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Compelling Survivor: 1966 Pontiac GTO Convertible

The seller of this 1966 Pontiac GTO opines, “Hard to find them like this anymore” And I’d have to say “True that!” It’s a bit rough and worn but it does appear to be unchanged and modified – how unusual! There is so much here with which to work but the originality is compelling. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, this iconic convertible muscle car is available, here on eBay for $20,010 with the reserve not yet met.

We have had a lot of behind-the-scenes debate about what constitutes a survivor and while the marketplace may have some variation, our definition applies to a car that is in original condition. Now, things like tire, brake, and exhaust system replacement won’t scotch a car’s qualification; repainting, rust repair, date-correct engine swaps, and panel replacement will – so will a reupholstered interior. We’re not trying to rewrite classifications, just use one that makes sense and is consistent. And based on that description, this ’66 convertible, one of about 12K produced that year, qualifies as a true survivor. Oh, and talk about having the tiger by the tail, Pontiac knocked out almost 97K GTOs in ’66 – what a time that was!

The seller advises, “Dry rust-free southwest car that has lived in New Mexico and Nevada its whole life. Appears to be all original paint, interior, drivetrain, etc“. Yes, the finish is faded and the unphotographed folding top is said to be in need of a replacement but the body is straight and there is no indication of rotted fenders or quarters – the bane of this generation of GM’s A-body cars. The seller further states, “Car is extremely solid all around, floors, trunk, etc“. And that’s good to know as convertibles frequently have integrity issues in those areas identified – still, I’d want to take a look for myself. One neat feature is the original full wheel covers – they often get kicked to the curb early on in ownership.

The seller claims, “Original 400 engine that runs great, recently had the 4 barrel carburetor rebuilt“. And that’s actually inaccurate as the original motor should be a 335 gross HP, 389 CI V8. And that statement tells me that this auction is probably a flip as something as basic as engine size should be known by the owner, at least one who has interest and has been in possession for more than a fleeting moment. This goat’s real drawback is its two-speed automatic transmission, a BOP gearbox known as a Super Turbine 300. It’s similar in its operation to Chevrolet’s Powerglide, but it’s not a PG and as best as I can recall doesn’t share any interchangeable parts. The real issue is that it puts a bit of a wet blanket on what should be Pontiac performance.

The interior’s strato-bucket seats have clearly seen better days and the carpet is mirroring the same effects of age and use (125K miles). Added to that is a dashpad that’s done (the seller refers to it as “toast”). No worries really as the entire interior can be pretty easily revitalized, the parts are available, it just takes $$$.

So, we need a repaint, top, and interior work but this is a genuine, unmolested ’66 GTO and I would have to push for a stock restore though I might negate that survivor designation by ditching the two-speed and going for something more sporting. And actually, I doubt that would adversely affect this car’s value. More importantly, a Pontiac GTO in this basic and original condition needs to be rejuvenated, it just has too much positivity going for it. Anyway, that would be my intention, what would yours be?


  1. Joe Monahan

    Good hobby for someone to restore.

    Like 3
  2. Tommy T-Tops

    I thought you could get the 400 half way through the year from the factory- they switched over from the 389 and multiple carburetor to the 400 in 66..I could be wrong but either way yes very nice and refreshing not to see rot and mods..I would drive it asis for a while..very nice glwta

    Like 4
  3. Dan D

    If it’s in Vegas someone needs to notify Danny Koker! Back in the day my Dad’s service manager drove a Mayfair yellow and black drop top. He taught me how to shift the 4 speed, great memories!

    Like 0
  4. Russell T Black

    389 was the engine for 66. I believe some early production 67’s even had 389’s leftover before the 400’s were installed. Nice car, a 4 speed would be the frosting on the cake. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Like 3
  5. Ken Treco

    Too bad its a ‘67 not a ‘66

    Like 0
    • Eric

      The tail lights are 66 style, 67 is a little bit different.

      Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      It’s most definitely a ’66, discernable by the grille grid, and as Eric stated, the ’66 taillights.


      Like 3
    • Steve

      It is a ’66. IMO the ’66 tail lights look much better than the ’67. Too bad it’s an automatic. Might as well be a Tempest.

      Like 4
    • jefftrey davis

      it is a 66 i have owned more then one and i own one now i go places and have people argue with me about the year i am 70 yrs old now and owned one as my first car so i pretty much am sure i know what year it is

      Like 3
  6. MoparDoug

    Plastic grille (not metal mesh), louvered taillights, emblem on the fender (not on the lower chrome strip…nope, its a ’66. My brother had a ’66 hardtop, blue with white interior, 389 tri-power 4-speed.

    Like 5
  7. Cooter Cooter Member

    I would restore it and “4” it. I couldn’t live with such an iconic vehicle with a knockoff 2 speed slushbox handling all those ponies. This car repainted and restored to original colors and a 4 speed will likely help it than hurt it down the road if one wished to re-sell.

    Like 6
  8. C Force

    Would be nice to able to look at the engine closer,to see the head numbers.For 66′ the cylinder head numbers should be 93 on the center exhaust ports….

    Like 0
  9. John Polacek

    Pretty solid old car, only seen a few convs with column auto.

    Like 0
  10. 59poncho

    We will see this baby again fluffed to the max with a price to match.

    Like 0

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