Maisto Pro RODZ 1965 GTO Page 1

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In 1998, OK; let’s get it out of the way right now. For some of you, slapping the pro-touring theme on the revered 1965 Pontiac GTO is akin to giving the Mona Lisa a nose job. For those purists, nothing but the unadulterated original will do, and that’s why there are dozens of straight-scale die-casts of this American icon ready to satisfy. For others, the harsh reality is that with the GTO now entering its fifth decade, the classic lines are starting to look a little dated. And for a new generation of enthusiasts whose parents weren’t even born when the GTO debuted in ’64, Pontiac’s maiden muscle car probably looks like the slab-sided Buick grandma drives to bingo night. For these last two groups, a few modern variations on a classic automotive theme are just what are needed to turn back the clock on an aging beauty.  

Maisto is probably best known for its scale accuracy of affordable, modern-production vehicles, so the Pro Rodz GTO is a departure on a couple of levels. It isn’t modern (at least not in the conventional sense), and it isn’t strictly scale—by production standards at least. By going off the beaten path with so recognizable a vehicle as the GTO, Maisto has taken a big gamble. Although the result is certainly irreverent, by leaving the GTO’s lines intact, the enterprise does not come off as sacrilegious. The changes make the GTO look more purposeful and athletic—very much in line with the pro-touring philosophy from which the Pro Rodz line takes its lead—but none of the changes looks gratuitous.  

1964 was the year Pontiac perfected the formula for the muscle car, but it took until 1965 for it to get the packaging down. Vertically stacked headlights, a recessed grille and wraparound taillights lent it a more chiseled, less busy look, and this is where Maisto chose to start its Pro Rodz GTO transformation. It’s a good choice, and the only obvious changes are oversize, low-profile wheels and tires, slightly stylized exhaust outlets and some mild badging. The body panels remain unmolested (bravo!), save the very subtle, body-colored rocker extensions that replace the stock chrome and give the car a slightly lower stance. You may also catch a glint off the highly polished chrome roll cage that peeks out from under the hardtop.

This hardtop setup is puzzling, as one tap will tell you it’s made of molded plastic rather than being made of die-cast like the rest of the body. Closer inspection reveals a single sheet of plastic that comprises the windshield (from the apron where the wipers sprout), roof panel and rear window. It’s painted black and silver where appropriate and left clear in the windshield area to simulate glass. It allows a degree of chassis flex which is atypical of Maisto, but my inside sources tell me it was done to facilitate a convertible application, so I’m not going to complain.


Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:24 AM
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