Pandurii Târgu Jiu was founded in August 1962, after the merger of the two big rivals from the town, Flacăra-Unirea Târgu Jiu and CIL Târgu-Jiu. The club entered the fourth division of Romanian football, with a strong objective, to promote immediately in the third division. And the target was reached, Pandurii gaining the promotion to Divizia C in June 1963. Their first game in this division was played on 1 September 1963, against Siderurgistul Hunedoara. Pandurii won by a big margin, 6-0, goals scored by Chițu (12'), Nelu Băloi (35'), Melinte (53', 80') and Vasilescu (83', 85').
In the first years, Pandurii finished constantly in the first half of the standings, so the club decided to attack a promotion to Divizia B. In the 1976-77 season, with a young team and with Titus Ozon as coach, the dream came true. Pandurii dominated the competition, climbed from the first stages on top of the standings and won the promotion to the second division. But this level was a much bigger hat to wear for Pandurii, who relegated the next season back to Divizia C.
The following years, the team changed frequently the division, promoting to Divizia B and relegating after a few years. They played in Divizia B between 1979-1983 then between 1986 and 1991. After a decade in Divizia C, in 2000 the team promoted again in the second league, and in 2004 finished second, behind Sportul Studențesc.
The performance from the last seasons was an incentive for the management who decided to push for the first presence of Pandurii in Divizia A. With Emil Săndoi as coach, and with a young group of players like Tiberiu Lung and Sorin Vintilescu but also with some experienced players like, Florin Popete, Robert Vancea and Romulus Buia, the team won the promotion.
It was difficult to maintain its position in Divizia A, and Pandurii finished their first season in the 15th place, right below the relegation line. But the Romanian Football Federation decided at the end of the season not to give Sportul Studențesc their licence for the following year, and kept instead the first team under the line, Pandurii. With the bullet dodged, the management decided to enforce the team, so the relegation shouldn't be a problem.