GTO Tribute Starter Kit: 1974 Pontiac Ventura

1974 was when Pontiac moved the GTO from the LeMans to the Ventura and those one-year GTOs are hard to tell from the non-GTO cars, like this 1974 Pontiac Ventura. This example can be found on Craigslist, or here on the CL archive, and it’s located in the Sewell, New Jersey area. The seller is asking $4,000. Thanks to Eric H. for tracking down this Ventura!

Speaking of GTO, this is why it looks familiar, this is “a stock car with gto grilles, hood and scoop”. You can see that this car will need some attention, but it looks like a straight example. The seller says that it’s “very straight with some bondo in the works, decent survivor”.

Whoops, what’s going on there? I would make that go-fast rear spoiler go away fast, but you can see how straight and solid this car looks. There are a few areas such as the bottoms of.. pretty much everything.. that’ll need some rust repair. I have to wonder how a car gets to look like this, paint-wise? It had to have been parked outside for decades but I don’t know the history and the seller isn’t mentioning it.

It’s hard to tell what the interior looks like, other than having seat covers which usually means trouble, and noticing a few dash cracks. Also, the top of the rear seat appears to be in need of help.

The GTO engine is basically the same as the regular Ventura engine, at least when the Ventura was equipped with a 350 cubic-inch V8 with a 4-barrel carb. I don’t know for sure if this is a 2-barrel or 4-barrel but one of you will know by looking at it, or by looking at the specs on the “tune up tag“, as we used to call them. Is this car worth continuing the restoration as a GTO tribute given the $4,000 asking price?


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  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    My response when I first saw the Ventura-based ’74 Goats could not be reprinted here…

    44 years on, the only nice thing I could say about this (or a real GTO) example, is that it would make a nice build for the kinds of cars I used to do, back then, that are now called ‘Pro-Touring’.

  2. Derek

    I kinda like it just the way it sits. Drive it down the road and just let ’em wonder. Yeah, I know it’s in New Jersey but it doesn’t mention what exit.

    • J Paul Member

      Sewell would be closest to exit 4 — glad my southern NJ knowledge can be of some use all these years later!

      • Vin_in_NJ

        Sewell….more like Sewage!

        Like 1
    • Stu

      Derek, Im with you Brutha, lots of people putting 100’s of K’s into cars when i think they look fab as they are. old and life worn with a pile of grunt left under the hood. bit like me really. i have a 73 vent all prissy and would swap it for that 74 in a heart beat.

  3. chad

    hada 3 – 4 yr newer one, can’t remember if it wuz a Ventura or Omega, but defiantly a lift back. No ‘shaker hood’. Same motor & it wuz mean…
    This 1 somebody drug it outta the pine barrens, put on some tires, fl mats, battery’n such. Worth 1/2 that 2 me (well, may B 3K), but I’m a poor man. Good Luck w/the sale/auction!

  4. mark

    Here’s a copy of the ’74 GTO showroom manual……

    • Kuzspike

      That artwork they used makes the front end appear sloped, similar to a firebirds of around that same era. It was actually much more upright than that in real life.

  5. ccrvtt

    I just remember being profoundly disappointed when Pontiac desecrated the GTO this way. 44 years hasn’t made it any better. I was never a fan of this body style but to each his own.

    Any money spent on a GTO should be for a real one.

  6. RayZ

    I don’t get all the hating on 74 GTO’s I had one new and it was a nice little car. I’ve also owned a 64 goat and a 68 400 Firebird. for it’s time it was a very fun car handled and stoped better then both the goat and Firebird and just a little bit slower.

  7. SRyan

    Brother had one with a 455 (not original) one fast fing car. Couldn’t avoid an oak tree. Sad.

    • Troy s

      Was just thinking what if Pontiac had been able to get the Super Duty 455 in that thing, now that would have been one heck of a way to end the GTO, yikes.

  8. JW

    I like it and in Pontiac’s defense all 3 car makers had no choice but to put out cars like this, uncle sam and the insurance industry along with environmentalists force it upon them.

  9. kuzspike

    I was always a fan of that body style & owned a 73 Ventura with the Sprint package. By 74, most muscle cars had been reduced to nothing more than decal options due to the smog regs killing the HP ratings. I thought what Pontiac did really made the Ventura look rather sporty with the exception of the big bumpers. It still may not have been a “real” GTO, but at least it wasn’t as bad as what MOPAR did to the Challenger/Charger nameplate back in the 80’s. As far as the spoiler on the back, I remember seeing a lot of Nova’s back in the day with the Camaro spoiler bolted to the trunk. I’m not sure if that is what this one is trying to replicate, but it looks as if its mounted way too far up on the deck lid.

    Like 1
  10. Max

    A year ago I bought All original 76 Pontiac Ventura blue exterior eith light blue vinyl cloth interior 260 2V, tilt steering, Factory AM radio, rally wheels.  And the Surprise its 121 Original miles since new!! Yes Not typo

  11. Marty

    I remember when Barnfinds only listed cars with style whatever condition they were in. This is devoid of appealing shape and style of early gto’s. I remember when I was young in Los Angeles saying look there’s a GTO and everyone was looking for a Pontiac. My first sentence was about Pontiac’s early GTO.

  12. Rube Goldberg Member

    It’s funny, peoples buying habits. There’s no reason why this car wasn’t as popular as the Nova, it’s basically the same freakin’ car, for heavens sake. Be that as it may, there were probably 20 Novas for every Pontiac, Olds or Buick. Were they that much more money? I agree, many, including me, were disappointed that this is what the mighty GTO had become, but in all fairness, it still held true to it’s original roots, not like the Cougar or Challenger. In my small town in Wis. there was one of these, nicer paint, sat out on Main St. all summer, for sale, I think a grand would have got it, and it never sold.

    • kuzspike

      Part of the reason there are so many more Novas is they were made longer. Pontiac didn’t get their version until 1971, Buick & Olds until 1973.

  13. Rosko

    I love this thing. Not sure if I like the idea of rust. I guess I’m spoiled living in the S.W.


    I always like this body style, and I even like the rear spoiler. Although it seems in the wrong place, but maybe someone knew more about how the air flowed over the back of the car. Who knows? Factory spoilers had more to do with astectics than function, most often.

  15. Max

    The Pontiac Ventura version of Nova is more Rare & more collectabile I think

  16. joe

    It doesn’t say GTO anywhere. Just Ventura on the fenders.

    • mike D

      that is one way to be under the radar on insurance..

  17. Suttree

    I didn’t like these when they first came out. I do now. As to the GTO clone part this would make a nice car but I’ve always preferred the one year only 1973 GTO. The ’73 was almost car of the year until management pulled the plug on the 455 SD powered GTO.
    A 455 SD would be a great engine for this car.

  18. JD

    My first car was a custard yellow ’73 Ventura with 19K miles on it in 1987. 350, 2bb, Pontiac dome hubcaps, single exhaust. Grandma’s grocery getter. Trunk leaked, but I loved that car and drove it to over 50K until the auto transmission gave out. I think someone picked it up and turned it into a drag car, which is a good second life for it. I miss it! I think this ’74 GTO may have my car’s sideview mirrors though.

  19. PatrickM

    Am I the only one who caught this? This is not a straight body! It has been in a front end accident. Check the fit between,the right front fender and the door. $500.00 tops.

  20. Rustytech Member

    It looks like the paint, seat back, and dash pad baked in the south west sun for years. Was it always in NJ?

  21. scottymac

    My first new car. But in my defense, working in a steel mill, making good money, what were my choices in 1974? Mustang II? Nova SS, that hadn’t had a significant body change in six years? Hornet hatchback? Duster/Demon (never owned a Chrysler, but knew they liked to rust.) Bright red, white interior, 350 four barrel, four speed, gauge package, looked good on the dealer’s lot. First time I polished it, noticed the factory forgot to install the front wheelwell trim. Dang Inland shifter liked to hang up on the 2-3 or 3-2 shift. Things went downhill from there, ended up letting it go for what I owed on it when I went in the air force. The ’73 GTO didn’t sell well, I remember reading a comparison between the ’64 and ’74, not much difference in size, wish the power had been the same.

    Like 2
  22. John coleman

    One helluva car chase in the 7 ups I’d rather have this car with a healthy 327 or heck maybe a nova. Pretty much the same car

    Like 2
  23. Chebby Staff

    It would probably look pretty sharp without the bumpers.

  24. 433jeff

    What’s more dissapointing than this final gto is the bone headed re creation in the 2000s ( don’t know don’t care) Ford did great with the new stang, Chevy did great with the new Camaro , the challenger is a great new comer but the new Gto was piss poor in the looks dept, what bad job… Ok I’m done.

    Like 1
    • 1idjack

      My first new car purchase was the 74 Pontiac Ventura (October of that year) in the burgundy finish with 350 V8 with 2 barrel carb and Hydramatic transmission. $3250 at that time. High cost of insurance and my young age (22) is what kept me from buying the ‘GTO’ version…much to my regret …today. Kept it many years and tricked it up to look and run more muscle like,. i.e Edelbrock with Holly 4, heavy duty rear shocks and wider rear tires. Switched to dual exhausts alum sport wheels as opposed to the original hubcaps that it came with. Wish I still owned it. It did have some decent H P …and could really move…

  25. Brian

    I love it and would like to buy it. Can anyone put me in contact with the seller. My son and I would love to restore this as a project. Also interested in 71 and 72 Venturas.

    Like 1
  26. Gary Day

    That cars a clone. Not real 74gto
    I own one since new.
    Never seen one venture on fender. Or colum shift.
    No gto emblems on front header panel or lower front fenders or rear dec lid. Where the dual exhaust with double tips Fake

  27. Mike

    Did the Venturas, Omegas and Apollos use the Chevy small block (or corporate block) back in those years? Or did they have their own divisions V8s?

    • scottymac

      My ’74 GTO used a Pontiac 350. Not sure about others.

  28. Troy

    I was just at the guy’s house with the 74 Ventura purchasing a tool from him.. It’s a good looking car.

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