Performance And Luxury: 1970 Pontiac GTO 455

1970 was a very good year for muscle cars. Any of the 1968 – 1972 GM A-bodies are among my personal favorites. I’ve had several Chevelles, a couple of GTO’s and a Buick GSX from that era. The performance and handling are good, and being intermediate in size and having full frames, the ride quality is quite good, too. This 1970 GTO is well equipped with the numbers-matching 455 engine, automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, and factory air conditioning. It’s located in Sebastian, Florida and is listed here on Craigslist for $24,000 or best offer.

This GTO is in good unrestored condition. It looks like the right quarter panel has suffered a slight scrape. That’s the only body damage I’ve detected. The only rust the owner has found is a small spot on the bottom of the left front fender under the rocker molding where debris collected. Fortunately, this car never had a vinyl top, so no rusty roof. I’m not sure what color that is but my guess is Baja Gold. The seller has the original build sheet and Pontiac Historical Services documents to prove the car came equipped as represented. Documentation is always good to have and does add some value.

The trunk is often a problem area in these cars. This one looks about as solid as they come. A lot of time an effort is saved when starting a restoration with a good, solid car like this one. Lesser cars can be bought for less money but in the end, your not really saving money by buying cars that need a lot of panel replacement. They’re more desirable with the original body panels, too.

The ad makes no mention of how many miles are showing on the odometer. My guess is that the mileage is not excessive. Usually, the driver’s seat is the first thing to go in the interior. What I can see of the driver’s seat looks good along with the rest of the interior. There are spray dyes available that would make the dash pad, glove box door, and console look brand new. The carpet will probably have to be replaced. It looks like it’s beyond saving.

Speed equipment is usually an indication of severe usage and abuse. That’s the reason I like to see cars just like this under the hood, in unmolested original condition. That’s a good indication this car was used simply as transportation. It’s good to see all the original air conditioning equipment intact. Air conditioning on this car adds probably 10-15% to the value. If this car could be bought in the low $20k range, someone who does their own body and paintwork could have a mighty nice car for under $30,000. It should make money at that price. Who’s tempted to take the plunge?

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  1. RoughDiamond Member

    I purchased one of these ’70 GTOs in the early 80s from the original owner. It had the factory 455 Turbo 400 with the Ram Air option (rare then and certainly now) and as I recall was Pepper Green Poly (dark green metallic) with a black vinyl top and dark green interior. While that color combination was mediocre at best, I truly wish I had kept that car. My parents sold it to a fella in Atlanta when I went off to basic training.

    The GTO kept me from going to jail one night when I was young and dumb and got stopped by a State Trooper for drag racing another car over a two-lane bridge. As the Trooper approached the car on foot and knowing there were several fresh empty beer cans in the driver’s side rear floorboard, I knew I was going to jail. He asked for my license and registration and I kept facing forward as much as possible so he would not pass out beside the car from the alcohol fumes enveloping him. They must have somehow miraculously swirled in a pattern away from his nose because any second I expected him to say “OK, step out of the car!” The GTO was in Park and just idling at which time the lumpy Isky cam really got his attention just loping along. He stood there with my license and registration and commented on how “bad” the engine sounded and then started talking about his ’58 Corvette. Finally, he stepped back into his Trooper role, handed me my license and registration and got all serious. He said he was only going to give me a warning citation that day, but to never ever let him catch me drag racing or acting a fool in a car again.

  2. dgrass

    Those carpets looks completely serviceable, as does the rest of the car. No reason to dye or replace anything, just enjoy it as is.

    My only questions would be, if this is all original, where are all the badging elements? (fenders, hood, ect) Second, where is the rocker trim?

    • Newport Pagnell

      Judging by the paint conditon,those decals were probably vaporized by the Florida sun. Looks like the rocker trim was removed to inspect for rust. Grille GTO is there. I believe that was the only metal badge by ’70.

  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Love this car. If you’re going to have a GTO with an auto, get one like this. Big block power, AC, power accessories, subdued color…cruise it around and when that ricer with a fart cannon comes up beside you, bury the skinny pedal and watch them disappear in the rear view mirror

    Price seems beyond very reasonable for old school muscle in this condition

    • Rick Rothermel

      That makes perfect sense. Let the torque do the work. ’70 was the pinnacle of muscle car development for GM and this one looks right if a little mild. Small item, no ‘big block’ Pontiac, ever. From 287 to 455 the castings were all the same external dimensions.

  4. jw454

    My personal favorite of all the GTOs. I had a 1970 400 4 speed and was too young to appreciate it. Just one of my poor automotive decisions. It was a mess following my ownership.
    Anyway, this one has been for sale for 2 months. If it was a fair deal it would have been sold by now. There must be a reason.


      $30k is the reason

  5. Troy s

    Like the lack of badges, give it more of a stealthy look especially in that color. But then again when big money is at stake…
    Top dog for ’70 was the RA IV 400 in the old goat, unlike the other GM’s who took full advantage of the larger displacement engines. Odd.
    Got to ask Bobby, which ’70 did you like the best? My money is on the killer Buick GSX! Plus, there is no photo of the engine here but one on the CL add.

  6. John Mailman B

    I’ve always wanted a GTO, my cousin owned the same car when I was a kid, his was the ram air IV, turbo 400, 4.11 gears with black top… he was a class winner with it at Raceway Park and due to his success I was not allowed to buy a 67 GTO…as to my parents GTO meant “race car” I was only 15 and needed their approval to buy….you have to watch the frame corners on these right past the firewall…subject to rust through…could be the reason why it hasn’t sold…

  7. Jim

    Its (today) a 4500-6500$ car depending where you are in the US. I grew up a Pony car guy (Firebird 400, several HO 455 Trans Ams, Boss 302, etc) I routinely turned down GTO’s and big block Chevelles because to me they were huge, lumbering, gas guzzling hulks, and didnt handle well. I did take in an ultra rare LS6 Chevelle in Forest Green, white stripes/interior in trade for one of my T/A’s that due to today’s inflated muscle car market I wish I had kept… but, in the fuel crunch of the late 70’s, early 80’s, no one could afford to drive them! But back to the GTO.. to say with no Ram Air, and a hi-mileage , presumed worn out drivetrain that its worth 24k is ludicrous. I am today shopping aggressively for a GTO Judge, knowing I will have to pay a premium if its optioned… but I have turned down, and turn down regularly similar base model GTO’s like the above example for FAR less money. Watching Gas Monkey or similar shows, and seeing these garages “pay” (its scripted TV folks) tens of thousands of dollars for rusty hulks is not helping the hobby, and is not realistic in any way. It only serves to make people ask outrageous prices for basic, ordinary stuff.

  8. Glen Riddle

    Sadly this car will be a Judge “clone” within a year.

  9. Boss351

    This was almost exactly like my first car back in 1977 except that I had the smaller displacement motor. That should be Baja Gold as faded over the years. I like it but it seems overpriced for the work needed to bring it back to its former glory.

    I wish I still had this GTO today as I think I only paid $1,200 for mine back in ’77.

  10. Steve

    It seems to me that in the condition this car is in it is worth about half the asking price.

  11. Steve

    Does anyone else find it odd that the seller doesnt bother to mention whether the engine even RUNS, much less if the car runs and drives.

    • Allen

      Read the Craigslist ad. “runs, drives, and stops good”

      • Steve

        oops. it does

  12. Pete

    I think the car is perfect. To nice to restore other than mechanicals. You could have a blast in that car. I honestly don’t think the price is bad if it is as authentic as advertized. You could pay far more for much less.

  13. Dan

    I rode around in the Lemans Tempest version of this back in High school. I say Tempest because inside the glove box door it had an official looking sticker that said “Tempest”. Everywhere else on the car said Lemans. It had a 428 motor from a I believe, a mid to late sixties Catalina in it. We lost control of it one rainy night and slid sideways into a high standing curb and bent the rear control arms. It also tweaked the frame. I remember he pulled the motor and junked the car. Here’s the pic of the other one he bought later in life. We still hang out and cruise the car.

  14. Dan

    Another pic.


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