|Model||Hurst GeeTO Tiger|
Web No. CH1007-60122
*** Auction Selling Time For This Lot is Saturday 2:30 PM ***
In 1965, marketing guru Jim Wangers "Godfather of the GTO," along with Pontiac, George Hurst, and Petersen Publishing, put together a special contest to promote the relatively new Pontiac GTO and Hurst Performance Products. The contest was based on a special album recorded by "The Tigers," on the Colpix label, entitled "GeeTO Tiger." The flip side was the "Big Sounds of the GeeTO Tiger", which was recorded at speed on the GM test track, including wide-open acceleration, high-speed cornering, brake testing, and the like.
The Grand Prize for the contest was a 1965 Pontiac GTO, named the "GeeTO Tiger." Specially equipped with over 28 factory options plus special gold Hurst mag wheels, a special Hurst Gold paint job, and a gold-plated Hurst Shifter, it was the ultimate ‘65 GTO - and the ultimate promotional vehicle for all involved. Jim Wangers recalled the car in an interview in 1983: "The top prize...was this very special GTO, (the) GeeTO Tiger, which was built by Hurst, they actually sponsored the promotion with a lot of cooperation from Pontiac. It was done in a very special paint - what they called Hurst Gold in those days - which we renamed Tiger Gold. It was a ‘65 hardtop, Tri-Power, 4-speed with all the good stuff - Safe-T-Track, close ratio 4-speed, and suspension package. It was a Tiger Gold car with a black vinyl top - which in those days was very "in"...it had a very special set of gold Hurst wheels and it had redline tires - and this was used as a dual promotion to promote not only the record, but obviously the GTO - obviously Hurst, which was a very important part of Pontiac promotion as we were the first car to ever put a Hurst shifter in right from the factory. (This car) was also designed to promote the GeeTO Tiger show which was going on at the drag strip. The car was never raced, it was a brand new car especially prepared for the contest. It had a lot of luxury options - it was not a race car per se, it was a nice total street machine, you know, it had power steering, power brakes, because it was supposed to be the nicest GTO you could put your hands on. It was a special car put together just for that program. It came through as a regular car and it was promoted as being a Royal Bobcat. The Hurst conversion was done locally- Hurst had a big shop here. It was never driven, it was a brand new car when it was awarded. (They) did put a gold shifter in it. Hurst Gold- actually, a derivative of Hurst Gold in '65 - became a regular production option in 1966, it was a big seller in '66 - it was called Tiger Gold by Pontiac both for the GTO and LeMans. In fact, we introduced the '67 Firebird in that color."
The "GeeTO Tiger" was heavily promoted in every automotive magazine for months in 1965 with full-page ads and lots of editorial coverage. Both Hurst and Pontiac advertised the car. Pontiac featured the record in many of their ads, and in total, over 450,000 "GeeTO Tiger" albums were distributed.
To win the contest, you had to listen to the song entitled "GeeTO Tiger" and count the number of times the word "tiger" was sung. You were then instructed to submit this number along with a 25 word or less paragraph entitled "Why I'd like to win the original GeeTO Tiger", along with your name and address. The deadline was July 31st, 1965. On July 27th, 1965, after seeing an ad for the contest in Hot Rod Magazine, Alex Lampone, a 19 year old from West Allis, Wisconsin, sat down and neatly typed this his entry. It read:
The word "Tiger" is sung 42 times in the record entitled "GeeTO Tiger." Below is my entry as to why I would like to win the original "GeeTO Tiger":
Prowling around in a custom Tiger like the "GeeTO". I'd be as sure as a Hurst shift to make a hit with all the ‘cats.’ "
Lampone's entry, amazingly enough, made it from West Allis, Wisconsin, to Hurst headquarters in Pennsylvania before the deadline four days later. He had counted the correct number of times the word "tiger" was sung, and the judges (including George Hurst, Dick Day (Car Craft Magazine), and Wally Parks (of the NHRA)) liked his reason for wanting the car the most of all. Within weeks, young Alex Lampone was the personal guest of George Hurst at the NHRA National Drags in Indianapolis. The keys to the "GeeTO Tiger" were formally presented by George Hurst at dinner, along with Jack "Doc" Watson and Miss Hurst Golden Shifter Pat Flannery. Hot Rod Magazine was on hand to document the occasion. The next day, Alex Lampone was introduced by George Hurst to the Nationals crowd at the races.
Alex Lampone treasured the car and drove it sparingly for a few years. He then sold it to another young man from West Allis, Pete Yeko. Pete drag raced the car at Great Lakes Drag-a-way in Union Grove, Wisconsin, in the stock classes, winning nearly every time as he recalls. Yeko also strived to keep the car in perfect condition. In 1975, Yeko sold the car to GTO collector Jim Urban, of Appleton, Wisconsin. At this time, the car had 50,000 miles and was still in exceptional shape. Urban rebuilt the original engine and advertised the car for sale. Jerry Treleven of Appleton,Wisconsin saw the car advertised, and, at the urging of his friends, paid the asking price of $4,200, pretty steep for a 65 GTO in 1975! Knowing only that he liked the car and that Urban told him the car was "very special", Treleven drove the car only occasionally. It was not until a chance encounter with Jim Wangers that Treleven knew exactly what he had. Treleven had the car repainted in approximately 1982 , with the exception of this paint job and the engine rebuild, the car is completely original and unrestored. It currently has 59,000 miles. The "GeeTO Tiger" has been written about in The Big Little GTO Book, Jim Wanger's Glory Days, Classic Sixties magazine, Car Collector magazine, Dennis Kirban's book, Hurst Wheel and Memoribilia, and many others. Jim Mattison of Pontiac Historic Services considers the "GeeTO Tiger" to be perhaps the most significant GTO of all time. Certainly no other GTO has as many ties to GTO history as the "GeeTO Tiger", being a real Royal Bobcat car, hand assembled by Pontiac Engineering and Hurst Performance Products, being sung about on a record with a distribution of over 450,000, as well as having hundreds of thousands of (1965) dollars spent on promotion plus being the centerpiece of the 1965 NHRA National Event with George Hurst and Wally Parks as its chaparone!
After nearly thirty years in Jerry Treleven's care, Jerry sold the Hurst "GeeTO Tiger" to GTO collector Colin Comer. The "GeeTO Tiger" has now been reunited with the 1965 Hurst/Motor Trend Magazine Riverside 500 GTO Pace Car.
The GeeTO Tiger was featured in "Musclecar Enthusiast" magazine in November, 2005; was the official 40th Anniversary GTO Nationals car and on their event t-shirts and merchandise; and the GeeTO Tiger limited edition model has just been released by Performance Years Enterprises. Spike TV's show "Musclecar" had a full track test and feature on the GeeTO Tiger this year, and "V-8 TV" will be airing an exclusive interview with the “Godfather of the GTO,” Jim Wangers and noted GTO historian/author Paul Zazarine talking about the Hurst Riverside 500 Pace Car and the GeeTO Tiger this season
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