This year, Pontiac's the only GM car offering a three-speed manual transmission with a synchronized low gear as standard equipment. This unit has a cone clutch that lets you shift into first gear whenever you're going 12 mph or less, without chipping or grinding gears. A new, heavy-duty, 11-inch Belleville clutch is standard on all standard-transmissioned cars except the Catalina and Star Chief series. It's optional on these cars.
Following the lead of Tempest last year, the 1965 Pontiac. has the new, lighter, more rigid Salisbury rear axle housing. This reduces unsprung weight and improves ride. The axle housing has steel tubes that are pressed into the differential carrier. The tubes accommodate new rear-wheel bearings. We formerly used a banjo housing with welded-in steel tubes. Our new housing is about four times as rigid as the previous design, letting us use an 8.75-inch ring gear in the rear axle for 1965, compared with a 9.25-inch ring gear in 1964. This housing also seems to be quieter.
Our new differential incorporates a case of pearlitic malleable iron for greater strength; new ring, differential, and side gears; 10-tooth pinions for maximum stress balance and greater strength; and a larger pinion cross-shaft for reduced stress. It's the same basic differential, but it's been beefed up, and greater reliance has been put on gears with shorter teeth.
Pontiac's new ride and handling are so remarkable that we believe they'll be noticed by almost every customer. In developing our new front suspension, we had two objectives: to reduce the scrub radius (offset of the kingpin axis and centerline of the tire at road contact) and to get more softness for fore-and-aft movement in the suspension. We got the latter by changing the suspension geometry slightly.
Complementing our improved ride, we've adopted a bridge-like front end and sheet-metal construction that significantly add to durability and structural stability. Naturally, we're sticking with rear coil springs — some other makers have swung to them this year, too.
Pontiac was the first GM division to adopt a high-performance nylon tire as standard equipment. They mean better stability, they run cooler and give more safety for turnpike driving. Pontiac continues as a leader in tire development. For 1965, we offer an eight-ply-rated nylon for extra-duty service (wagons, hauling, etc.) in 14- and 15-inch sizes.
Brakes have been improved considerably on our cars this year, providing more fade-free stopping under hard application. We did this by increasing the effective lining area of the front brakes 10%, by getting more of the brake into the airstream, by designing a wider, heavier drum with larger fins for better cooling, and by a new wheel design that lets more air flow through the wheel to the brake for better heat dissipation. Also, we've gone with industry practice in adopting a fixed anchor for our front self-adjusters to comply with our new steering knuckle.
Our engineers have redesigned the body rocker panels, with more use of galvanized steel to fight corrosion from road salts, water, and dirt. The ventilated rocker panels, introduced in our big cars in 1963 and in our smaller cars last year, are being continued. They eliminate the stagnant areas by letting fresh water and air clean the rockers periodically.
We've developed a new fuel tank for all Pontiacs except the Safari wagons. Among the improvements are a central filler neck located behind the rear license plate, an increase in capacity to 26.5 gallons, and a tank mounting that lets attendants fill the tank fuller.
For 1965, Pontiac has brought out an all-new two-stage exhaust system that provides more power and less noise. The system consists of a muffler and a resonator. It's standard on all cars except a few Catalinas with the regular-fuel engine and three-speed manual transmission.
In addition to the Tempest changes mentioned before, there are a number of other minor advances for 1965. More convenient and positive door control comes through Tempest's new two-step door stops, Better door control results in less damage to trim and panels when parking in narrow slots.
For the first time, Pontiac now offers an optional electrical heater that warms the engine coolant. This is for areas where temperatures are below freezing most of the winter. The new unit gives fast starts — it can raise the coolant temperature from 0°F to about 50°, if left on overnight. A double unit, also optional, boosts the water temperature from 0° to 90° overnight.
An engine refinement on the Tempest is our newly designed oil pan and oil-pan baffle on all 389-inch GTO engines and all engines with triple two-barrel carburetion. This pan gives a five-quart oil capacity (six quarts with an oil filter change) without excess churning of the oil at high speed. The baffle is directly under the crankshaft.
So you see why we consider 1965 a big year in Pontiac history. From the engineering standpoint, we believe our many improvements will make for even more satisfied customers than we already have. We're proud that MOTOR TREND recognizes these improvements, and we're even more proud that the magazine has honored us with this recognition through the coveted Car of the Year award. /MT