1965: The birth of Petoskeys muscle car.
1965 was a big year for Petoskey Motors. A vast number of models were introduced, some which would become legendary with the company.
One of the first notable changes was an improved Meteor.
In addition to cosmetic changes, the 432 Stinger boasted an increase to 400 horsepower. This considerable jump in power was well noticed and helped bolster sales of the flagship sports car of the company.
The next model by Petoskey was designed to offer a sport package to a lower income demographic. Thus the Montauk was born.
The base model used the 4 barrel 301 introduced a year earlier mated to a three speed slushbox. The car proved to be a hit with the public, offering an inexpensive sporty car. However, the prized option was the RTX package.
Using the same 432 SHO engine found in the Meteor, the Montauk RTX proved to be a vicious contender. The only problem was the considerable jump in price from the base model to the RTX. More than double to be precise. Despite that, it still offered performance while remaining cheaper than the Meteor.
The next vehicle was a replacement for the poorly selling Cortino. This model had favorable versatility and was the new budget model for Petoskey Motors, the Rebel.
One of the more notable differences was the more widespread use of automatic transmissions, as costs started to come down they gradually became more mainstream in the Petoskey lineup.
In addition to the base sedan, a station wagon was also available.
The increased power of the four barrel 301 was made available for a police interceptor version.
The smaller design of the Cortino and Rebel proved popular among police forces in major cities due to the ease of navigation. However, highway pursuit was not a strong point in most cases.
A two door sport model was available using the same 301 mated to a four speed manual.
However, like the Montauk, an RTX option was available as well.
The more powerful RTX proved a popular sell, plus it had the advantage of being slightly cheaper than the Montauk. While not as famous as its better known cousin, the Rebel is still a sought after muscle car to this day.
The Ventnor branch was also busy for the 1965 model year offering the replacement for the aging Sovereign, the Priam.
The Priam featured an all new hydro-pneumatic suspension for improved comfort. The design proved exceptionally popular among wealthy ranchers and men who wear purple suits.
Ventnor is not only the luxury branch of Petoskey Motors, but often the testbed for new ideas as well, like the front-wheel drive Statesman.
The 432 proved too large to fit in a transverse configuration so a smaller 402 V8 was built. Despite the smaller displacement, the 402 actually produced 15 more horsepower than the 432 in the Statesmans bigger brother, the Priam.
Not ready for a rest yet, Ventnor created another version of the 402 for a special project. A six pack carburetor setup offered up 401 horsepower for this new model which brought Ventnor into the supercar market.
This beautiful car proved to be among the fastest in the world. A remarkable achievement especially considering how it cost a fraction of the Speedster built twenty years prior.
In 1967 the Romero was released.
The Romero used the same 432 V8 found in the Stag pickup, though it had been updated to be slightly more efficient. The Romero filled the gap in the full size market that Petoskey had been missing since discontinuing the Rapier in 1964.
Described as having a helipad for a deck lid and a hangar for a trunk, the massive car was extremely popular for its practical applications.
The SE trim was extremely popular as it was a more comfort oriented variant. Often called the "Poor mans Ventnor"
A version was released using the 432 SHO engine for the police.
This version was far superior to the Cortino or Rebel when it came to highway pursuit.
In 1969, the company released no new models, but it did offer a number of revisions to existing designs.
The 432 SHO was improved to produce 426 horsepower on tap. This was used in both the Montauk and Rebel RTX models.
In addition, a special version of the Montauk was released with aerodynamic modifications.
This remains the single rarest variant of the Montauk with examples today easily fetching six figures.
The Meteor IX-4 featured the same engine but modified with different headers as the standard ones did not fit the more compact design.
In addition to the added power, the IX-4 featured a five speed transmission, making it the second Petoskey vehicle to use one after the Bambino.
Finally, the 1969 Ventnor Statesman was equipped with a revised 402 under the hood.
The '69 Statesman is the first vehicle by Petoskey Motors to use fuel injection. Advertisements for Ventnor from then on would frequently point their cars out as some of the most technologically sophisticated vehicles on the planet.
Petoskey Motors had a few hiccups through the 1960s but overall the company did very well. What's in store for the 1970s? Only time will tell.