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No Reserve! 1965 Pontiac GTO 4-Speed

I have owned a bunch of different muscle cars but never a Pontiac GTO. I have friends that have owned a ’64, ’66 and ’68 and I had the opportunity to drive them but I never was in a position to actually park one in my garage. And of those three years, none are my favorite. That award, for me, would be bestowed on the GTO’s sophomore year, the ’65 just like this example, located in Celina, Tennessee and available here on eBay for a current bid of $14,200, 23 bids tendered so far.

Why the ’65? I think it is a combination of the stacked headlights on what looks like a smaller, lighter body than the ’66 but with less cluttered, smoother lines than the ’64. The reality is that the ’65 and ’66 are about the same size and share the same wheelbase; it’s the illusion of size differential.

This GTO is not a trailer queen show car or a pile of rubbish, it looks to be a driver and that has an allure all its own. The seller claims that while the floors and frame look good and the trunk pan is solid, the finish is faded and the car needs a repaint. The photographic evidence bears that out. There is also some chipping on the leading edge of the driver’s side door which reveals a lighter color underneath – a repaint or primer? And a misaligned door perhaps?  Also of note is the missing rocker panel molding and trunk lid emblem. Beyond these issues, the body of this GTO looks straight and doesn’t appear to be harboring vestiges of serious damage, just normal wear and tear from age and use.

The interior has a similar bearing about it, basically, it looks good. The replacement carpet and upholstery are in nice shape, not too faded or torn though there is some separation occurring on the backrest of the driver’s seat. The dash is intact though it has a casually worn look about it – there is a Sun aftermarket tachometer installed in one of the dash instrument binnacles and aftermarket gauges are visible beneath the dash. The steering wheel is showing its age with cracks and missing pieces but again, not a major issue – all about what you would expect on a 55-year-old car or maybe a bit better. The mileage is noted as 100K, don’t know if that is actual, a place marker or an indication of something greater on a five-digit odometer. One interesting facet of this vintage GTO is that the ignition switch is left of the steering column instead of in the more commonly found locale to its right.

Under the hood is Pontiac’s workhorse 389 CI V8 engine that produced 335 gross HP. The seller claims that this GOAT,  “runs and drives great.” A few underhood observations: it appears that the valve covers and air cleaner have been replaced with aftermarket items, the ignition system is of an HEI design, perhaps a Holley carburetor on an adaptor plate under the air cleaner, the water pump or front engine cover looks like a recent replacement(s) and an aluminum bladed fan is in place. It would be good to know a bit more about the engine and whether there has been any internal work performed on it. Gear changes are conducted by a Muncie four-speed manual gearbox, which is in turn, actuated by a Hurst shifter.

There you have it, a nice used, driver quality real-deal GTO (seller says he has PHS documentation). It can be enjoyed as is or the cosmetic shortcomings can be attended to. Well, I haven’t bit the bullet on a GTO yet but this one is tempting don’t you think? It’s a no reserve auction with three days to go but it is still in reasonable territory, we will have to watch where it goes.


  1. Del

    Nice Goat.

    If price stays low

    Like 6
  2. flmikey

    I bought my first GTO, which looks exactly like this one, for $50.00 in 1974…the owner thought the engine was seized, I towed it home, my friend figured out the transmission was jammed, rolled it down the driveway, popped the clutch, and it started right up…and that, my friends, was the luckiest day of my life….

    Like 53
    • Tom Member

      Awesome story! I hate to ask…….do you still own it?

      Like 4
      • flmikey

        Sadly, no…got it running really good, street raced it a bit, put an STP sticker over a small rust spot, (told the buyer about the rust) and sold it for $850.00 6 months later…then used that money to buy a ’70 GS stage one…

        Like 14
    • Poppapork

      Awesome story but you need to explain to me what a “transmission jam” is?

      (I seriously don’t know)

      Like 3
      • JOHN Member

        The price seems reasonable at the moment, but the engine is the big question. There is a 4160 series Holley carb on either a spacer or a spread bore or Quadrajet adaptor. The spread bore carbs didn’t appear until 1967. The lack of any description regarding cylinder head numbers (clearly readable on the center ports on most Pontiac heads) or the two letter engine stamping on the right front of the block is questionable. This should be a WT code for the standard 4 barrel engine, WS for the Tri-Power. The seller mentions he has PHS documents, but why not show it? There is a 70 Chevelle SS in the background and another Chevelle next to it, and a Camaro, you would think he would have a photo of the trim tag as well. It will need a new trunk pan, maybe drop offs, lower quarters, etc. This one needs an in-person inspection. The dash and door tops have been re-painted, but I dig the old Sun tach, complete with the sending unit on the fenderwell, and the old SW gauges with the front mounted illumination are equally cool. The original shifter has been replaced, the T-Handle was either painted, or maybe one of the old flocked handles! I remember them in Black and gold, Watching this one, I have a 65 convertible in what appears to be the same blue charcoal color.

        Like 4
    • moosie moosie

      flmikey, That my fellow barnfind user is a grand slam home run that won the world series, in the ninth inning !

      Like 1
    • Steve P

      I should be so lucky!

  3. JW454

    My friend Paul, from high school, had a twin to this one. We’d cruise for hours all around our stomping grounds on Friday and Saturday nights. He never said much. We could go for several hours and not say ten words. We’d just listen to that 389 with the factory tri-power from a 1964 Gran Prix we had added along with the Crowler 303 cam and the obligatory Hooker headers with cherry bomb mufflers. Those were the days.

    Like 14
  4. Capt RD

    Wow, the next owner of this beauty is a lucky driver! Hope it stays reasonably priced.

    Like 2
  5. Ed Smith Member

    My brother first car 1965 GTO with a 1970 Gto Judge 400 motor in it with 4 speed All I can say is we never got beat I sure wish I had it today

  6. Jimmy

    I had the twin to this car as my first musclecar in 1971 at 18 years old. A friend blew the motor when I let him use it for the weekend. Sold the pristine body to a relative and he put his motor in it from his bar hopping banged up 65 GTO then moved to Phoenix, Az. He was laying sewer pipes for the city and walls caved in killing him, his ex wife never knew what happened to the car when I tried to buy it back.

    Like 1
  7. John Oliveri

    My neighbor had the same car, 1971, Bronx NY, he put a built 400 in it, Thanksgiving weekend 72, outside by a power pole, borrowed Con Ed tent around all of us, I was 11, my mother let him put it in our garage, to finish it, started it 630 am Saturday morning, open headers,I got the first ride, shotgun,one of the best days

  8. Bob McK Member

    I am dreaming…..

    Like 1
  9. Troy s

    Like all the comments above about GTO’s in active duty. I know, had to have been there when it was happening to really understand it all.
    Cool driver here, hey , it’s a real tiger that GTO. More stories please, about the heyday of tearing it up on Woodward, or over in the big apple out on the Connecting or Cross Bay Boulevard. Was the goat really all that and more against “the “other guys”?

  10. John Oliveri

    Connecting highways, cross bay Blvd, many nights in many great muscle cars there, unfortunately I was too young to own one, but lucky enough to have great older guys on my block who recognized my love of those cars, and let me go w them, my mom understood up to a point, cause my best friends cousin was the owner of the 65 GTO, by the time I got my car race cars were over, Disco music was playing, and I had spoke wheels and whitewalls instead of Cragers and fat tires, change of times. But I was a lucky kid to have been there

    Like 1
    • Troy s

      At least you weren’t into the custom van craze, which I only remember as a child of the seventies, ha!
      Real cars, speed wagons like this goat, were the go-to cars of my generation, (class of ’84), but finding good gas was usually nill,..104 octane boost cans or Trick racing gas, but most of the kids then were all into the chevys, small blocks and tweaked automatics….still cheap cars at the time and fun to piss the neighbors off with! Nothing close to the heyday of this GTO. Thanks for sharing.

  11. PatrickM

    sold. $18,850.00!! Wow!! A bit much for my wallet. But, not a bad price considering it is one of the iconic, classic cars from the ’60’s. This was every red blooded American teenage boys dream back then….including me. Drool, slobber, slurp.

  12. Stan Marks

    Aug. 1964 I was 20 yrs.old. A buddy of mine was visiting his grandma, across the street from us. He just bought a new red ’64 tempest conv. with 326 V8. Next day I rolled into our Pontiac dealer, in Hollywood, Ca. Asked to see a ’64 Tempest hard top red.
    Salesman said, you can order a ’65 right now. And for another couple hundred $, you can buy a GTO. I had no idea what a GTO was. I asked him if I could see a picture of what it looked like. He said they hadn’t gotten any brochures yet. But I won’t be disappointed.I was trading in my white ’58 Pontiac Chieftain conv. He said if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to take it.The difference between the two years, had enough body changes, it looked considerably different. Rear lights, hood scoop & first year vert. head lights.It would come in the following month(Sept), I ordered the 4 spd manual with Hurst shifter(standard) tri-power in Montero red.I was eagerly waiting for my car to come in, when the dealer called & said it was due in any day. Next day,I picked up my cousin & we drove up & down LaBrea Av, until we saw a car carrier coming up. As it turned into the dealership, there was my car, on the top rack in the middle. That was the first time I saw what it looked like. Price was $3200 OTD. I don’t recall what they gave me for my trade. I think around $800. My payments were $68/Mo.for 36 months. Those were the days when your date sat right next to you. Bucket front seats & a hard chrome center console. I would always bring a small cushion just so she was comfy. What a guy..LOL!!!. Those were fun days, cruising up & down Hollywood Blvd. One night, or I should say, early morning, I left my girl’s house & was heading home down Melrose Ave. I was sitting at a light at Vine St. Next to me roles up a Ford. Brian Wilson, of the Beach boys, was sitting behind the wheel. We both started revving up the engines.The light turned green & there we went, all the way down(about a mile) to LaBrea. I was in the left lane. He was on the curb.We came up to a parked car & I didn’t let it down. He had to slow, before marrying that parked car ahead of him. I can’t believe we didn’t get stopped by the cops. Those were the days…… .

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