389 Tri-Power/4-Speed: 1965 Pontiac GTO

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There are many reasons why someone will spend their hard-earned cash on a classic car. Some will be ignited by passion, while others will be drawn by investment potential. The latter is a more risky approach because the market is sometimes unpredictable. Take the 1965 Pontiac GTO as a perfect example. Values have dropped over the past year, but with the situation stabilizing, there is a good chance they will climb once again. That could make now the ideal time to pounce on a good one to park in your garage. Our feature car ticks that box and its cause is helped by the Tri-Power V8 occupying its engine bay. The GTO presents superbly, and you could join the bidding war to take this baby home.

When our feature car rolled off the line, the GTO was still a year away from receiving standalone model status. Therefore, the GTO remained an options package on the existing LeMans range and is considered by many to be the first American muscle car. This Nightwatch Blue example spent its life in California, which is excellent news for potential buyers. The dry climate preserved its steel, and the underside shots confirm that this beauty is rust-free. The seller has been its custodian for twenty years, admitting they recently revived it after five years of inactivity. Its hibernation has done no harm, with the paint shining nicely and the panels appearing as straight as an arrow. The seller doesn’t mention prior repairs or restoration, but they describe the Pontiac as a tidy driver. There are minor chips and marks, although there are no significant issues or problems. The sparkling trim contrasts the dark paint shade, and the glass is crystal clear.

GTO buyers in 1965 received the 389ci V8 as the default powerplant, with the “entry-level” motor delivering 335hp and 431 ft/lbs of torque. Buyers could also select the optional Tri-Power setup, which raised power to 360hp. That is what appears to occupy this engine bay at first glance, but all is not as it seems. The GTO retains its numbers-matching V8, four-speed manual transmission, and Safe-T-Track rear end. However, the Tri-Power setup isn’t original to this car. It is unclear when the change occurred or if the seller retains the factory components, but those questions are worth asking if potential buyers have one eye on the car’s future value. This GTO required attention following five years of inactivity, and the seller certainly splashed their cash on the process. They rebuilt the carburetor, replaced the clutch, and machined the flywheel. The brakes and fuel system received new lines, and the seller bolted on a new exhaust system, water pump, and fuel pump. The process didn’t end there because the suspension and steering systems feature new shocks, bushes, and other components. The Tri-Power system isn’t the only non-original item because the seller performed a front disc brake upgrade, which is a wise modification when a car possesses the performance potential of this GTO. This classic is a turnkey proposition where the winning bidder could fly in and drive it home.

The first owner wasn’t afraid to spend money creating the muscle car of their dreams. They didn’t limit their cash splash to items like power assistance for the steering and brakes because the interior features a few welcome creature comforts. These include air conditioning, a tilt wheel, and an AM/FM radio with the optional “Verbra-Phonic” rear speaker. The carpet might be relatively new, but the remaining Dark Blue vinyl trim and upholstery appear original. The seats feature typical age stretching but no significant wear or holes. The dash and console are in good order, and part of the revival process included rebuilding the air conditioning system and conversion to R134a refrigerant. This interior isn’t perfect, but it is comfortably acceptable for a survivor-grade classic.

Values for the 1965 Pontiac GTO dropped during the past year, but the situation has stabilized. This could indicate that an increase is on the horizon, which is good news for those considering this car’s investment potential. However, that thought often isn’t the priority for many enthusiasts as they seek the classic of their dreams. Eighteen bids have been submitted since the seller listed the GTO here on eBay in Thousand Oaks, California. That suggests people like what they see, and with the price sitting at $40,000, there could be some way to go before the hammer falls. Are you tempted to throw your hat into the ring? I wish you luck if you do.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Stan

    No mention of rear gear ratio. But who cares lol, this Goat 🐐 will move out.
    Love em. 🏁

    Like 3
    • 3Deuces

      The standard differential ratio with factory A/C was 3.23:1

      Like 3
  2. Marshall

    Never buy a car without looking in person. Pic⁷tures will not show flaws not visible. If it checks out then buy it.

    Like 3
  3. Marshall

    After looking I see former frame rot patched up.

    Like 3
  4. Mark Zello

    My dad bought a new silver 64 HT with factory air and a 4 speed, took my drivers test in it and the state tropper ask more questions about the car than my driving abilities. One of the first on the streets of Dallas, pretty lucky 14 year old kid.

    Like 6
  5. 19sixty5Member

    Tilt steering, wood wheel, power bucket seat, vacuum gauge,Rally l’s, Tri-Power, AC, AM/FM, reverb, exhaust splitters… well optioned car

    Like 1

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