The most famous 1965 Pontiac was the GTO.
‘The mid-sized rocket from Pontiac was a beast on the street and it garnered a few nicknames along the way.’
The most famous and enduring name was ‘Goat’.
The name was a slangy variation on the GTO label and was the one that survived the test of time.
Ad agencies had another nickname in mind for the GTO in 1965. They decided to swim upstream and call it a Tiger in their marketing scheme. The name was likely an association with Tiger Paw tires on the cars, along with the powerful predator image associated with a tiger.
The mid-60s ads featured live tigers in GTOs and the Madison Avenue boys though they had a home run with their car/tiger combination. People remember the tigers in the GTO ads, but they still called them Goats.
We spotted a full-sized 1965 Pontiac Parisienne convertible at a show and noticed a couple of stuffed toy tigers lounging on the car. One of the tigers was likely close to a real tiger in size and looked like it belonged on the Poncho’s trunk.
Purists would likely think otherwise and would recite details about the differences between a GTO and a full sized Parisienne built only in Canada. The US-built equivalent would be the Catalina in 1965 and it also never used a tiger in its ads.
None of these details were lost on the owner of the 1965 Parisienne convertible and toy tigers. Denis Petit was very familiar with the GTO/tiger advertising campaign from the 60s, but his tigers were a personal addition to his Pontiac for a different reason.
He found the smaller tiger after someone threw it away and decided to give it a new home. The giant tiger was given to him by a guy who won it at a carnival and likely ran out of good reasons to keep it after he lugged the giant stuffed toy home.
The big cats look pretty comfortable sitting on the car and are unconcerned about being thrown in the trunk for the ride to and from car shows since they are stuffed toys and not real cats. Live tigers would not enjoy a trunk ride and would react accordingly when the trunk is opened.
The ride in the big Poncho is one of the reasons Denis likes to drive his Parisienne. In his words, “it rides really nice- almost as nice as a Caddy-kind of floats over everything”. Denis has driven the car on long trips and has never had a problem.
The car has a 350 engine with a 350 turbo transmission and they have been a bullet-proof combination on the road for Denis.
Denis needed a little luck after his last car. He owned a 1964 Pontiac Parisienne and would likely still own it if some clown hadn’t run a red light and wiped out the front end of his Poncho. The act of sheer driving stupidity took place about 6 years ago while Denis was on his way to a show.
It was clear that Denis still misses his 1964 Pontiac, but his ’65 Pontiac is a very good replacement for the ’64.
‘Throw in the tigers’ cool factor and it becomes an excellent replacement.’
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