George Tillman Jr.’s 2010 action film, Faster, caused a bit of controversy when it was initially released in theaters. The picture, starring Dwane “The Rock” Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gunigo, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Tom Beringer, and Mike Epps was fairly well shunned by movie-going audiences and savaged by film critics.
The latter, almost universally felt this unusually dark and relentless vengeance flick featured (some say, relished in) truly over-the-top gratuitous violence and nearly blasphemous comments on religion’s tenants of forgiveness and redemption.
I’ve got a rather thick skin when it comes to things like that so I wasn’t terribly offended. But, I did note the tenor and tone of the film was somewhat disturbing in terms of these aforementioned attributes, and was rather humorless to boot.
There was plenty to enjoy in the film from a car nut’s perspective, though – a variety of classic and modern muscle and sports cars put through their paces with some spine-tingling stunt driving.
Most people who saw the film remember it for the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 (that curiously had the rear fascia of a ’72) which The Rock drives with reckless abandon throughout the majority of the picture. However, I was more impressed by the absolutely stunning, gold 1967 Pontiac GTO used as a getaway car midway through the film. Enough so that I decided it should be the subject of this month’s edition of Rob’s Movie Muscle!
Before we get into the car featured in the movie, a brief history is in order for the four or five of you out there who don’t know and love your GTOs.
For many, the GTO invented the category of muscle car: a mid-sized automobile, devoid of most frills and niceties, with a massive, high-performance engine shoehorned under the hood, and the requisite amount of suspension and brake alterations to make the thing drivable.
At least that was the formula which GM executives John DeLorean, Bill Collins, and Russ Gee had in mind when they envisioned transforming the Pontiac Tempest into a sporty car. They outfit it with a 389ci (6.4 liter) V8 engine despite the GM rule that no motor with a displacement larger than 330ci (5.4 liter) should go in a midsize car.
In the end, the GTO, a name swiped by DeLorean from the glorious Ferrari 250 Gran Turismo Omologato race car, was introduced as an option package for the Pontiac LeMans in 1964. Available in hardtop, coupe, and convertible forms, the package was an immediate hit with the car-buying-public. Pontiac moved almost 32,500 units in its introductory year.
Such was the GTO’s success, that in 1966 GM decided to make it a standalone model in the Pontiac lineup. The car received a complete restyling with a more curvaceous “Coke-bottle” body, a revised interior, a slightly longer wheelbase, and striking front and rear fascias. Around this time, it also picked up the enduring nickname, “The Goat,” an alphabet soup play on the car’s name.
For 1967, stylistic changes to The Goat were limited to a redesign of the taillights, wheels and a slight modification to the materials used in the grille.
Mechanically, however, the changes were more pronounced.
For starters, the 389ci powerplant was bored out to 400ci (6.6 liters) and was given a single four-barrel carburetor. The engine was available in three tunes good for 265 horsepower and 397 lb-ft of torque, 335 horsepower and 441 lb-ft, and 360 horsepower and 438 lb-ft in the hottest state of tune
Mated to the new lump was a three-speed TH-400 Turbo-Hydramatic transmission with a unique “His n’ Hers” Hurst shifter which allowed automatic gearchanges or manual gear selection.
The ’67 GTO in Faster is a hard-to-forget machine. It’s gold paint, technically Signet Gold Poly in Goat-speak, looks radical compared to the most common GTO shades such as Regimental Red, Tyrol Blue, and Starlight Black.
The car wears a correct set of OEM Rally II wheels shod with period-correct high-sidewall rubber.
Though we never get a look under the hood of the car, judging by the sound of the engine and the power necessary to perform the incredible stunts seen in the film – which includes a sequence where the car is driven in reverse for many minutes – chances are the movie car was packing a 400 with the hot, 360 horsepower tune.
What we get a better look at (numerous times) is the car’s interior. It has a black dash with the integrated instrument panel, four pod instruments and walnut veneer dash trim. This was first introduced in ’66; the energy-absorbing steering wheel and column were added in ’67. The black dash is complemented by the Parchment seats, and yes, low down on the center console is that flashy His n’ Hers Hurst shifter.
As an aside, this particular car appears in a number of other Hollywood productions, including a pair of TV shows, Victorious, Car Science, and a brief appearance in one of my favorite recent car flicks, 2011’s Drive.
As to what the car does in the film, I’m a firm believer in the adage that pictures tell a better story than words, so I’ll leave you with the below video and say, see y’all next month!