California Garage Gold! 1969 Pontiac GTO Convertible

Seeing this “before” picture of a California garage, I imagine the conversation… “Fred! Why don’t you get rid of that thing in the garage under the Christmas decorations?” “My old GTO? Never!  I’m going to fix that up some day!” Luckily this particular 1969 Pontiac GTO convertible in Los Angeles, California purportedly enjoyed indoor storage for at least the last 20 years, dodging the elements that can turn that “someday” restoration into a rusty stain on your lawn when your former beauty sits outside too long. Listed here on eBay, with No Reserve, this “Goat” will sell, as evidenced by 70+ bids eclipsing the $10,000 mark.

This drop-top Pontiac clearly sat in the California sun for a good portion of its life, judging by the faded Matador Red paint and plastic and a cracked dashboard. As with any convertible the low spots should be checked for rain water damage. Look at that chrome, though; not bad! A gear-head friend of mine had a ’67 Mercury Cougar shipped from California to Virginia and called that decision “the best $1000 I ever spent,” due to the car’s solid dry metal… nearly perfect in every way. You can open and close the Cougar’s doors with one finger, and hopefully this GTO will prove equally solid.

Tip your hat to the seller, who provides plenty of pictures including some from underneath. Furthermore he or she took the time to replace the starter that went bad in the ’80s and got the car running “around a few blocks.” That minimal effort answers questions usually left to the buyer with an “as-is” sale. Dead-beat flippers hide behind their lack of knowledge about a vehicle, preferring to sell you a sack of question marks along with the vehicle. The less they know about the car the better they can dodge questions.

There is no “big block” Pontiac’s V8 from this era; the 350, 400, and later 455 share a block and look nearly identical externally. The Body Tag Decoder at ultimategto.com decrypts this as an authentic Matador Red GTO built in Baltimore, Maryland. The 400 cid V8, presumably the GTO’s standard 350 HP 400 (one of nine 400 cid GTO engines for 1969) and other features include automatic transmission, air conditioning, and power steering, and (interestingly) manual brakes. Personally I couldn’t live with the faded paint, but I might vote for sorting out mechanical and safety items, a paint job, and minimal cosmetic updates needed to drive the car a while before rendering it an untouchable car for weekends only. What would you do with this California classic?

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    I’m glad you featured this car. You have shown this sellers cars on multiple occasions and you are right. His auctions include good pictures and descriptions plus they are always, no reserve. Most flippers could learn a thing or two from this guy.

    He has a nose for finding good cars, that should be a lesson for anyone that thinks they aren’t out there anymore.

    Steve R

  2. ccrvtt

    As long as the issues are known this looks like a great find. John DeLorean took a load of grief for calling his creation a “GTO”, mostly from people who worshipped the hundred, er 39, that were built by St. Enzo. I’d venture that far more people identify these iconic letters with the granddaddy of modern muscle cars.

    All that said, this is a nice example. It will go for market value and will most likely end up being spectacular. It would be nice to see what becomes of it.

  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    I agree with Steve R, this is a great find.

    Blue plate looks like it might have been sold after the ’70s were introduced – a demonstrator, perhaps?

    Hope it finds a good home.

    • Steve R

      DMV offices started running out of passenger car black plates during the 1969 model year, truck black plates ran out sometime during 1970. This may or may not have been sold new in California, I think the data plate shows a production date of October 1968, but it was definitely here early in its life. If someone can read the rear license plate frame that might give a clue as to where is was originally sold.

      Steve R

      • Patrick S newport pagnell Staff

        Not sure what dealer gave out these frames…”Honk if you’re Horny”

      • Beatnik Bedouin

        That’s why I suggested it might have been a ‘demonstrator’, which could have been a dealer’s family’s car, running on ‘DLR’ black plates until it was sold.

        I friend of mine in SoCal bought a ’70 Camaro SS350 in ’71 that was used as such…

      • Chuck Simons

        Or the black plates were stolen. In Cali, if you lose one plate, you have to get two new ones (blue were the replacement and then white). One for the front…one for the back. Function over style is the rule in Cali.

  4. PatrickM

    Well, at least he got it to the curb!!!

  5. Madmatt

    That paint may color sand,and buff up a bit?.🤔. worth a try,
    De-grease and pressure wash the engine compartment….,
    Would make a huge difference in the looks of it..😍..!
    Strange that it had manual brakes..?,that is why this is rare..lol…!
    A really nice solid original car…..great find….😎

  6. Mike

    Oh yes , the GTO made famous in my opinion in the latter years with the tri-carb 389 and my favorite the 69 carrying of course the 400. Although, some prefer the convertible my taste is the hard top. For those reading my thoughts since privaledged using this platform you may have remembered giving my statement I was a member of Chevys Inc., another car club of several others was Royal GTO’s, these guys in there goats cruising in line down Van Nuys Blvd., on club night looking for sheep to pick up made for an impressive sight. Its not just the chevy that sparks memory for me.

  7. Superdessucke

    Over 10 grand for a GTO with the base motor and automatic that needs everything??? The barn find thing, with all due respect to the title of our favorite old car website, has gone completely insane.

    • Steve R

      What do you consider to be a reasonable price for a 69 GTO convertible that seems to be rust free, is complete plus runs and drives?

      Steve R

      Like 1
  8. JW

    Had a 70 gold GTO with the 400 / Auto and it was a nice cruiser but I prefer the 65 to 67’s. I do like the 68 & 69’s better than the 70’s because of the front bumper treatment. I’m no convertible fan but I like this goat.

  9. Bultaco

    I had a ’69 GTO vert in the early 80s, much like this one except no a/c and mine had power disc brakes. Al low speeds, it would light the (stock size) rear tires at half throttle with an automatic. This one would be perfect with disc brakes added. The ’69 was a sweet spot for GTOs. They had the coke bottle styling but no vent wondows like the ’68. Much cleaner look. Hope this one gets returned to the road soon.

  10. Classic Steel

    I would put the new top on it after a sand and paint and touch up on body where needed dings etc.

    Install dash pad and seat covers
    Then fix headlights to pop up and down

    Don’t hate me but find a his and her auto shifter for console after a shift kit installed 👀🤠✅

    Maybe find an old monkees front liscense plate to add 🤠

    My buddy had a gold 68 in HS with four speed and slotted wheels.

    I found and junked in 1979 a perfect green one with a bad head gasket and hidden headlights and four speed for above buddy who lost control of his and smashed front end ☹️
    Then parted it out

    • Patrick S newport pagnell Staff

      This one doesn’t have the optional hideaway headlights. This is the base setup.

  11. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Stolen radio put it out of commision 20 years ago ?

  12. RayZ

    I had a 64 & 74 a long time ago. From the 68-72 era I think the 1970 looked the best. I wonder what’s hidden under the Christmas tree?

  13. DR Member

    Todd, there were not 9 engines in the GTO line-up for 1969. There were four: the standard 400 4bbl 350 horse, an optional “Economy” 400 2bbl., the L74 Ram Air III 400-366 horse and the L67 Ram Air IV 400-370 horse. Just because GM used different suffix codes stamped into the front of the block to differentiate transmission usage behind those engines doesn’t mean the engines changed. They did not. Automatics sometimes necessitated a camshaft change (Ram Air III) but that’s it – the engine RPO itself was the same.

    • BOP Guy Member

      The YT stamping means it’s a 400ci 330hp four barrel. Not the top dog for that year, but still enough to enjoy. I’d try to bring that paint back to life. Interesting that it came from the Maryland plant and not the Fremont CA facility. Personally, I like the 64-66 GTO’s the best. I was never crazy about this body style. But what a cool find ! We’ll probably see it at Barrett Jackson a year from now for an outrageous price! 💰

  14. JimmyJ

    All car auctions should be “no reserve” these high reserves are a waste of Ebay space.

  15. 123pugsy

    It’s in excellent condition and someone posts the price is too high?

    Really?

  16. 421 Poncho!

    The General’s ’68-’69 A-body style was awesome IMHO … here’s a pic of my unmolested highly optioned ’68 rag which has only received a respray and a set of repro bias ply redline tires (I’m the 2nd Owner). Despite my high-displacement “handle”, this one’s equipped with a numbers matching base 400 churning out 350 ponies.

    • Madmatt

      Hey 421 poncho..😎. ,that is one sweet goat…!😋
      Really well done…..very nice..!…😍 Cheers..!

    • 69goat

      What a great looking car it’s absolutely beautiful. You must be very proud of it and I know you’re having fun driving it. The wheels are they rally I? In all these years I I think I’ve only seen rally I Wheels once or twice in person. I’m definitely used to seeing the rally II. Beautiful car I’m a big fan.

  17. 69goat

    I love these cars! Got mine about 1975 I still have it it’s it’s in my garage waiting for me to restore it. It’s had a very rough life. This car was one of 241 built. Ram Air 3 400, 390 rear end a 4-speed Muncie with a first gear that allowed me to hang for a long time before hitting second. It worked out great with the 390 rear end. It had a tremendous controllable launch off the line. Unfortunately it no longer has all the original components in it. I still have the ram air 3 exhaust manifolds, intake and Quadrajet and other miscellaneous Ram Air 3 parts. The block it was cracked in the water jacket when I got it and I still have the transmission in pieces because I blew it up and then I blew the rear end and it has a 355 in it right now. I loved having the disc brakes they sure helped when I was young and dumb and racing around town. the car was vandalized and as a result of the vandalism and my situation at the time the car suffered a lot of water damage and rot damage to the floors I didn’t have a garage at the time to put it in tried to keep it covered up but that didn’t work real well it’s now been sitting in my garage for 25 years when I moved South. I hope to start working on it soon and take my time to bring it back as close to stock as I can and drive it again it was the most fun car I ever owned. I sure hope someone gets a good deal on this ebay listing and gives it a New Life it doesn’t seem to need a tremendous amount of work and I guarantee it’s a fun ride.

    • DR Member

      Sounds like a very cool car @69goat – is it in the Ram Air Registry? What color combo is it? Today’s cast iron welding techniques can work miracles on old cracked blocks if you still have it – and that sounds like a minor crack. I’ve seen windowed blocks fully repaired, almost without a trace.

      • 69goat

        Unfortunately the block is gone it was cracked inside a cylinder and it probably was minor because when you first started it it was fine but after it heated up it would leak into the cylinder and steam out of the exhaust. Shortly after I got the car I made some big mistakes I was 16 or 17 years old when I got it and back then you could buy a car for Parts with a running engine anywhere from $50 up. So I took the heads and the rest of the top and put it on another block. I think I still have the original Ram Air 3 Cam and I might even have a ram air 4 cam around somewhere but if I do I’m sure they’re not usable at this point. It currently has a crane Fireball cam with 10 k lifters and the ram air 3 heads and I have a dual Carter AFB assembly on it. The original color is gold and at one time I was going to paint it either green or black but I never did so now at 60 years old I’m a little smarter and when I do the car I will keep it the original color. It has a black interior with a bench seat and black convertible top. I do have an original 69 GTO 400 complete sitting on a dolly I think it may be maybe a base model I honestly don’t remember the code it has. I also have a tri power setup sitting in the trunk it’s the setup with the smaller center carburetor so I don’t remember what year if that was 64 or 65 the newer one I believe had a larger Center carburetor. I also have many many parts including interior engine and body parts I’ve been carrying the stuff around for about 40 years. I hope to get started on a serious restoration by the end of this year. Wish me luck I’m going to need it. I will try to take pictures and post them from beginning to end.

  18. Maynard Reed,Jr

    The 455 pontiac only looks the same as the 350 and 400. Inside is different. Of course the bore and stroke are bigger but the main bearing journals are a quarter inch bigger as well along with the 421 and 428 Pontiac engines.

    • DR Member

      Yeah, try telling a 455 Pontiac owner he doesn’t have a Big Block. Good luck with that – and your dental bill.

      • 69goat

        I’m a Pontiac owner and it really irritates me when people ask you about your car and you tell them it has a 400 and the first thing out of their mouth is oh you have a big block! And if you try to explain and some people just don’t get it. Now it has been many years so I’m not sure of the accuracy of this but I think the 326 the 389 and the 421 were the same block and then the 350, 400, 428 and 455 where the same block?

  19. moosie Craig M. Bryda

    Buff the paint. New top refresh the interior as needed. Rallye II wheels front disc brakes and cruise cruise cruise for some low mileage pit woofies

  20. George

    69 goat- Sounds like you have a great start with all your parts. I’M older than you and still have a few cars to do best of luck with your project.

  21. Charlie 1

    I think the best body styles of the 64-67 are best for the goat ! had a buddy in
    High school who had a 67 with the Ram air IV with the 400/335HP engine with
    The turbo 400 trans, had the 10 bolt non-posi rear end not sure of the axle ratio
    But i want to sat 2:88,s as the car was a real dog !! only running a 15.89@87
    At Carlsbad Raceway in 1982, we actually changed out the motor to a 389 tripower out of a 65 GTO and that was rated at 360HP but there really wasnt
    Any noticeable improvement, went to a 455 after high school but lost touch with him the car was gorgeous it just wasent that fast

    • JW

      @Charlie… With those rearend gears it wasn’t going to get much faster no matter the motor size.

  22. Pete

    It sold for 22K, I would have been cool with getting it for about 15K then throwing another 10K at it to freshen it up. Pity I can’t buy all the cool cars listed here.

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