California Survivor: 1964 Pontiac GTO 4 Speed

It is not often we find a GTO in original condition, less often we find a first-year California preserved car. This car is very interesting, it’s a relatively low spec GTO with what appears to be original paint, albeit worn. This model GTO was an early contender in the emerging muscle car market that made its mark in automotive history. Documentation including original California Black plates, window sticker, and Ident-O-plate are all there to back up originality claims. Check it out here on eBay in La Habra, CA with bidding up to $25,950 at the time of writing. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Steel for the tip!

For ’64 and ’65, the GTO was an option package on the Lemans. In those model years, the car is technically a Lemans or Lemans Sport with the optional GTO package. In 1966 the GTO became its own model. I personally learned this the hard way when I passed up a good deal on a ’65 GTO after it came up as a Lemans Sport on the Title. I assumed it was a clone when if fact it was probably the real deal. This car has good documentation making it easy to verify, it was originally sold in La Crescenta, CA, and has the Pontiac Ident-O-Plate with the purchaser’s name. The Silvermist Gray paint is showing a lot of wear, I’m not sure if the red is primer showing through or if it’s been primed on spots.

It’s amazing the window sticker has survived all these years, it goes to show the level of care the car has seen. Optional equipment in addition to the GTO package includes a 4 Speed M20 wide-ratio transmission, power steering, 3.23 ratio rear axle, and redline tires. The owner’s manual is still with the car and it comes with documentation from the Pontiac Historical Society.

The interior looks amazing and correct with the exception of aftermarket gauges. The 4-speed shifter looks right at home sticking up through the center console. The instrument panel does not have a tach. which was optional, it should be on the far right of the gauge panel where it appears to have a blank. 20,700 miles are what is listed in the vehicle information but the description does not elaborate anything about mileage, perhaps it is not confirmed.

Under the hood, the 389 retains its chrome valve covers and air cleaner as part of the GTO package. This engine should have a Carter AFB 4V carb making it produce 325 HP, very respectable for 1964, and should be a blast to drive with the 4 speed. Recent work includes a new clutch and exhaust system, the car runs and drives but is not perfect with some leaks noted and probably some other maintenance items needed. If I owned it I would leave the paint and interior alone and concentrate on the brakes and suspension as well as giving the 389 whatever is needed to run like new.

 

 

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Comments

  1. A-Body Fan

    The ad is very misleading, it exclaims right from the start in bold type:

    “ALL ORIGINAL SURIVIVOR!”

    including the Protect-o-Plate and PHS, the seller fails to mention the engine DOESN’T MATCH the Protect-o-Plate and is a replacement.This is a fact.

    As a Pontiac collector and hobbyist that information is critical and should be disclosed equally in bold type.

    Some trusting purchaser is going to burned by over paying for a GTO that doesn’t have a GTO engine.

    Like 17
    • Nick P

      I too am a Pontiac collector and hobbyist, but still try to learn new things every day. Please tell me how you can tell the engine is not original. It is the wrong color. The listing only shows the casting number and date, which seem to be fine. I didn’t see where he showed us a suffix code. This car should be a 78xw which is verified on the protect o plate. Please tell me what you are seeing that I’m not. Thank you.

      Like 5
      • A-body Fan

        Nick, you’re answering some of your own questions. The owner only shows casting number and date, that is insignificant when you have the Protection Plate.
        He doesn’t show the prefix. If you press him he’ll send you a picture of the stamping of the generic 389 installed. I have no issue with any car if it’s disclosed properly. This one is not and has been the subject on threads of antique forums.

        Like 8
  2. Gaspumpchas

    Yea A Body, good points made! Having said that, this is an amazng find and seems like its never been butchered up. As always, caveat Emptor- know what you are buying, if the fact that the mill isnt original really doesnt bother you, go for it. Look it over good. FWIW, I’d slap a set of Torq-thrust wheels on it, square away the mechanicals and run the b@lls off it! An unmolested early muscle car like this is a thing of beauty to this ol grey hair! Stay safe and Happy motoring!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 9
    • A-Body Fan

      GPC, it’s a car that can be easily loved and enjoyed but more so if purchased with all the critical information upfront.

      I wouldn’t want that to happen to me and at the least I would install a 1964 GTO-389.

      Thanks for responding,
      A-B.F.

      Like 6
      • rte66

        I did contact the seller with the phone number in the ad. Seem to be totally upfront about the block and the vehicle history. Still a great find – would be hard-pressed to find another like it. Personally I think it’s left in its current condition, I wouldn’t touch a thing.

        Like 4
      • A-body Fan

        The seller is upfront on the phone now because this car has been discussed on antique car forums and it’s none GTO 389. It’s been for sale on and off for many months.

        Like 9
      • LarryS Member

        Quick question, just for education purposes. The block code shown is 9773155 and in the engine codes listing on the Pontiac Power Net it shows that the ’64 GTO with the 325hp engine and a 4-speed had that block code. So how can you tell this is not a ’64 GTO engine? I understand that the protection plate may indicate it is not the original engine.

        Like 2
      • A-Body Fan

        Hi LarryS, 9773155 is the block part number. The casting on this engine 27P and is a typical full size car (Bonneville) 389 with an automatic transmission.

        The stamping for a manual 4 bbl. transmission GTO is 78X.

        My issue is the deceiving ad copy, not the car. Everyone’s taste varies but let the buyers be aware of significant issues like not having the correct engine instead of “All Original Survivor!” That’s a value changer. Thanks

        Like 12
      • LarryS Member

        A-B-F. Thanks. Didn’t know all that. Having a 389 from a Bonneville with an automatic could certainly provide a different experience than the original engine.

        Like 7
      • Mountainwoodie

        This is not arguing about how many angels would fit on the head of a pin. Its pretty clear to any sentient half honest person, that if you’re selling a early GTO and you represent it as original you should know what block is in it. If you know its the incorrect block. ie. it didnt come in the car when it was sold in 1964, you should so state. Sins of omission are the same as sins of commission. Man, our standards of honesty have really slipped.

        Like 4
  3. Troy s

    Torque thrusts, glasspacks, tank of high test and early rock`rock’n’roll music outta the radio. Now we’re ready steady go in our GTO! Ha,,, I don’t know nothing about those days really. But I know this cars very existence started a trend of followers from every other brand eventually, just like the Mustang caused quite a stir.
    Nice old poncho here that would be a blast to cruise around in.

    Like 7
    • Rj

      AM Radio, Radio.

      Like 1
  4. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    This is an awesome ’64 Goat find. It will cost money just to keep it original. Still, if were going to spend that kind of money on a ’64, I would keep looking and find one equipped with the factory Rally Cluster instruments and a limited-slip rear axle documented by the PHS. Since the ’64 GTO is considered by many to be the first muscle car, not having those factory options makes this GTO a bit of an odd duck IMO. The ultimate acquisition would be a documented Royal Bobcat tri-power ’64, but those are rare and few and far between. If any members or lookers know how to rotate my picture please let me know. I’m using a 2016 Macbook Air and don’t see a rotation option. I asked the Admins.

    Like 3
    • Beenthere

      The window sticker says it has a g80 differential. It’s a few down from first option. Think it was 37$ and some change

      Like 1
  5. Randy Cooper

    In 1997 I purchased a one family owner ‘64 GTO from the sister of the original owner who lost his life in Vietnam.
    She is a local black plate California car.
    She is matching numbers and came with the protect-o-plate showing the GTO option.
    Besides the GTO option, she is equipped with a 4 speed, console, in dash tach, verb-a-phonic rear speaker, wood wheel, limited slip rear axel, Tri-power.
    I restored her in honor of her original owner.
    She is still one of the stars of my vintage American car collection.
    BTW, I am still in touch with the lady that I purchased her from.
    She is not for sale, lol.

    Like 7
    • Gaspumpchas

      Great story, Randy, thanks for sharing. Sorry to say that scenario replayed itself many times after a war. Johnm, thanks for your opinion on the non original mill in the 64 goat. Being a crusty ol grey hair I often wonder how much value is placed on a non matching mill, especially on one this nice, unmolested and original. Hard to find in this condition. if any of you other fine folks would like to voice your opinion on the value of matching numbers on a car like this goat, I’d sure like to hear it! If you wanna weigh in on date coding also, bring it on! Good luck and stay safe.
      Cheers
      GPC

      Like 2
      • John Oliveri

        Honestly, if I bought a 67 that didn’t have the original 400, my fantasy Goat is a 428 equipped one, like many people did back in the day, even a magazine article test mule, supposedly had a 428 in it, with the 400 automatic

        Like 1
    • A-Body Fan

      Appreciate the back story Randy,
      I have seen this scenario many times at local car cruises and shows. Many Vietnam Veterans not making it home and there, their car sit’s 50 plus years later. It hurts every time I see it but at least a part of them is still being admired and enjoyed.
      18 year olds then would have been 70 year olds now.

      Like 4
      • Randy Cooper

        I have a poster board with all of his information and pictures.
        There is an engraved plate that reads “made especially for Jerry Joe Allen” the date he was born and passed

        Like 6
  6. Goatsnvairs

    Heater core bypassed…..

    Like 1
    • Gaspumpchas

      hey Goatsnvairs I like the double entrande of the ‘vair and the heater core. Had to look again to see which car it was. I’ve never seen a corvair with the heater core bypassed.
      Cheers
      GPC

      • Goatsnvairs

        I’ve got them both. A 1967 GTO and a 1965 Corvair Corsa turbo. I guess a bypassed heater core in the Corsa would be disconnecting the door thermostats!

        Like 1
  7. John Oliveri

    If I was buying a GOAT I’d want a 67, cause of the 400 motor, and the 3 speed turbo 400 transmission, the 389 and the 2 speed combo isn’t my favorite, the 4 speed is always better, but I’d want a loaded 67 w a/c and power windows, factory 8 track am/fm

    Like 2
    • Randy Cooper

      I was offered the chance to buy a one owner, highly optioned’66.
      She had a 455 and a turbo-200 (2speed).
      She had, virtually, every option offered.
      Power everything, including windows, reclining driver’s seat, antenna, am/fm, a/c, rally l rims, reverb, wood wheel, etc.
      I bought a date coded’66 389/4 bbl to rebuild and install.
      However, I had a turbo-350 installed with a ‘67 dual gate
      I still have the ‘66 motor, but sold the goat.

      Like 1
      • John Oliveri

        Yeah that’s why I like the 67 better, the 400/400 combo equals a better car

        Like 2
  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    The maln thing that I noticed is the wide ratio transmission, most had a close ratio with the 4 speed. This car was probably not purchased for drag strip racing, but rather as a daily driver and perhaps a few red light races. Anyway that’s my thoughts. For me the lack of original engine has little impact except in purchase price.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Correct – AND it comes up for sale again…….seems it was only a short few months ago and last year as well….

    Like 2
  10. Rj

    AM Radio, Radio.

  11. Rj

    I would restore this all the way. I would option the car to the max keep and restore everything that’s been removed. I would install factory A/C, tach, power windows and so on. I would source two engines, first a correct year GTO 389. Second would be a mild build 428 so I had enough power to run the A/C. Bolted up to that 428 would be a Tremic 5 or 6 speed overdrive, and 3:73’s in back. This car I could go in all sorts of directions. If it were mine that’s the direction I would go because She would make for a great driver. Oh one last thing. I would look to find out what the Pontiac boys did to the GreyGhost that made it handle so well in TransAmRacing way back when. Again that’s the route I would go down because I could always turn around put her back to the window sticker condition.

    • John Oliveri

      Sounds like a man with a plan, only I’d go w an overdrive automatic

      • Rj

        John that automatic you speek of is absolutely the perfect choice for you Brother. As old as I am still not ready to stop shifting. My modern daily is a 5 speed, and the best part of that….so is my Wife’s daily.

        Like 1
  12. Al

    325 HP “Very respectable for 1964”. This car was a rocket in it’s day and still would give quite a few new cars a good run in a stop light to stop light race. If it wasn’t for this car the automotive world would be very different.

    Like 4
  13. Haig L Haleblian

    gone

  14. Jon D Chinnery

    I have read all of these comments, I’m one of those who wishes he had some of those cars back and flip at the prices they are asking today for these cars. If your old enough some may remember back in 75, 76 when there was a gas shortage ?) These cars were going for pennies on the dollar. Anyway, something came to mind, Pontiac was a great one for block codes (3 different ones that really matter). Say you buy a GTO (64, 65 no matter) you know the date when it was built. But, you look at the block, casting number ok, identification code (just below the deck on the passenger side in the front, ok 78X, 78XW, 77J, 76X and so on. But, you check the date code, say your car was built D-16-4 but you check the block code and it is J-18-3. How much time do you think should be allowed to call the car numbers matching ? Or, in this case does date code matter (block casting only) with a time differential of approx., 6 months from the time the block was cast and car was built. I heard 3 months is acceptable but ? What say you !!

    Like 1
    • Goatsnvairs

      Block ID code is most important. Date code of engine should proceed date code of car build by no more than 14 days.

      Like 1
      • Goatsnvairs

        Block ID code is most important. Date code of engine should preceed date code of car build by no more than 14 days.

  15. TimM

    Nice looking car but the motor information seems to be an issue!! Numbers matching seems to always be a big deal in value!! In my eyes if the values lower it’s better for me!! I just want to drive!!!

    Like 3
  16. FrankY Member

    And this is why I stay subscribed to BF.
    you click and read about interesting cars and then you scroll to comments to read what others have to say wether it be antidotal stories of the past Fun or educational and informative things you never knew like the above with casting info and how it relates to someone selling a car. Thanks for the information I am sure or hope others find it helpful in whatever car they are looking for.

    Like 2
  17. RobB

    Hey, I just checked and the car has been pulled. No explanation.

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