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

Problem was, 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.

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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.

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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 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.

Chevrolet got into the budget performance wars too with the Heavy Chevy Chevelle.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or watching a 1972 Corvette overheat. An avid motorcyclist, he spends the rest of his time synchronizing carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.