The Pontiac’s GTO story is a rather compressed, as its glory years were not long-lived. It took everyone by surprise in 1964, and exploded during 1965, and peaked in sales in 1966, with 97k goats sold. Through 1970, sales stayed strong, but then totally collapsed in 1971, to a mere 10,532. All the usual factor that are attributed to the decline of the muscle cars (high insurance rates, changing priorities, etc.) apply to the GTO’s fall from grace, but the new front end that came with the ’71s, and was continued on the ’72s did it no favors either. At least, in my eyes. Or maybe we were all just jaded by 1971?
Due to the sales implosion, the 1972 GTO reverted back to being an optional package that was available on either the cheaper LeMans or the nice LeMans Sport. That made it more affordable, as the base LeMans came also in a post coupe and with very basic trim, including a bench seat.
Engines choices included the base 400, with 250 net hp, the 455 also with 250 hp but more torque, and the rare 455 SD with 300 net hp. Only 646 SD-equipped cars were sold.
Pontiac did offer the GTO package on the new 1973 Colonnade LeMans, but sales plummeted to 4806 cars.
In 1974, the name re-appeared on the Nova-based Ventura. Sales ticked up a wee bit to 7,058, but that was not enough to justify its existence. Given how poorly these two cars sold, the 1972 is commonly referred to as the last real GTO. Not counting the revival from 2004, of course, whose failure just adds to the status of the 1972, despite its uglier front end.