What does the abbreviation ‘GTO’ stand for? (Answer at end of story.)
GTO Trivia Answer: ‘GTO’ stands for Grand Turismo Omologato, or in Italian, “approved for racing in the Grand Tourer class”.
1966 ‘Goat’ runs on GAS, NOT Gasoline! So you thought you were a ‘car guy’ (er, ‘person’)... knew everything there was to know about vintage muscle cars like the GTO, but you’ve never heard of the GTO/CNG.
Well, don’t feel too salty– most of us car folk have never heard of it either. But that’s about to change if Mark McConville and Keith Barfield of Birmingham, Alabama, have anything to say about it. You see, the beautifully-restored, stock-looking 1966 Pontiac GTO shown in the photo above, is not your average, GTO show car. It has been modified to run on ‘Compressed Natural Gas, or ‘CMG’.
Mark has owned this gem of a collectible for the past six years. He bought it just as you see it here, with little or no restoration required. What prompted him to convert the ‘Goat’ to run on CNG is the fact that he owns an airport shuttle business and his fleet runs on CNG which costs him roughly a buck and a half per gallon! (Looking pretty good isn’t it?!?)
Mark, along with his friend Keith, came up with the ‘Drive to Inspire’ campaign, designed to engage everyday Americans in the energy independence movement, setting our country free from the stranglehold that foreign suppliers currently have over us when it comes to oil supplies.
They have converted Mark’s GTO, which is equipped with the original, tri-power carburetor set up, into a natural gas burning muscle car. They departed from Santa Monica, California last night at seven o’clock PM and are taking Route 66, winding from LA to Chicago... more than 2,000 miles all the way. (Wait a minute! That doesn’t rhyme... it’s backwards from the song isn’t it?!?!)
Anyway, they will be over-nighting in St. Louis on Saturday, July 3rd and will be refuelling at the Laclede Gas Company CNG fuelling station at I-44 and Shrewsbury Avenue before departing for Chicago and the Navy Pier on the morning of the 4th of July. In a phone interview last week, Mark told me that his endeavor goes along hand in hand with President Obama’s statement of June 15th, 2010 when he said, “Americans need unleashed innovation”.
The GTO was introduced in 1966 as a ‘performance package’, but became its own sub series for model year 1966. Mark’s beauty is a 2-door hardtop (no post), trimmed out in Montero Red. It sold new for a base price of $2,847.00.
But don’t expect to find one for anywhere near that today. According to the Old Cars Price Guide, a trophy winning coupe like this one would run about fifty-G’s in today’s collector market. The triple deuce carb set up will cost you a thirty percent premium and if equipped with a 4-speed stick, figure another 5 percent! Happy Cruisin’ at the next Chuck-A-Burger Cruise night!!!
Content copyright . Bruce Kunz. All rights reserved.