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Blueprinted 400 V8: 1973 Pontiac GTO

While the Pontiac GTO was one of the most popular muscle cars of the 1960s, its fortunes dwindled in the 1970s with rising insurance costs and increasing restrictions on emissions output. All of GM’s intermediates were redesigned in 1973, featuring new “Colonnade” styling. They were largely not well-received by the public and GTO sales dropped to under 5,000 units, so the ’73 would end up being a “one-hit wonder”. It returned for one more year as a derivative of the compact Ventura, then disappeared from the portfolio, This GTO has a blueprinted 400 V8 and looks to be in stellar condition. It’s available in Weatherford, Texas, and here on craigslist for $23,900. Pat L comes through again with an interesting tip!

The handwriting for muscle cars was already on the wall in 1972 when Pontiac demoted the GTO from series to option status (it had been a series of its own from 1966-71). In 1973, it was a package for the LeMans and featured a reskinned A-body with “Colonnade” hardtop styling, which eliminated the true hardtop design because of the addition of a roof pillar but retained the frameless door windows. Rear side windows were now of a fixed design. Bumpers out front grew to accommodate 5-mph impacts without damage (Federally mandated).

Except for the Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevy Monte Carlo, the Colonnade intermediates weren’t popular. From a peak of more than 96,000 units, GTO sales fell to 4,800 in 1973, which caused the bean counters to sign the GTO’s death warrant as a mid-size muscle car. Two engines would be available, 400 and 455 cubic inches, detuned to just 230 and 250 hp, respectively. The seller says this GTO is original and its 400 motor has been balanced and blueprinted, sometime before the odometer reached 70,000 miles. It’s paired with a TH-400 automatic transmission.

Documentation will come with the auto to verify its originality, though the seller doesn’t mention what that will include. It’s a well-equipped car where the body, paint, and vinyl top look great, but photos of the interior are limited so we’re not certain if things inside appear to be as nice. The Pontiac has its original Rally Wheels with BFG raised white-letter radial tires and an aftermarket stereo to listen to 1970s hits while you tool around.

Comments

  1. Sam

    Always love the “GOAT” No matter the body style

    Like 1
  2. Rw

    Good looking car.

    Like 16
  3. gbvette62

    I don’t know what it was about these 73-77 Pontiac’s, but it seemed half the guys I knew in the 70’s, had either a LeMans or Grand Am at some point.

    Of my two best friends, one had a green 73 LeMans GT 350, and the other had a white 74 400 Grand Am. I also knew someone with a beautiful blue 73 400 4 speed GTO, another with a silver 73 LeMans GT 350 3 speed floor shift, one with a white 77 Can Am, I worked with a guy who had a really nice dark red 75 4 door 455 Grand Am with Honeycomb wheels, and there were probably a few others I’ve forgotten. Were the 73’s as fast as earlier ones, no, but neither was anything else on the road in 73.

    This may not be same league performance wise as a 69 GTO, but it’s still a nice car, and these handled better than the earlier ones.

    Like 11
  4. DavidH

    Quite often I don’t seem to go along with the rest of the public’s view on certain topics. The colonnade style of this Pontiac being one of them. Yes it is true about the poor horse power rating but if these were popular cars with a lot of folks back then, there shouldn’t be a lot of heartburn over a non-OEM redo of the engine. The body style suits me just fine.

    Like 16
  5. Emel

    Looks very similar to our colonnade ’73 Chevrolet Malibu sans the vinyl roof and the gto grill. Very similar color of burgundy/red as well although the ad says it’s orange.
    KInda strange there’s a pic of the back seat….but not the front one(s), if it had buckets. lol
    Doesn’t say it has the famous swivel buckets we had in the Malibu. Which also was the first car we had with a console shift.

    Like 3
    • W72WW3

      Pontiac did not offer the swivel bucket seats as an option.

      Like 5
      • Allen L

        You are correct!
        Only Chev in the Malibu (I had them) and Monte Carlo, and Olds, in the Cutlass had the swivel buckets in the Colonnade era two doors.

        Like 2
      • Tom j

        Wouldn’t know because there’s only pictures of the upper half of the back seat. Yeah that’s smart

        Like 2
  6. PaulG

    I understand the big changes that were inevitable but this is a nice car that fit in with the times.
    And Russ, the GTO came back in 04, 05, and 06 built in Australia by Holden. Had an 05 that was close to stock, and a built 06. Having owned many 60’s muscle cars none were a match for these LS-2 powered cars.

    Like 10
    • 455RAIV

      A 69 RA IV GTO Would give it a run – one recently ran a 11.79 @ 114 mph in Pure stock vs a 69 427 ZLI Camaro which ran a 12.02 @ 114 mph both were running factory style street tires :)

      Like 2
      • Desert Rat

        This was by far the best looking of the Colonnade style. Not near as good looking as a 69 with hidden head lights, which just might be the best looking muscle car of all time still, I do like this gto.

  7. Jerry Bramlett

    I like the ’73 GTO styling except for the monster bumpers. But… putting any vinyl top on this body shape is just wrong.

    The missing a.c. compressor, unspecified rust history, and mystery interior condition make this ad a loser. I can’t imagine anyone paying almost $24,000 for a ’73 in this condition.

    Like 7
    • Emel

      Some of the older Judge GTO’s even had vinyl roofs. A buddy of mine had a 1971 green Judge with a white vinyl roof. yea ikr. lol

      Like 2
  8. Shuttle Guy

    Today it looks Great! But I understand the hate back then also.

    Like 2
  9. MOPAR Joe

    They were ugly back in the day and nothing has changed

  10. John Oliveri

    I had a 73 Luxury Lemans, and it’s been my favorite car, my entire life, I took off the skirts, put wheel opening molding, car was black, w a full white top and interior, every option available, spokes and 1.5 inch whitewalls, car was outstanding, miss it every day

    Like 3
  11. Desert Rat

    This was by far the best looking of the Colonnade style. Not near as good looking as a 69 with hidden head lights, which just might be the best looking muscle car of all time still, I do like this gto.

  12. mark mastrangelo

    I have owned many cars and muscle cars over the last 50 years and currently own a 73 GTO in silver with a black interior. This car gets more attention at traffic lights, on the road and at car shows than any other car I’ve ever owned.

    Like 2

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