Forest Find! 1968 Pontiac GTO Project

No enthusiast ever said “You had me at ‘missing title’,” but this seemingly unwrecked 1968 Pontiac GTO might  justify the diligence of establishing legitimate ownership. Thanks to reader Pete for spotting this back-woods beauty located near Morganton, North Carolina and listed here on Winston Salem, North Carolina craigslist. The $3000 asking price might well total more than the sum of its parts, considering it retains many GTO-specific pieces.

Personally, the hidden headlight grille punches my dance card, and there is more good news. This knowledgeable seller has crafted an informative listing! Many sellers waste your time by inviting visits and phone calls instead of taking five minutes to compose a decent post. Are they lonely? Are they serial killers luring you to a grisly end? Buyer beware! Thankfully this listing answers many questions with pictures and details.

Back to the car, though. This seller knows his product, and describes the car as retaining its numbers-matching 400 cid V8 with Turbo-Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission, power steering, correct console with dual gate shifter, GTO interior (albeit rough), and more.

Whoa! You can assume whatever caused this car to be parked for 30+ years resides somewhere in this picture, or has been removed from view. Still, most motor-heads would rebuild or at least refresh the engine, and that’s much easier than, say, replacing a crushed rear corner. One cylinder head is missing, perhaps holding a barn door open somewhere in Georgia where the seller bought this car. Even the base GTO’s 400 made 350 HP and 445 lbs-ft of torque, enough to make this mid-size highly entertaining (thanks to hemmings.com for some details). Is this sale merely a collection of GTO parts or would you tackle the paperwork (and other work) needed to get this car in the wind?

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Comments

  1. Joe Pollard

    I would totally rebuild it. Would not let it sit like it is .just to bad I don’t have the funds to buy it .but if someone wanting to give me a car .I would work on it until it on the streets and car shows.

    Like 1
    • Jack

      Sorry I’m not trying to be smart but if you don’t have the funds to buy it how would you ever finance the new build. Looking at the condition of the car I would venture to say it would be a pricy rebuild.

      Like 1
      • Pete

        Speaking from my own experience having owned around 100 cars so far I can tell you that I have bought more than a few because they were a good deal at the time and I figured the money to fix it would come along eventually. Which is why I own 8 cars at the moment 7 of which need something to make them operable if not pretty. I do not have the budget Jay Leno does so it’s not getting done near as quickly. But little by little a few dollars at a time I am making progress. I know I would have been better served to buy one at a time and fix them as I could. But that is why hindsight and experience is so educational. LOL. Most of us though are dreamers, wanting to find that BF deal and make crazy money or find that car we have always wanted at a good if not killer price. I agree that this would be a pricey build if you were going to do it correctly. Yet you could still buy it, get rolling, maybe rebuild the motor with a new set of gaskets, a valve job and make it run. Clean it up as best as possible to help preserve it for the next guy who is willing to throw the rest of the money at it and still make a few bucks.

        Like 3
  2. jw454

    It’s sad to see one of the greats from the muscle car era in this condition. Depending on the true condition of the body and frame, and with the included parts it may not be a bad deal. You could use them to get it up and rolling and look for the model year correct parts as you go.

    Like 1
  3. Nova Scotian

    Ahhh…. You’ve found my stolen car!

    Like 3
    • glen

      No, I think your car is buried on Oak Island, in the money pit.

      Like 1
  4. Oingo

    So I bought a rusty parts car with no title, used the original parts that I needed and then bought some non original parts and am selling it as a restoration candidate?

    Like 2
    • Dan in Texas

      Yes, I think your comment just about sums it up.

      Like 1
    • mike D

      In GA, cars before 85 didn’t have titles, a handwritten bill of sale is suffice, and… would still give it a go to get it up and running!

      Like 1
  5. Chebby Staff

    How were buyers so casual about brakes back when cars had so much power? Someone here ordered a muscle car with a gated shifter, but passed on the power discs that were available. Seems more people ordered assisted steering than stopping ability in the 60’s. Seems crazy.

    Like 1
    • Chris In Australia

      I hear you. I wish the first owner of my Skylark spent the 100 bucks that the vinyl roof option cost on discs, and would have 30 odd bucks change.
      Crazy? You bet. My first car, a 1970 Fiat had 4 wheel discs!

      Like 1
    • Dave Mc

      We called shoe brakes “binders” and you had to “stand on them” (the pedal)
      No problem.

      Like 1
    • Steve Cota

      I Know I have a 68 Lemans convertible, that I have owned since 1974. This car came from the factory with a 350 V8 , auto trans, power steering, 14 inch wheels, and drum brakes all around with NO power assist !
      To say that the braking performance is inadequate is an understatement !
      Still … this is the only car I own that is NOT for sale.

      Like 1
    • Rick Ladner

      I bought a new GTO in 1969 Power Steering, drum brakes, and I never had a problem stopping mine!

      Like 1
      • Troy

        I currently own a 1968 Lemans 350 H/O that has power drum brakes, and they work so good that the feel like disc brakes. I had my mechanic go through the entire car right after I bought it because it sat for nearly 17 years. He replaced all the brake hoses with braided steel hoses, new master, wheel cylinders…pads and drums were in great shape so he cleaned them up and re-used them. He rebuilt carb, removed the points and added a Pertronix kit, new plugs, cap, rotor, wires, rebuilt front end with all new components including poly bushings, new 2.5 inch flowmaster down tubes & tailpipes with Dynomax mufflers, new motor mounts, fuel sender, redline G70 tires, axle seals, replaced all fluids and gear lubes with synthetics, K&N air filter in the stock air cleaner with flipped lid for more breathin. Trans is a factory HD Dearborn 3 speed manual with factory Hurst shifter with 3:36 posi, ride and handling package, PS, buckets, Meridian Turquoise with Ivy Gold interior…still has the original paint on it, I bought it from the original owner 2 years ago…very unique car.

        Like 1
  6. glen

    Did you mean, the parts might total more than the asking price? What’s with the photo of a newer (red) vehicle?, and finally, would this car have come with a 12 bolt rear?

    Like 1
    • Mike thomas

      No 12 bolts in 68, 70 was first year for Pontiac.

      Like 1
      • glen

        thanks

        Like 1
  7. Steve M

    This car needs to be restored, I am from the area, but no longer live there. NC is strange when it comes to this type of car. I have seen 100s of cars sitting and rusting but not for sale. North Carolinians will let a car rust in their yard for 20 more years if they think they can get 10 bucks more for it latter. I know where a big block Chevelle is sitting under a carport, and has been there untouched in the carport of an abandon home since at least 2004. I found the owner…. “not for sale”

    Like 2
    • JonnyA

      It must be a Southern thing because many Mississippians are the same way. They’d go to the grave before letting someone touch their prized possession!

      Like 1
  8. Classic Steel

    Oh back in the day 👀

    Had a friend who wrecked his goat 68.

    Bought a same color green parts car in perfect shape and we stripped the front end off and al was wrong by was the head gasket and it was a hidden headlights with
    Complete four speed And buckets model ! Them were real parts car days !

    I bet the rear seat is still in the old pole barn and side panels 🙃

    The rest went to sell off like engine to for speed 🙃

    Ironically the other car was hit a couple years later and junked with just the bumper and splash panel damaged.
    Those were the days huh🎶

    Like 1
  9. mike D

    being from the north, this car doesn’t look half bad, but, seeing it up close and personal might be a different story no mention of wheels and tires would hope the engine is salvageable, but doubt it even tho it is a goat, leaving the paint and body work ” as is” would make it a good sleeper … but.. something inside me would want it sparkling !

    Like 2
  10. JW

    Someone with the funds and knowledge needs to save this poor Goat.

    Like 1
  11. gto4ever

    Keep breaking my heart. Wish I had the funds to put her in the fast lane again!

    Like 1
  12. David J David J

    It’s interesting to see the number of “save it” comments. My heart says, “save” but my head says, “parts car.”

    Like 1
  13. Pete

    When I first saw this add on CL I was like OMG only $3,000? I went through the whole going to look at it, spending time bolting the rear end back in, getting it on my car trailer and when I got it home I realized I didn’t have enough room in my driveway to even get it off the trailer. There are numerous reasons for not going through the process of getting a title for a car here in NC. The first being once you title it in your name you have to start paying property tax on the car even if it is years away from being road worthy and you didn’t buy a tag for it at the same time. That is if you have a slam dunk clear title to begin with. If you have a bill of sale from out of state then it is gonna take a while. You then have to get a bonded title, once that clears you will need a DMV officer to inspect it to make sure that all the numbers, vin etc match and haven’t been fooled with. That is with a salvage car or non salvage car. If it comes up on a stolen list, well then that opens another can of worms. You better have a good paper trail. Because in NC they assume the car is stolen if you do not have a title to begin with and you have to be able to disprove that. Some folks though have already been through this process a few times and know the right people to talk to and can make it happen much more swiftly. Yeah we still have a GOBNET here in NC. This one is from GA not NC originally. So it might have other corrosion issues that we do not, like with floods or hurricaines and such. That orangy pink stuff on the drivers rear end threw me off for a minute. I then thought hey this is bondo coming through the paint. If that rear end was already bolted up I would have seriously thought about making an offer and loading it on a trailer and just drive it around the state until someone offered me more cash than I had in it. LOL.

    Like 1
  14. Jose Delgadillo

    Pete, You seem like a man after my own heart. I’ve got several cars that are being repaired and improved gradually as time and funds allow. Better to dream and turn wrenches then stand outside and look through the window.

    Like 1
  15. PatrickM

    Who are these people that let this kind of thing happen to any car, regardless of make or model??? Not happy seeing these things. But, I can’t change anyone. This is just too much work for me.

    Like 1
  16. Goat Lover

    In 1979 i bought a 1969 GTO for $200. It was parked in a field with a blown engine and the hood was leaning against it.that folling friday night the guy that i bought the car from wrecked his 1977 grand prix with a rebuilt 455. he called me saturday and i bought the grand prix for $200. A buddy of my grandpa’s swapped the engines for all the extra parts on the grand prix. so for $400 i was driving a 1969 green goat with a 455 turbo 400 auto trany and chrome side pipes. wish i still had her.

    Like 2
  17. Pete

    Some must have gone and bought that GTO. Last nite I went to visit my old buddy who had a 69 GTO Judge when we were kids. I told him about this car and he told me he had a ton of parts sitting in his shed for a 69 GTO including a Hurst 4 speed shifter. Damn it.

    Like 1
  18. Brian

    I once owned a 1970 Olds Cutlass Supreme and it had the 350, power steering, auto trans, AC and manual drums front and rear. Like one if you said, braking was overlooked back in those days.

    Like 1
  19. Jim young

    Is it still available and what city and state is it in thanks Jim young

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