Original 389 Tri-Power: 1964 Pontiac GTO

For most muscle enthusiasts, our feature car represents the Holy Grail. Many consider the 1964 Pontiac GTO as the father of the muscle car scene, and the original owner ordered this one with the best of everything. Not only did they select one of the more desirable paint shades, but they equipped it with the most potent drivetrain combination offered. Following a meticulous restoration, it presents in as-new condition. All it needs is a new home and an owner who will appreciate all it offers. The seller has listed the GTO here on eBay in Fairfield, Ohio. The bidding has raced to $50,877, although this is short of the reserve.

This GTO ticks many of the right boxes for potential buyers considering investing a significant sum on a classic car purchase. It has a known ownership history, with the seller becoming its fourth owner in 2010. It has led a reasonably protected existence, but they elected to undertake a frame-off restoration to return it to its former glory. The process proved easier than for some cars because it retains all of its original sheetmetal. It has no history of prior rust or accident repairs, so once the steel had been stripped and massaged to perfection, the seller applied a glorious coat of the original Grenadier Red paint. It shines beautifully, with no flaws or defects worth mentioning. The floors and frame received a coat of Black and appear clean enough to eat off. The exterior trim sparkles as impressively as the paint, including the original deluxe wheel covers on the factory steel wheels. Flawless glass rounds out an exterior that is guaranteed to draw a crowd.

The recipe for the original GTO was elegantly simple. Its creators slipped a large V8 from the company’s full-sized models under the hood of the existing intermediate LeMans. The chosen powerplant was the 389ci V8 that produced 325hp. However, for those craving more, the GTO could deliver. This car’s original owner ordered it with the 389 Tri-Power motor that churned out an official 348hp. Having all the power in the world is pointless if you can’t use it, so the original owner specified the four-speed manual transmission, Safe-T-Track rear end, and power steering. An entry-level GTO could storm the ¼ mile in 14.6 seconds, but this car drops that figure to 14.4 seconds. The seller indicates this GTO is numbers-matching. Its engine bay presents as impressively as the rest of the vehicle, with no evidence of neglect or fluid leaks. The seller doesn’t supply specific information on the car’s mechanical health, but their approachable nature suggests they should be happy to answer questions on the subject.

Apart from some aftermarket gauges to monitor the health of the powerhouse under the hood, this GTO’s interior appears original and unmolested. The original owner ordered it trimmed in Light Saddle vinyl, with a console, sports wheel, two-speed wipers, and an AM radio. The upholstered surfaces show the hallmarks of a classic treated with respect. There are no signs of wear or physical damage. The same applies to the carpet, dash, pad, and headliner. I examined the supplied photos carefully, and the only flaw I could spot was a crack in the wheel. It would be worth investigating restoration because replacement wheels are eye-wateringly expensive. A fully restored original wheel leaves no change from $2,500, although I have seen them advertised for considerably more. Otherwise, the interior needs nothing.

For Pontiac, the development and release of the GTO represented a leap of faith. It was attempting to tap into a largely untested market, and the result could have been a sales disaster. However, the opposite proved the case. The initial sales projections of 5,000 cars proved well short of the mark, with 32,450 rolling off showroom floors. The buying public had assessed what the GTO offered and voted overwhelmingly with their wallets. When I look at the overall condition and specifications of this 1964 Pontiac GTO, I’m unsurprised that it has attracted fifty bids. I’m also not surprised that it remains short of the reserve for all that activity. It presents superbly, and its drivetrain combination is the best that money could buy in that model year. I expect the bidding to climb to around $65,000 before it hits the reserve, although the final sales figure could be higher if the right people demonstrate enough determination. If the hammer falls on a successful sale, someone will become the owner of one of the most iconic vehicles to roll off an American production line. I can’t see a downside to that, can you?

Comments

  1. Greg Gustafson

    When we were in high school, a friend of mine had one of these, appointed like this one, and we used to bomb around in it. At the time, I predicted these would become the next “55 Chevy”. So much for predictions; still, a beautiful car!

    Like 7
  2. RoughDiamond Member

    There’s not much to say here except this ’64 Goat is stunning and that color combination with the red and saddle interior is not one I would have picked, but it sure works. I would have ditched the aftermarket tach for the presentation though. There’s no doubt someone is going to be very happy as the winning bidder.

    Like 5
  3. Steve Weiman

    Fantastic in every way, even kept the original full wheel covers! Then I saw that saddle interior(?!) I had no idea that interior color was even available in 64, this is the first I’ve ever seen. Stunning combination, top shelf 1st GTO……

    Like 7
  4. Glenn Reynolds

    Wasn’t “exhaust splitters” part of the GTO package? Two pipes exiting on each side.

    Like 3
  5. Jay McCarthy

    I always thought that while tri power was an option didn’t the dealership actually install the intake and carbs

    • Rick Rothermel

      The tri-power was a factory install for the GTOs. You may be thinking of the earlier Pontiac performance parts designed for racing. The earlier Super Duty parts were indeed shipped in the trunks of their target vehicles.

    • Rex B Schaefer

      Nope!

  6. Jackie Hollingsworth

    Love It……….

    Like 1
  7. 19sixty5 Member

    Pretty sweet ’64. The exhaust splitters were optional, not part of the GTO package. They were available on any V8 dual exhaust Tempest/LeMans with the exception of the station wagons. Tri-Power was a factory installed option, however due to its popularity, many were installed by the dealer or simply sold over the counter to enthusiasts. Other than the crack in the steering wheel Adam addressed, this is indeed a nice 64.

    Like 2
  8. Rob Meyer

    That’s one beautiful GTO. I checked them out back in 64 but decided to go with a 64 421 HO tri power Bonneville convertible with Muncie M21 close ratio 4 speed and 4:10 rear. Ran 13.9 a 103.5 at National Speedway stock.

    Like 5
    • bigbird

      My cousin had one just like you described. It was so long you took 2-photos and put them together. All leather with air, 421HO, single 4-brl. It was very fast, had long legs when rolling. When you were on it in 2nd,3rd and 4th you could watch the gas gauge move toward empty.

      Like 4
      • Rob Meyer

        My car was geared for the drags with the 4:10 rear. Went through the traps at National tacking 6300. Cruising at 55 I was turning 3500 rpm. When behaving running on the center carb only I managed 10 to 11 mpg on Sunoco 260.

      • Bill Potts

        I owned a 1961 Pontiac Bonneville,slim Jim automatic,4bbl Carter AFB. Everytime I stepped on the gas,the gauge would go to empty,and then back to normal. That meant everytime you accelerated you burned gas. It got maybe 10 mpg.

  9. Russ Ashley

    Man, guys my age (80) had it good when we were young and foolish. The girls looked good, and the cars did too, and you could walk into a dealer and drive out with something like this for well under $4K. What’s that saying about wasted youth? Well, those cars and those girls accounted for a lot of that. This GTO is a real creampuff, but for all of it’s beauty it somehow doesn’t really make me lust for it. I think it’s the color combination. I think the optional wheel covers that had a three bar spinner would also add some character to it, maybe with red line tires too, but I won’t be buying it, so my opinion doesn’t really matter anyway.

    Like 4
  10. Wayne

    The first time I rode in a GTO was 1966. It was a 1964 389 3 deuces, 4.11, possi, Seafoam green metallic (I don’t know the official Pontiac name of the color) With white interior and white Convertible top. I was driven by a school buddies Dad who was a stock car racer. He picked us up from an REO (Our local band) concert and trying to get out into traffic was a real exercise in patience. (which Dad did not have)To say that he made his own hole in traffic AFTER making a hole to cross 2 lanes first was exciting would not even come close. It was SCARY! But incredibly impressive! I was an instant fan. (My Dad had a 1958 Corvette with a 4.11 posi also, so I was somewhat used to hard accelerating cars.) But the Goat was just too cool and fast for words.

    Like 1

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