Yesterday’s CC of a 1976 Pontiac LeMans found in Canada came one day after a sighting of another Colonnade A-Body by Pontiac that has received little recognition, despite bearing a famous name: a 1973 Pontiac GTO. The 1973 version of the GTO was the sole model year when the Colonnade A-Body bore the legendary GTO name, with the GTO nameplate transferring to the Nova-based Pontiac Ventura in 1974 and then disappearing the following year. The 1973 GTO found only 4,806 buyers, the worst sales year for the GTO in 1964-74, and early Malaise Era smog controls also made the 1973 one of the lowest performers to bear the GTO name. The market in 1973 and the memories of collectors today have not judged the 1973 GTO well.
Today surviving 1973 GTOs are among the rarest GTOs of all, however, and their 400 or 455 cubic inch powerplants can be easily upgraded to make serious horsepower. This example wears an orange color not offered from the factory in 1973 that is reminiscent of the color of The Judge in 1969, indicating that it has received a non-original repaint and most likely upgrades under the hood as well. Whether a “real GTO” or not, it is a distinctive way to drive among the gray and silver CUVs and minivans that dominate today’s traffic, and a quiet and comfortable one as well, so it must be a usable and enjoyable 42 year old classic for its owner.