Some automotive writers like to engage poetic license with the familiar term “muscle car.” They’re willing to speculate that perhaps the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the first muscle car. Or maybe the Rambler Rebel, the Buick Century, or the Stutz Bearcat. But not us. We’re strict constructionists on the matter. As far as we’re concerned, the muscle car era for real begins in 1964 and the first true muscle car, the one that started it all, was the Pontiac GTO. One like this, for instance: a distinctive Aquamarine and Parchment Coupe that is scheduled to cross the block at the Mecum Indy Auction on June 23-28.
This particular GTO has an additional feature of interest to hardcore performance enthusiasts: It’s equipped with the Royal Bobcat package, a special dealer setup offered back in the day by Ace Wilson’s Royal Pontiac in Royal Oak, Michigan, just outside Detroit.
Hard-wired to the division’s upper management through marketing wizard Jim Wangers, Royal was the go-to performance emporium for Pontiac enthusiasts in the muscle car era. Top mechanics in the Royal performance department included Milt Schornack, who raced the dealership’s Pontiacs on the drag strip when he wasn’t performing his trickery on customer cars.
The factory-correct Aquamarine paint (Code P) is said to be a single repaint since new on a largely original car with just 14,900 miles showing on the odometer. This example is one of nine Pontiac GTOs from the personal collection of auction impresario Dana Mecum, billed as “Dana’s GTOs” and originally scheduled for sale at the annual Mecum Indy sale in May. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the sale date has been pushed back to June 23-28 (and you’ll want to check for updates at Mecum.com).
Our preferred reference on American car pricing, Hagerty Insurance, currently values the 1964 GTO at all the way up to $119,000 for an example in #1 concours condition. But of course, the originality of this car and the Royal Bobcat package put a unique twist on the valuation. We’ll be interested to see what the auction market decides. -Photos by Mecum Auctions.