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Pontiac’s Sleeping Goat—The GT-37

CLEVELAND, OH — Gearheads all over the planet knew the Pontiac GTO was a serious performance car.

Problem is, so did insurance companies.

To combat rising insurance rates and capture a growing demand for low-buck performance cars like Plymouth’s Road Runner, Pontiac launched the GT-37.

What is a GT-37, you ask?

First, let’s explain the T-37.

It was the lowest Pontiac A-body trim, essentially a stripper Tempest model. During its 1970-71 production run, the T-37 was General Motor’s lowest-price midsize hardtop—good for fleet duty and budget-conscious drivers.

The GT-37 was the performance variant of the T-37, equipped with a Muncie 3-speed floor shifter, the GTO’s exhaust system, hood pins, rally wheels, and special badges and stripes.

In 1970, you had your choice of three Pontiac V8 engines, the venerable Pontiac 350 with 255 horsepower, or a pair of 400s rated at 265 or 345 hp. In 1971, the engine lineup shifted to the 255 hp Pontiac 350, a 300-hp Pontiac 400, plus new 455 and 455 motors making north of 335 ponies.

The GT-37 was a bonafide “sleeper” GTO, giving Pontiac an affordable performance car.

More importantly, the GT-37 stayed off insurance companies’ radars.

We stumbled across this stunning 1971 Pontiac GT-37 at the recent Summit Racing Equipment I-X Piston Powered Auto-Rama in Cleveland, part of the Summit Racing Show Car Series.

We talked to the owner, Chris, from the nearby suburb of Columbia Station, OH. He recently acquired the car, and was quick to give us a pretty in-depth history of the GT-37 package.

He picked up the car at a show in North Carolina, he said, gesturing to an old, framed dealership postcard.

“That’s my car in the picture,” Chris said, pointing to a GT-37 in the vintage dealer flyer.

Chris’ car  has the original, numbers-matching Pontiac 350 c.i.d. engine backed by the Muncie three-speed. He said that his car’s configuration is rare by GT-37 standards, with only 1,582 similar models leaving the factory so-equipped.

Even with 135,000 miles on the clock, the car has never been repainted, save for a few minor touch-ups.

Though it’s wearing aftermarket wheels, Chris assures us that the rest will remain stock, and that he plans on driving his Pontiac—a lot.

Good thing he’s saving a ton of money on his car insurance.

1971-Pontiac-GT-37-Perkins-Pontiac-Postcard

This is the original Perkins Pontiac dealership postcard from 1971. If you look toward the telephone pole, you’ll see Chris’s GT-37 on display. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

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1971-Pontiac-GT-37-Interior

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1971-Pontiac-GT-37-Hood-Up

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1971-Pontiac-GT-37-Engine

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1971-Pontiac-GT-37-Badge

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1971-Pontiac-GT-37-Rear-Spoiler

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1971-Pontiac-GT-37-Rear-Driver-Side

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10 Comments

  1. Would love to talk to Chris about his Beautiful car because I believe it is the only other one besides my late Brother John’s GT-37 !!! My brother John Sawruk worked with John DeLorean at GM and begged him to build this car when a Large Auto Plant strike had ended in the middle of 1971!!! They got permission to build it but only in a limited run until factories were retooled for 1972 model production!!! My Late great brother John is currently going to be inducted into the NEW PONTIAC HALL OF FAME in Valley Forge PA on June 30th, 2018. John is going in as Prominent Pontiac Engineer./Pontiac Ambassador/and OFFICIAL GM PONTIAC HISTORIAN!!! The car actually has Michigan registration that lists it as a 1971 and a half model year!!! COOL!!! Chriss Car ROCKS!!!

    • Daryl Eddingfield says:

      I too own a 1971 1/2 GT 37. Mine is a cardinal red model with a 400 big block and an automatic transmission. I bel ieve it to be highly optioned as it has the hood tach and rear spoiler, both factory optioned as I have the original build sheet from pontiac engineering. My car was originally sold in Richmound, British Columbia and now resides in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan.

      • Id love to see the PHS because I’ve never heard of any Pontiac besides a judge with a factory wing besides the 72 dovetail

  2. Hi My name is Bob Parker. I live in Gresham, Oregon. Just outside of Portland, Oregon. I just bought a 1971 GT-37. Dark green exterior with white vinyl top and white sword stripe reflective decal with the 350/350 set up. Does anyone have any idea how many of the Sword reflective strip decals were built. Does anyone know the highest
    Vin number in existance.

  3. Robert Parker says:

    Hi Robert Parker here I believe I have the last built 1971 1/2 Pontiac GT-37. Looking for build dates from any GT-37 owners out there. thanks

  4. Donald Fitch says:

    I also own a 1971 1/2 GT-37. Mine is Lucerne Blue, 400 c.i. with a 4 speed (not original). I have the silver full length sword stripes. At the 2004 GTOAA National Convention in Detroit, John Sawruk signed the inside of my trunk lid, something I will always cherish.

  5. Jake Altman says:

    I tried to buy a GT-37 when I returned from Vietnam, but none were available because of the strike according to the salesman, so I went up the street and bought a Cuda AAR with 4K miles on it. Anyway, for those that have these cars…Why do you refer to your car as a 1971 1/2? I thought there was a 1970 1/2 and then a 1971 model. Please help me understand.

  6. Jake, that was my thought too. I had a 1971 GT-37 that I purchased in 1995 for $1,200 in Apache Junction AZ. I didn’t realize what I had. I pulled the 350 cid and after some searching i found, built and installed a 428 out of a 1971 Grand Prix. Due to an accident(to me, not the car)I had to sell it to pay bills while I couldn’t work. That was in 2004. I regret selling it to this day.

  7. I put a 69 428 in my 68 GTO. What a car, I accidentally bought the 428 from a junkyard it came out of a 69 Grand Prix. Took me a while to get it straighten out. Bring back the goat . What was the horsepower on that motor?

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