Not Quite A GTO: 1965 Pontiac LeMans

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You know, when you look closely, a 1965 Pontiac LeMans, such as this convertible, isn’t much different in appearance than a corresponding GTO. Yeah, the real difference is under the hood but let’s not make a hasty judgment (besides, this one has a top that goes up and down!). Let’s see what this Canton, Georgia Poncho has going for it. It’s available, here on eBay for a current bid of $14,600 with the reserve not yet met. There is a BIN option of $21,500 too.

Of all the muscle car generation LeMans/GTO model years, I think the ’65 is my favorite, though I’m partial to the ’69 variant too. There’s no denying the popularity of these cars, according to research, there were 246K Lemans/Tempest models built in ’65 and 118K of those were drop tops! And this doesn’t include the GTO which was good for another 74K units!

Two immediate issues here, one is obvious, there’s lots of primer slathered about this car’s flanks and the other is that there’s no clear image of the front. The listing mentions that the lower quarters received patch panels about ten years ago and that may account for some of the primer. As much as I like this rendition of the LeMans, they can be real rust buckets, convertibles in particular, but I’m not seeing a problem among the included images. Regardless, I’d recommend a close inspection – and at least a glimpse of the front end (and one with the hood closed!). Also, there’s no image of the top in the raised position – another thing to investigate.

Power is provided by what was originally a 250 gross HP 326 CI V8 but the seller mentions an upgrade with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, an Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold, and a dual exhaust system with GTO splitters. What’s not mentioned is how this 134K mile example motivates. One detraction is its two-speed automatic gearbox.

Inside, we find blue “Morrokide” vinyl upholstery in what appears to be the correct pattern. The image isn’t very revealing, at least at a detailed level, but it seems to be OK. While bucket seats are clearly visible, there is no center console and the gear shift selector is column mounted.

The verdict? This LeMans comes off well on the surface but I’m concerned about all of the primer and the lack of front end and top images. As much as I like the ’65 LeMans/GTO, the two-speed transmission would be a deal killer but that’s my hangup. Be it a Powerglide, or a Super Turbine 300 as in this case, I’m just not down with it. That said, this car’s styling with its over/under headlights, and squared-off lines, is iconic and I’ve always been partial to convertibles though I usually drive the ones that I’ve owned in top-up mode. So, what do you think, is this one worthy of further investigation?

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  1. Maggy

    If I bought it I’d put a th350 in it.Cool car but needs a lot of inspecting especially when somebody else was hacking it up 10 years ago but they might have done a good job who knows? and bring a magnet. 10 k or maybe less to me depending on what you find inspecting it.21500 I”m not seeing it imo.

    Like 6
    • Richard Daniels

      I had a 67 firebird rag with the 326 2 barrel and the power glide and I found that to sluggish let alone in a Le Man’s. Those 2 factors alone really hurts its value. At least the owner didn’t do a splash job with the paint and you can see the primer. Because I am a purist I would not be interested. If it was the 326 HO with the 4 speed maybe. Unless it’s in great shape I think it’s worth 15k.

      Like 4
  2. normadesmond

    That brake pedal’s seen a few feet.

    Like 2
  3. Johndavid


    Like 1
  4. Charlie Feuer

    Agreed, the 2-speed auto is too bad. My mom had a ’66 LeMans Convertible w/326 and a 3-Speed Hurst, stock. The styling and performance were markedly better!

    Like 2
  5. JCH841

    I know it is a Pontiac, but a friend had one and we called it a powerslip transmission.

    Like 1
  6. Mark Z

    Had a 64 LeMans convertible with a 326 4 barrel and a four speed, pretty decent performer in it’s day.

    Like 2
  7. Stacey Frank

    I owned that exact color combo drop top car back in the early 70’s. Bought it from the orignal owner that bought it for his wife. She had the top down once they entire time she owned it, said it mussed up her hair. It was a steady driver, not fast but smooth and comfortable. No console and auto shift on the column/ am radio power top. That off color conv boot always looked odd to me.

    Like 0

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