Daily Driver: 1968 Pontiac GTO Hardtop

This 1968 Pontiac GTO is a solid car that has spent many years in storage. After recently seeing the light of day again, it has been revived and is now being used as a reliable daily driver. It will need some restoration work, but it looks like it is a solid foundation from which to start the process. If you have always fancied the idea of parking a GTO in your driveway, you will find this one located in Ontario, New York, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the GTO has now reached $13,300, and with the reserve having been met, this car is destined to head to a new home.

Finished in Flambeau Burgundy with a Black vinyl top, this GTO appears to not only be an attractive car but a solid one as well. The owner admits that there has been one patch fitted into the floor on the driver’s side, but that the floors and frame themselves are rock solid. The only visible rust in the car is located in the lower fender on the passenger side. The vinyl top is said to be in good condition, and there is no sign of any bubbling under the vinyl. The car has its fair share of dings and scrapes, but after all, it is a 51-year-old car, so I don’t expect perfection. None of these issues are urgent, so could be attended to in the weeks, months, or even, in the years ahead.

The interior of the GTO really is rather a pleasant surprise, because apart from a very “1980s” aftermarket radio/cassette player fitted to the dash, the rest of it not only appears to be stock but in very nice condition. I mean, it’s not going to bring home a heap of awards at car shows, but as a clean and practical interior for a daily driver, there really isn’t a lot to fault with it. The spokes on the wheel are either dirty or corroded, but all of the upholstered surfaces appear to be really good, while the console (with the dual-gate shifter) looks to be faultless. Since I can’t see any speakers to go with the cassette player, I’m guessing that there might be some fitted to the rear parcel tray. If there are, this actually isn’t a problem, because a brand new tray is included with the car.

Sadly, this isn’t a numbers-matching car, but it does sound like it’s a solid one. Under the hood is a 400ci V8, which is backed by a Turbo 400 transmission. It looks like this might be the 2BBL version of the 400, which produces 265hp. The good news is that while the engine isn’t original, it is (according to the owner) period correct. It also runs and drives well, with the GTO currently being used on a daily basis. Power steering should make light work of the daily driving chores, while the GTO is fitted with non-assisted brakes.

If the engine in this 1968 Pontiac GTO is identical to the original unit, that makes this car 1-of-2,841 Hardtops built with that engine and an automatic transmission. That doesn’t make it an especially rare car, but given the fact that a total of 87,684 GTOs of all types rolled off the line in 1968, that does make this one slightly unusual. Regardless of its relative rarity, it is still a nice car with a lot of potential. With the reserve having been met, and the car now set to head to a new home, it will be interesting to see whether that new home belongs to one of our Barn Finds readers.

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Comments

  1. TimM

    Very tempting at this price but it is a New York car!! Needs to be checked for rust issues!!!

    4
  2. JRH

    Looks like no A/C.

    • bone

      Yes, because its a real muscle car

      1
  3. Troy s

    Really the right color combination, burgundy on black fits the muscle cars well. I actually like the lack of perfection here.
    I find it odd that Pontiac, the masters of mayhem of the public highway system, instigators of thousands upon thousands of high powered factory street machines from every make, would offer a two barrel version of their beloved image machine. Insurance purposes?
    Trying to get the feds off their back maybe.
    Regardless of what’s under the hood the whole package is spot on, a case where the interior is every bit as eye appealing as the sporty exterior. Some brands never had that.

    3
  4. CapNemo

    Well done! I have a 69, and absolutely love it! I remember the commercials demonstrating the Endura bumper.

    1
  5. Papa Bear

    Had a 69 GTO Judge that looked like the same color, one that I wish I had kept…

    3
  6. Steve S

    It looks like it has the his/hers shifter in it. But it would be better if it had the 4 speed manual transmission. It is easy to change the 2 barrel carb to a 4 barrel carb.

    1
  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Sold for $13,800.

    1
  8. moosie moosie

    Was a 2 bbl. really available back then on a real GTO?
    Not every car from the great Northeast was a rust bucket, most didn’t escape the appetite of the iron moth but some did. This GTO is rather nice and for minimal amount of work could be a very nice cruiser.

    1
    • Papa Bear

      I sure would not think you could get a 2 barrel on a GTO…..

      • Dave

        That’s a good question. GTO was just a package option of the base model Tempest. The next step up was Le Mans, IIRC. Pontiac after introduced a T-37, I think it was called, that had the performance bones of the GTO without the luxury options. Someone here will know and help us out.

        1
      • moosie moosie

        I Didn’t think so either until I researched it a bit and found this.

        Engine Codes

        Engine Description Engine Code Comp.Ratio HP
        400 4bbl 3Spd Manual WT 10.75:1 350
        400 HO 3Spd Manual WS 10.75:1 360
        400 4bbl 4Spd WT 10.75:1 350
        400 HO 4Spd WS 10.75:1 360
        400 Ram Air Manual XS 10.75:1 360
        400 4bbl Automatic YS 10.75:1 350
        400 2bbl automatic XM 8.60:1 265
        400 HO Automatic YZ 10.75:1 360
        400 Ram Air Automatic XP 10.75:1 360

        3
      • Troy s

        Just one thing here is the 242 code whereas the GTO was a separate model actually, not just an optioned Tempest. That is mentioned in the add, no mention of an original two barrel carb though, which was the low ball economy engine available that nobody really wanted up through ’69. Low compression too so just swapping the intake is the beginning, not the complete package. In the three years it was available they sold over 5000 of them 2 barrel goats.

        2
      • Dave

        That low compression motor might just be the trick for a daily driver considering how low pump gas octane is. Those hi comp motors are going to need octane booster. If you ever get the chance to read the section on octane requirements in the owner’s manual of a 1960s car please take the time. The reason given by the oil industry for lowering the octane was that more gasoline could be refined from a barrel of oil.

        I used to do controls work at a local refinery and they told me that the octane is determined on the rack. Lowering the octane was another way that the EPA legislated muscle cars out of existence. At least that’s what they told me 35 years ago.

        1
      • Troy s

        Dave, oh hell yeah, not to mention a lack of lead in the gas for years now. The GTO didn’t have nearly the compression ratios of some other cars from back then where 11 and a half or even 12 to 1 could be had, like the nasty L88 427 Chevy or max wedge mopars, wow! Suppose you would have been careful and selective with “pump gas ” even back then. I expierenced the pre ignition pinging and popping lousy performance from several cars, that really does suck…

    • Tenspeed

      Yes it was an option. It was called a parkway cruiser. A friend of mine bought a convertible with a 2bbl in 1977 and I didn’t believe it was original (he was full of bull). I confirmed it was for those who wanted the look without the gas consumption (supposedly).

      • JOHN

        I’ve been around GTO’s for many, many years, and I have never, ever heard the term “parkway cruiser”. Oldsmobile did have an option called “Turnpike Cruiser” that offered a 400 2 barrel, option L66, that had the 442 HD suspension, a slightly different camshaft, a variable vane TH400 trans that allowed the higher gear rations to work with the changes… maybe someone came up with this term, but it was never marketed by Pontiac.

  9. JOEY ENLOWE

    What 2 barrel ?
    Looks like a Holley 4 bbl. to me.

    1
  10. moosie moosie

    Yup, looks like a Holley on there now for sure, the question was if the GTO ever came stock from the factory with a 2 BBL. not that that what is on the car now, the motor that replaced the original was listed as a 2 BBL. motor.

  11. SC/RAMBLER

    I’m glad someone else noticed that center hung float dual feed four barrel Holley carb.. I was shaking my head reading the posts about a 2 barrel carb
    Looks like a nice daily driver quality car. Well at least a weekend crusier. Even if its a high compression motor 93 octane gas and slower distributor advance curve you might be ok another trick from back in the day was double head gaskets.
    Can’t say first hand experience but worth a try. Similar result to larger combustion chamber heads.

    2
  12. moosie moosie

    I seem to remember hearing something about doubling up on the head gaskets on 409’s and how it was done at the factory. it sounds like that maybe they just should have manufactured a thicker gasket from the start. Any gear heads from that era remember anything about that ?

  13. JOHN

    You could indeed get the GTO with a 2 barrel carb. It does indeed have a Holley 4150 on it now, but likely someone simply changed out the intake and carb. If the car still has the small valve heads, it’s not going to run like you would expect from a GTO. The big valve heads had higher compression plus the 2.11/1.77 valves, the small valve heads were 1.96/1.66 and the compression ratio was significantly lower as well. With Pontiacs, the horsepower was in the heads.

    1
    • TimM

      Would the larger size head bolt right up to that block and would it work with the lower compression????

      • JOHN

        Pontiacs all use the same block, externally they are all the same (except # of freeze plugs, minor stuff) and will bolt right up. Pontiac stuff is out there, but a nice set of Edelbrock or other aluminum heads would make a huge difference. A nice set of RAlll heads would make a nice combo, even certain 455 heads work well on the 400. There are several excellent Pontiac builders around, Butler, Kaufman, to name a couple. The compression ratio increases with smaller volume (CC’s) heads. Most people on earth could not tell the difference between Pontiac blocks… the 326, 350, 400, 428, 455 are identical externally. Pontiacs are cool!

        1
  14. John Oliveri

    Like the 69 a lot more, no wing windows, nicer dash, headrest seats, locking steering column, just a nicer overall car

    1
    • JOHN

      I think the best part of the 69 GTO is the rear tail light treatment, and the parking lights that look like the Firebird. You could order head rest seats in 66, 67, and 68. I like the steering column lock, but the left side mounted ignition switch on the 64/65’s are way cooler! The huge vinyl dash I think is sort of a downgrade from the 68. Another plus for the 68’s with the floor mounted automatics, is the Hurst Dual Gate, which first appeared in the 67. In 69 they went to a generic Pontiac shifter. But bottom line, they all are GTO’s!

  15. Troy s

    I keep coming back to this GTO, I really like it. One thing I don’t like is that small air cleaner, which seems to make the top end appear small. Plus, anyone who runs it open like this oughta know by now that 3X14 inches is the way to go, or double stacked if room allows it. Nothing like a big shot of very hot under hood air , right? Easy fix here, just sayin’.

  16. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    sold-$13,800

  17. Rodney Maitland

    That carb. Is a duel feed Holly four barrel. Look a little closer. I’m almost blind and can see that.

    1
  18. karl

    Couldn’t the complete motor have come out of a 68 69 70 Catalina ? Its not the original motor, but period correct – It doesn’t say it came out of another GTO , maybe the owner just swapped the complete engine out when the other one blew and left the two barrel set up from the full size car

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