An easily recognizable example of a car with a big V8 stuffed under its hood is Pontiac’s GTO, maybe the first factory hot rod, produced in 1964. This leads to a matter of conflict between those who lust for the sedate family sedan front-loaded with a truck engine: Those who prefer the 1964 style with the horizontal headlights, and those who prefer the 1965 model with the vertically stacked headlights. Is there a debate among hot rod heads as to which is better? No, not really. It’s probably all in my head. Which give me an excuse to say that there actually is at least something in my head.
This bold move by Pontiac kicked off the era of the hot rod from the factories in the mid- to late-sixties. But I digress. Let me take a moment to catch my breath and get back on track.
Pontiac took a modest, Sunday-go-to-church family car, the Tempest, ingloriously yanked the totally inoffensive straight six, and dropped in a pumped-up version of their 389 cubic inch truck engine. To add that little bit of extra scare-the-crap-out-of-the-church-ladies, Pontiac slapped on a set of three 2-barrel Holley carburetors, affectionately calling it a Six Pack. Impractical, sure, but the perfect completion of rip-snort attitude that changed the direction of car manufacturing.