Never intended for a dealer or customer, this Zone Car Classic GTO is Extremely Rare

By Christopher R. Phillip

If you are the second or subsequent owner of a classic muscle car, your ride likely falls into one of two broad categories. It could be a dealer-ordered vehicle intended for dealer inventory. Alternatively, it could be a customer special order, which a savvy buyer ordered with the options he wanted … and then waited for the exact vehicle to be built and sent to the ordering dealer for delivery.

There is, however, a much rarer category of muscle car. It’s called the Zone car.

A zone car is a vehicle ordered by a manufacturer’s regional Zone sales office (or by the corporate office) for a particular, in-house purpose—a hopped-up car for a Zone executive to drive to and from work, a vehicle intended for a new car show or a vehicle built with all “the right stuff” to loan to the press for favorable coverage.

Such is the case with the grand-prize 1965 GTO in the current GTO Dream Giveaway brought to you by Ames Performance Engineering.

It wasn’t until after we brought this Tri-Power Goat into the Dream Giveaway Garage and studied a copy of its original billing manifest that we discovered we had a Zone car—the Pontiac Motor Division Portland Zone Office to be precise.

Originally, we concluded that this red-on-white GTO belonged to the second category described above; that a customer who special ordered it.

After all, this GTO has very specific options and all of them are aimed at looks and performance.

In fact, this GTO’s option list is so spot on that several magazine editors have told us that the GTO is exactly—option for option—exactly what they order if they were back in time to 1965.

Our guess is this GTO was a perk for Zone executive, but we wouldn’t be surprised if we learn someday that it was on display at the Portland Auto Show in 1965.

What we don’t have to guess is that this classic GTO is one of the most popular Dream Giveaway sweepstakes ever. Now’s a great time for you to enter to win this GTO—America’s original muscle car. Use the promo code with this article to get your bonus tickets at