in 1966, the car featured curvy Coke-bottle styling and a split grille. That model year, sales of the distinctive GTO peaked.