Questionable Deal: 1964 Pontiac GTO Convertible

This GTO seems to be a great candidate for restoration but the deal seems questionable. It’s is offered on eBay in Saint Johnsville, New York. This convertible was purchased by the seller’s uncle and is completely original. The purchase includes documentation including the “Ident-o-plate”. However, there is no proof offered that this is a numbers matching car. What you must also purchase with your GTO is the full “restored to a #1 or concours” restoration by an unknown shop. The seller does not even reveal the name of his shop. Bidding is already over $25,000 with reserve not yet met.

This is the only other picture of the car included. Selling a car this way is a great opportunity for the seller but a huge gamble for the buyer. The buyer can make payments in stages but what happens if the shop goes out of business or never finishes the restoration? The restoration could drag on for years. The Chevy parked next to the GTO is a nice tease and could provide an idea of the quality of restoration being offered, whether the work is good or bad.

Basically, it comes down to being forced to buy the restoration work if you want the car so the buyer should inspect not only the car but other restorations the seller has done. The seller does not reveal the name of the shop, so the buyer can’t even check their reputation. Is the shop really capable of performing #1 concours restoration? Have they ever done one? I think perhaps the best thing to do in this case is to click the “back to search results” button and move on.

Fast Finds


  1. Dave Member

    Seems to be a well-optioned car. Can’t wait to hear how this turns out…

  2. Fred W.

    Might end up being a great deal if you truly got a #1 restoration. But…how many shops in the US are truly capable of that? What are the chances this is one of them?

    • Pookie Jamie P

      Looks like a job for Dan Short of Fantomworks

  3. 63Comet

    Way too shady. If you are selling the work, provide the name of the shop. I not only avoid stuff like this but tell others to avoid it. Transparency is absolutely necessary in the auto restoration business. Take the Camaro Count’s Kustoms bought sight unseen on one of their shows, a Camaro billed as “restored.” That’s one example. We’ve all seen shoddy slap jobs passed off as “restored.” This has “Buyer Beware” written across it in all caps.

  4. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Seller should furnish a PHS report. Car is probably what Seller states, but that condition where the Buyer is being forced to let this fella restore it could be a messy situation. What if he suddenly dies and owes creditors? I’m sure you’d get your car back, but what could happen to it or the rare parts before that took place.

  5. Don

    Run away from it .He should restore it then sell it.

  6. Rock On Member

    Agree Don 👍.

  7. P2d

    Trust me. I know exactly how to spend YOUR money.

  8. mark

    Perfect deal for the person who has $50,000 or so laying around to waste………………

  9. Kenny

    A little internet research and I came up with this:

    American Classic Muscle Restorations
    John/ Judy Swartz
    127 Clay Hill Road Saint Johnsville, NY 13452

    • Steven

      That Chevy look close at it , as that really looks to be a 62 or 61

  10. GEORGE

    some dummy is going to get a good screwing

    • Steven

      You got that right , zoom in on this GTO an see the Rusty holes in the quarter panels an likely the front door jams perhaps the floors rusty..

    • Captain

      Well, 63Comet. You really missed the boat on this one. The name of the shop is American Classic Muscle Restorations. They are a small shop that turns out #1 cars, or lesser if you desire. They have the trophies to prove it. The deal was totally transparent. All you had to do was ASK!

  11. Mark

    A #1 restoration would easily exceed the value of the resulting car. Reminds me of the poor guy who bought a rust-free survivor FJ-40 off eBay and had some jokers on the other side of the country “restore” it. After a couple years of excuses and frequent requests for “just a little more” cash, he ended up $60K in the hole on a job that was amateur at best. Wherever there is money to be made, there is fraud. A legit shop would be proud of their work and their name would be all over the AD.

    • 63Comet


    • Dave

      Mark, I agree, the cost of ANY #1 restoration exceeds the ‘value’ of the car…

      BUT… this is not just ANY ’64 Goat. … It is not only complete and in decent condition to start, it has incredible supplements to it’s history

      As to the idea of it being a risk…every car that goes to a shop is at a similar risk, and I have seen many shops get too deep into a customers pockets and not complete the job, or cheat at the end.

      I think the naysayer commenters are not customers for ANY real #1 car …. and those comments are not worthy of someone passing by this opportunity by, who IS desirable of having a car of this caliber, and willing to put big bucks down… Too many negative comments about this car, by people who have never owned a 50k+ Classic are unfounded.
      Heck, dummies spend all kinds of money at Auctions and REALLY DON”T KNOW WHAT the car really WAS before restoration… here you KNOW you are getting a one-owner , special order , highly desirable vehicle..

      Anyone in this six-figure price range can fly before they buy…

      .and as someone who has bought and paid for numerous expensive cars without seeing them first…… my only question would be the quality of the cars this guy has already completed… THAT would be the reason for flying up there.

      • James

        Buy it and tell us how it worked out.

      • olddavid

        Dear Dave – you are wrong. But you are entitled to your opinion.

  12. CCFisher

    A successful, reputable shop would have the cash to do the restoration first, leaving two possibilities: 1) this isn’t offered by a successful, reputable shop, or 2) restoring this car does not represent an opportunity for profit (as others have noted).

    This is a case of a fool and his money, yada, yada, yada.

    • Dave

      ” A successful, reputable shop would have the cash to do the restoration first”
      I disagree… Many reputable shops do not have 75k+ “available” to do a car like this…..

      • CCFisher

        75+k really shouldn’t be all that much for a shop capable of doing a concours restoration. Since you seem to think we’re all paupers, why don’t you buy it and show us nobodies how a real man loses a bundle!

        You’re right about one thing, though. I am not a customer for a concours car. I like to drive my cars, not stare at them while they gather dust in the garage.

  13. Ikey Heyman

    Hey, Mr. Seller: the correct word is “concours” – it is French in origin and the “s” is silent. You pronounce it “con-cor.” If you are a restoration expert, you should know that and should not be using the word “concourse” – unless you’re at the airport. Don’t want to sound like a stuffed shirt here but it’s another reason for me to question this guy’s credentials.

    • Don

      I’m bet he uses the best Barn paint there is and the best paint brushes to.!

      • Adam T45 Staff

        Candy Apple Beige….and a new brush to apply it!

  14. erikj

    Boy I don’t like to critic, others but weird to sell a vehicle for a RESTORED value before the restoration is done. This goat looks like a great one to restore. I’m concerned with the sellers method -sounds flaky . If he does not get his price will he part it out to make a few bucks, then another piece of auto history is gone. Not much of the real steel left.

  15. geomechs geomechs Member

    This one makes me very nervous. Why not sell it as is instead? I’d have to pass this one up just because the seller isn’t giving me the option of restoring it myself or letting me choose my own restoration shop….

    Like 1
  16. packrat

    I looked at the listing. To play devil’s advocate, there may actually be an uncle in this couple’s family with this clingy request. So, I’m okay going with it being a family owned vehicle. It also seems fairly rare, really good starting point, etc.

    He does offer for you to “watch the car being restored at every stage”, which is easier said than done unless you A. you are a wealthy idle retiree with frequent flyer miles and/or B. living across town in Saint Johnsville, New York.

    IMO It would’ve been better for him to have not made the customer dig for info: ‘I am John Swartz, this is my shop, here are my credentials, What I mean by concours restoration is the commonly accepted definition of same including items 1., 2., 3., … here are examples of my work shown by third parties.’… However, that is only if the end goal is an ebay sale, and not the Long Game.

    A core benefit of this listing is in the promotion of this offering as a finished product after the fact. He says he plans to restore it himself, and auction it at Barrett-Jackson when it doesn’t make reserve…He says if, rather than when, of course. Just trying to make a bigger splash when this glamour girl hits the auction floor, and you can’t fault a man for that. It will be good for business to maximize the ‘tummel’ before the reveal on his final product at MBJ. It promotes The Big Ask at The Big Ask Place. The venue comes with free publicity, a larger check, added street cred, and glossy pics for the brag wall where you meet your clients. What’s not to like.

    Another thought: The type of person who can afford a checkbook restoration of this magnitude is usually of the tribe who is perpetually engaged elsewhere and must needs be absentee to the effort. The seller has demonstrated a willingness to provide transparency in an online auction forum, which has a reassuring effect on the upper echelon buyers within the automotive restoration market. That’s a really good add to the MBJ auction listing when everything’s buttoned down, and the time for bidders to see what’s under the oil pan, valve covers, rocker panels, door cards and carpeting has come and gone.

    The Marketing Game is strong in this one.

    • Glen

      Your a “glass- half- full” kinda guy, I’m more “this sounds like a bad idea” kinda guy!

  17. Don

    If someone wants this car .And it does look like a great car let them buy it and let them have it restored at the place they want our do it there self .

  18. Robert White

    This looks to be a set up in so far as the buyer will be on the hook for every cost that the shop can attach to the final bill of sale. Extras will be added with markups on every extra sold. If the buyer does not like the add ons & ‘extras’ they will be forced to recoup costs in a court of law. The un-named ‘shop’ will attach a Mechanic’s Lien forcing the buyer to cough up way more dough than they had ever intended. Not a stellar buy IMHO.


  19. A.J.

    This is about as bad an idea as I can think of. And I will guarantee that any positive comments about this particular way of selling the car have NEVER had a car professionally restored. The car and the restoration are two different things (kind of like morons that buy whole life policies) and combining them is a recipe for disaster. If you don’t know why see my second sentence above.

    Otherwise, I think this is a 30k car all on its own. A 100k restored perfectly. Restoration would be 100-150k depending on the shop. Where is the profit?

  20. Rod

    This is a good marketing ploy by the shop. They sell the car and get the work without putting out a large investment (likely due to the fact that they know it will take more of an investment than the return will provide). This is smart but scary for all the reasons stated above. Anyone who is serious about this car should jump on the first plane and check things out. Look at their shop and quality of work. Get references and check them out and so on. Any reputable place will not have a problem with it. I would also try to get some sort of guarantee on when it will be completed based on monetary penalties.

    Like 1
    • Nova Scotian

      Rod…you haven’t even bought it yet and the prospective buyer has spent a ton of time and money just verifying if the shop is legitimate. Why the hell would any reasonable person bother doing that? Been to court lately?, cause this has deal has litigation written all over it…and you would be paying for that too.

  21. bob S

    Too much stress, way too few photos. Silly proposition overall. What does the floor look like?

  22. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Well hopefuly whoever enters in to this restoration agreement will be treated fairly.
    I can’t go into any real detail, but a reputable and I mean very reputable concurs winning restoration muscle car shop has had my rare big block 4-speed car, my money in my restoration account and my NOS and very nice used parts since 2009. I was told right before the first of the year that my car would be the first one in their shop “right after” the first part of the year and when I inquired about the current status of starting work on the car two weeks ago, I was told now it won’t be before July. I’ve been made a fool of I know and that car has been a much added stressor to my 32 year marriage that is now on life support. You literally feeI like a hostage of sorts. I do wish I knew what legal actions if any I might have to get the car, my parts and the money out of my account since this shop is in southern VA and I am in a neighboring state. I will say they quit charging me storage (yee haw, right), but I can bet it will be figured into the bill somehow.

    • James

      Do you have an attorney? This sounds like breach of contract.

    • TJP

      My sympathies, and it is a story I hear way to often. A rotisserie restoration once started should take no more than 12 -18 months. The expected cost should be in the form of a detailed written estimate. Any invoices should be accompanied by an up to date spreadsheet that references the agreed to estimate.
      And no this is not a plug for my business but do feel free to call me if you’d like and I will try to help.

  23. P

    I would bank on seeing Paul Lynde Junior first

  24. Glen Riddle

    Googled these folks and came up with virtually nothing. A world class shop that has done top flight restorations would have their cars all over the net with a bunch of show iron and auction results to back up the work.

    No one with a lick of sense would buy this car under these conditions. But maybe someone will and no doubt prove the truth of the old adage about a fool and their money.

    Like 1
  25. TJP

    I would RUN, not walk from this transaction unless i was able to purchase the car at it’s current “in state” value

  26. smackin

    Wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole, and I’m a GTO guy. A real Concours job is a six figure job. Every single bolt and screw will be perfect and needs to be NOS if Concours. No repro panels or parts should be used. This car will not bring the value of the restoration cost. It has some nice options but is missing the desirable tri power. A concours car will have what it was born with, not added on parts like the tripower. I can’t recall the last tone I saw a six figure 64 Goat ragtop. It’s all the money. This is just going to be a monumental investment that the buyer has no control over, because the buyer isn’t related to the uncle who bought the car. Never mind the fact the seller won’t even name his shop. What conclude shop is afraid to mention their name? Regardless, it looks like someone will buy this based on bidding. PT Barnum had a quote about them.

    • TJP

      I am not sure what the game is but I am going to guess the seller may be trying to get E-bays exposure and sell the car without having to pay the fees. And I’ll further bet it doesn’t sell via the listing as no one in their right mind would pay his reserve which has to be well north of 100K. Only two pic’s of the car ?? My bet is as stated. ;)

    • Robert White

      W.C. Fields said…’Never give a sucker an even break.’


  27. newfieldscarnut

    Good start with an almost certain bad ending … life is too short for shenanigans …

  28. Woodie Man

    There seems to be no end to the derangement that presently afflicts sellers. At the most charitable, this guy made a promise to his Uncle. Then he should restore it. To blackmail someone into paying for the provenance and then destroy it by trying to compel a buyer to pay the seller to restore it with no parameters of money spent etc…………..well I have failed businessman and reality television star running for president I can offer you. Oh wait.

    Is the car in Lagos, Nigeria?

  29. Steven

    Only a idiot would bid on a total restoration project and seems here they don’t care how much they spend on it just too get it.. How bout just go to an Auction and buy one completely restored..

  30. DAN

    you would have better luck, picking up a turd by the clean end……

  31. Steven

    Offer a Buck $2.95 as those pics doesn’t tell its true story about this GTO as facts is being where it is your gonna find Rust from over the years past.. Looks can be deceiving!

  32. Steven

    Zoom in on this photo as lower quarter’s are with rust in them ” Holes ” now that be the floor pan likely also!

  33. Larry

    Q: What’s worse than buying a car sight unseen?

    A. Buying one and being on the hook for a full restoration from an unknown source.

    Who does that?

  34. Chevelle Tim

    this smells like a shady deal …PASS , PASS , PASS !!!

  35. stillrunners lawrence Member

    Notice the skirt pulled up ? Kinda funny how sellers always have something in the back ground of a picture – could it be an honest to godness 1961 SS Impala convertible ? Say it isn’t so Joe………….

  36. Keruth

    Ok, this car is a major rot bucket.
    ANYONE on this site who has dealt with an older ragtop knows water damage is universal in certain areas of the car (like the foot well behind the driver), even from California.
    This car will have it in spades, being born and run in a heavy salted road area doesn’t help!
    I’ve been burned on just a motor rebuild that didn’t work out so well.
    Lucky to get all the parts back.
    If I was local to the guy, maybe. Otherwise, ah, no!

  37. Dave

    A search of this property turns up an out in the country1200 sq ft home valued at 83K with what looks like a cobbled together barn off to the side. May possibly be the nicest folks you ever met, but not my idea of a professional restoration shop. This listing is a joke.

  38. Steven

    Again I must say that the lower left back quarter panel shows rust holes , then the entire car is full of it.. Back then automobile manufacturers didn’t seal off around the convertible top as it be same way with older cars with a Vinyl top rust built up around the edges.. Not saying this GTO convertible can’t be restored, but lots of new fabrication required an if in certain areas will be time consuming and only a professional shop can do that task.. Bitchin Cars project this would be or Counting Cars

  39. JohnD

    Hey it’s “certified pre-owned” according to the ad…but seriously, aren’t there plenty of restored GTOs at the monthly Mecum auction? This kind of thing is sneaky and classless and it gives airline pilots a bad name.

  40. Tom Driscoll

    Agree, the shop pictured doesn’t offer much confidence….

  41. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    The Certified pre-owned Goat did not meet the reserve. $29,601.00 top bid with 58 bids. I am really kind of shocked the bidding went that high with the baggage that went with the car. Its a shame the buyer could not purchase the car and do there own work or choose a builder themselves. Its just me, but I am happy it did not sell. Perhaps sending a message to others thinking about this marketing ploy.

  42. GTO guy

    He’s looking for a new frame elsewhere so the frame is rusted out. Better have a lot of NOS sheet metal available if that’s the case. Caveat emptor.

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