Older Restoration: 1970 Pontiac GTO

By 1970, fortunes were changing in the muscle car scene as growing competition and rising insurance premiums were taking buyers in different directions. The reputed leader of the genre, the GTO, remained in third place in sales among mid-size muscle cars, right behind the Chevelle SS 396/454 and Plymouth Road Runner. This ’70 edition is an older restoration that that has been bolstered by the transplant of a 455 cubic inch V8. Located in De Leon, Texas, it’s available here on eBay where the bidding rests at $20,000. Thanks, Larry D, for another cool tip!

The second generation of the Pontiac GTO launched in 1968 along with its GM brethren and the new Road Runner at Plymouth. Sales of the car had peaked at 96,000 in 1966 but had a good year in ’68 at 87,000 units. But they would begin declining every year thereafter. The cash register claimed sales of 72,000 in ’69 and just 40,000 in 1970, despite the fact the car received an attractive facelift that retained the Endura urethane cover around the headlamps and grille. The seller’s car left the factory as a “base” GTO with a 400 V8 and automatic, which comprised 18,000 of the units built for 1970.

We’re told the seller has owned this nice GOAT for 26 years and it was once restored. Given its condition, we assume this was done while in his possession. Finished in what appears to be Palomino Copper Metallic, it presents well at 20 feet but needs a bit of touch up. The paint is flaking slightly along the hood, there is a slight spot of discoloration on the trunk lid, and some rust has gotten up under the matching vinyl roof at the back window. The seller tells us the hood could stand a new set of hinges and the alignment improved.

The corresponding saddle interior looks nice with no obvious flaws in the upholstery or carpeting. The padding on both door armrests is discolored or sunburned but certainly not a big deal. Reading between the lines, the seller found out after buying the car that the original 400 V8 had been replaced. That substitute motor may have developed issues later, so the seller dropped in a 455 that now has no more than 5,000 miles on it. The brakes were redone about 15 years ago, but the low mileage since then should indicate they are still good.

At 91,000 miles, it looks as though this GTO could have a lot of smiles left in it. Just fix the rust under the vinyl top and drive on. According to Hagerty, the average resale value of a ’70 GTO is $26,400 and could go as high as $60,000 although that would put it in Concours territory. The GTO would solider on as a standalone model through 1971, but revert back to option status on the LeMans in 1972, just as it had begun eight years earlier.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Ralph

    Interesting car.
    Looking at the passenger interior door panel. Something weird going on there as GM did not use 43 screws to attach an interior panel.
    This is the kind of thing that makes me wonder what other issues there may be that are unseen. The kind of things one does not care to learn about the hard way…

    Like 12
  2. TimM

    I agree with you Ralph!! Look at the picture of inside the trunk and you can see a mig weld seem that looks like a blind person welded it!! There’s also something going on with the headliner by the drivers side rear seat!! When I see welds like that and a headliner installed incorrectly it makes me think it’s full of bondo under that pretty paint job cause there skill level wasn’t where it should be for putting a car like this together!!

    Like 6
  3. Troy s

    The kind of GTO a librarian or nurse bought to look cool in on the way to work, with very good pick up in passing situations. Maybe a teacher, the one all the kids liked.
    Nice ride.

    Like 4
  4. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    My brother had a ’70 GTO with a 400 and an automatic. He had a lot of fun with it and was always tinkering around with the mechanicals, especially the carbs. He tried various four barrels and even a tri-power setup but what worked best for him was a particular 4 barrel that tried. He told me he street raced it 34 times and won all but two. The two losses were due to transmission failures, that was because of taching it up to 5,000 and then dropping it into low. Spare transmissions were everywhere back then and cheap and he could swap in a new one in a couple of hours.

    This golden Goat looks like a nice one though I wonder if the non-original 455 will keep the price a little lower or a push it little higher than if it had the original motor.

    Like 2
  5. Nick P

    Looks nearly identical to my car. I’ve owned it since 93 and it was my first car. Difference is mine is numbers matching, dark saddle interior, and was never rusty. Repaint and new interior in 2013 on all original steel. Done professionally. No bondo. This is Grenada gold by the way. I’m happy and surprised to see where bidding is on this because I’m ready to sell mine if I can get 30. Really fun ride but I’m in the process of upgrading my collection to rarer beasts.

    Like 3
  6. JAMES W ALLEN

    I had the identical GTO, same color, except mine was a 455. Bought it for 1800 in 72, was in the service and got transferred to St Thomas in 73, where the speed limit was 35 so I sold for 2800 and and the guy sent it to Antigua

  7. Macfly

    Pros:
    Nobody stuck a judge wing and stripes on it (yet) and it looks like a decent driver.
    Cons:
    Clearly has had mice living in the headliner and that isn’t the only place they’ve been. Looks like it’s been sitting neglected for a long time under poor conditions.
    Nice car but it’s going to need a lot of work.

    Like 1

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