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1972 Pontiac GTO Wagon

My brother contributor Big Chris went to his local county fair and came upon what appears to be one of the rarest muscle cars in the civilized world: a 1972 Pontiac GTO station wagon.

Prepare yourselves for a a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a station wagon that does not exist..

The recipe for a muscle car is simple: take a "compact" or "intermediate" car and stuff the biggest, most torque-happy V-8 you can get away with into the engine bay, matched to a transmission and differential of appropriate stoutness. The result is a fire-breathing terror of the dragstrip, a vehicle that can go in straight lines at unholy rates of acceleration, burning through premium gasoline and insurance premium dollars at an equally unholy pace.

Station wagons, like the minivans and crossovers that have largely replaced them, are the philosophical opposite of the muscle car. They are practical transportation appliances for middle America, built to haul soccer teams and Cub dens, bags of groceries and sheets of plywood, and perhaps tow a boat or an Airstream. They are so steeped in practicality that it would be patent absurdity to think of a station wagon as a high performance terror of the dragstrip.

"Little GTO, you're really lookin' fine/Three duces and a four speed, and seating for nine"So, naturally, it was only a matter of time before it occurred to someone to turn a station wagon into a high performance terror of the dragstrip by giving it a muscle car drivetrain.

There have been thousands of wagons converted to muscle cars or dragsters with engine swaps and aftermarket go-fasters, but only a very, very few came weaponized straight from the factory. The Studebaker Lark Wagonaire could be ordered with a supercharged Avanti drivetrain in 1962 and '63--but that was the only time, so far as I know, that a manufacturer openly and officially offered a "muscle wagon" for public sale during the muscle car era.

Otherwise, no such thing as a factory muscle wagon. Or was there?

According to the Pontiac catalogs and order books, the answer was a firm "no." In 1964 and '65, when the Pontiac GTO--the paragon of all muscle cars--was an option package for the Tempest, it was available on the two-door coupe, hardtop sedan, or convertible, but not on the Tempest wagon. In 1966, the GTO was spun off as a separate model line, offered as (you guessed it!) a two-door coupe, hardtop, or convertible--again, no wagon in the lineup. In 1972 and 1973, the "Goat" reverted to being an option package for the Le Mans coupe--coupe only, according to the order book, no ragtop, hardtop, or wagon.

Rocky Boyle, a member of the Tarheel Tigers Pontiac car Club, built this '66 GTO wagon.That said, you may on occasion see a 1964-73 Pontiac GTO station wagon at your local car show or cruise-in. In almost every instance, such as the car in the photo above, this will be a Tempest or Le Mans wagon body that someone has tricked out with GTO badging and trim, a GTO hood and front clip, and a GTO-like drivetrain. The GTO, Tempest, and Le Mans are all variants of the same basic car, built on a common platform with common components, so this particular "kitbash" isn't all that hard to do as such things go.

Like I said, in almost every instance, a "Goat wagon" will be home-built. The exceptions are three cars built in 1972, when some Pontiac line workers put GTO parts on Le Mans wagons in total disregard of 1972what GM's order book said you could do. One source asserts that these were GTOs in appearance only, with plain-Jane wagon mechanicals, but others claim that the cars were true "Goats" equipped with the full option package.

I was unable to find out for sure if the factory-kitbashed wagons were a prank, or a mistake in the production order, or a special order. I'm tending toward the latter theory, because there was also one GTO convertible produced the same year, another "anomalous" GTO that did not appear in the catalog. One such oddball might be a mistake or a gag, but four sounds deliberate. It's easy to imagine the scenario: some dealer wants a non-catalog car for one of his favorite customers and knows somebody in the regional sales office who owes him a favor, and makes a phone call and, hey, while you're at it, make it three wagons and a ragtop.

Big Chris was not able to discover whether this particular wagon is one of the three built at the factory, or a "tribute" created later. I'd like to think that it is one of the factory-weaponized trio, and that a suburban mom drove it to the grocery store and Little League practice in the early '70s, and had herself some fun on the way there when the cops weren't around.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

The beautiful '66 wagon belongs to Rocky Boyle, a member of the Tarheel Tigers Pontiac Car Club; the photo is from the club's website. The '72 wagon was photographed by our own Big Chris.

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I was a bit dumbfounded when I happened upon this car. I looked at it, looked at the badging, and then looked at it again. If it wasn't factory, it was dead on in its conversion. They didn't have the hood open, which probably would have told the whole story one way or the other. But either way, it's a really good looking treatment, and is surprising that one of the big three didn't see some potential there like Dodge more recently has with the Magnum. I'd definitely rock a Magnum today. I'd certainly rather have the Audi Wagon (or even the Benz) but the Magnum does look good when done up right.

Its kind of ironic that while the '72 GTO wagon is very well put together and stylish they choose this generation.

As most here are aware, with rare exception, after 1970 performance levels went into a debilitating downward spiral for a number of years.

That said, it does look very cool... anyone seen a 1970 Buick GS Stage 1 wagon around anywhere?

Since we're on the topic, I would love to have seen the following:
'66-'69 Rivera Wagon
'66-'69 Tornado Wagon
'67-'70 Eldorado Wagon

It would have been an interesting styling statement if these were designed similar to the 2-door wagons like the Chevy Nomad or Mustang/Camaro wagon concepts...

Cool post.

I think you could order a Lemans with the GTO nose as a $41 option.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/37573576@N06/7514066340/

Chris..."...but the Magnum does look good when done up right".

In Europe they were sold as Chryslers and had a 300 nosepiece (or at least something that looked like a 300 nose...I don't know if they were interchangeable).

Anyone know?

Hiptech: About a wagon conversion of 67-70 ElDorados....our friend George Barris built one for Dean Martin.

http://www.stationwagonforums.com/forums/gallery/showimage.php?i=8528&c=8

A Hemmings Motor News blog uncovered a similar car:
http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/tag/george-barris/

I'd love the Dean Martin car, I wonder where it is now?

John B. Your thinking of the Chrysler 300 Touring.
http://motoburg.com/images/chrysler-300-c-touring-03.jpg
I think they may revive this, probably so Lancia could have a wagon version of their Thema.

In '72 I encountered a '70 Dodge Polara sw w/a factory 426 hemi.....her son smoked me in my '66 Chevelle.

Remember one of these south of San Diego in the early 70s. It was a 71/72 Le Mans with the GTO nose pieces, same GTO Judge orange color. Used as a daily commuter by a lady that drove in front of my workplace every afternoon. Totaled it at the stoplight in front of work about 1976 (ran full speed into a Lincoln stopped at the light in front of her). She was OK but that was the end of a very cool car. Always wondered if one could order one that way, because it didn't seem like a homebuild.

My Family was Pontiac dealers from 1936-1993. In 1972
for event vehicles our Washington location was supplied 6 wagons with GTO options.They were delivered in Yellow, Orange and Red. The Wagons went to Parade, Rodeo " Pendleton Round-up " and Eastern Washington Fairs. We sold all but two which one the Pontiac Factory
Rep out of Yakima Wa. retained as his Brass Car and the other
went to what was then Marson Pontiac in Yakima.

I owned a 1973 Chevelle SS" Collanade" hardtop, with a 350ci 2bbl single exhaust, th350 trans. They could be ordered with a 454 however. I recall a picture in the 1973 Chevelle sales brochure of a SS station wagon. This could be ordered because the SS was an option in 1973. I do not know if any were made; I have never seen one.

Shouldn't that tiger be in the tank?

Michial - that's a pretty cool tidbit of history on these cars. Thanks for sharing!

GM had a SS454 or SS350 option for chevelle wagon in 1973. That is it. In 1970 to 1972, you could order a Chevelle Wagon with a 402 (400 / 330 hp)(LS3) option. There was only 170 (1970), 420 (1971) and 264 (1972). Currently I own a "what if" 71 Chevelle Wagon SS (LS5) 454. It looks completely factory and drives people nuts wondering if the "general" ever built one.........

With the honeycomb rims?

"Kids. Get in the car. We're going out for some f-ing ice cream!"

I saw at a BFE junkyard in KY a 1970 twodoor GTO WAGON WITH NOMAD STYLE POSTS it was carousel red with a white GTO interior. It was the only one i've ever seen,so I called the PMD, and confirmed it.I was told the old guy that owned the yard would never sell it.But I know it's there .and I think what an awsome car. and what a waste.

Dave Bicknell- - what town was this KY junkyard?

The 1972 brochure does mention you can get the two- and four-door LeManses with the GTO package, but, you're right—no wagon is mentioned. But I love the notion that this was one of the "renegade" wagons that left the factory—it is entirely feasible, especially in those days.

Back in the 70's growing up in the suburbs of detroit, my friends mom had a '73 gto station wagon. It was factory. The kidss last name was Goad, his dad eventually became the president of Pontiac and had the car built. It was silver with black interior, engine turned dash, shaker, honeycomb wheels, floor shift. Used to ride to swim practice every day in that car. Its out there somewhere.

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