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Quonset Hut Find: 1972 Pontiac GTO 455 H.O.

Ouch! That’s the first thing that came to my mind upon spying this 1972 Pontiac GTO. To make matters worse, it’s an H.O. version, one of only 645 assembled in ’72. There’s no backstory included in the listing but one has to imagine that a long solitary stay probably started years ago when the values for such a steed were much more subdued. Salvageable? Of course, everything is for a price; it’s more a matter of finding someone with the motivation (and deep pockets) to take the project on. Squirreled away in Rapid City, South Dakota, this late example of Pontiac’s iconic muscle car is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $4,500.

The GTO seemed to be trending downward in popularity by 1972. It was no longer its own model – now just an option package on the Le Mans, and, according to Hemmings, only 5,807 left Poncho assembly lines. Before moving indoors, this goat spent quite a bit of outdoor time and the body shows it in places. Note the passenger side quarter, at first glance, it looks as if a tarp was partially covering the rear section of this car and water got trapped under it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hole rusted through a quarter-panel in quite the location that’s occurred here. Of course, it could be gunfire too…

Then again, the seller mentions a gas tank fire so maybe that’s what befell this, at one-time, speedy hardtop. The lack of a trunk floor speaks volumes to that problem. Anyway, the rest of the body seems mostly complete but this one is going to need a thorough inspection to develop a full assessment.

The most notable aspect of this Tin Indian was its engine, a 300 net HP 455 CI V8, channeling get-up-and-go through a Muncie four-speed manual transmission. Both are now sadly missing.

So let’s see, a gas tank fire knocks out the rear window, the car is left to fend for itself in the harsh South Dakota winter and that explains the interior’s deleterious condition. The backseat and carpet are gone but at least the missing rug reveals the floors, in the front anyway, and they still look mostly usable. What’s left of the upholstery is just a suggestion of what was once in place and I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen a dashpad undo itself the way the one in this interior is conducting itself.

This is just plain sad! That 300 net HP V8 engine was a real thumper by 1972 standards and it is what really made the GTO that year. After ’72, Pontiac’s famed muscle car moved to the bloated colennade body style, for just one year, and then got demoted to the Ventura (AKA Nova). Fortunately, it was put out of its misery after 1974 but rode again in ’04-’06 courtesy of the Holden Monaro. That vintage was impressive but didn’t sell too well, so ’72 appears to have marked the end of the line for this venerable muscle model. It would be great to see this H.O. variant rolling America’s highways and byways once again but I have my doubts, how about you?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo JCA Member

    Shill bidder alert

    Like 13
  2. Avatar photo Terrry

    They should have let the fire finish its job.

    Like 42
  3. Avatar photo Dan

    Parts car at best. It would’ve been nice to see that engine, wonder why there aren’t pictures of it.

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo Terrry

      Five will get you ten there ain’t no engine. There are a lot of parts and pieces gone besides.

      Like 5
      • Avatar photo Charlie

        They said engine and Muncie transmission are missing

        Like 10
      • Avatar photo Bri Bri

        Bad enough, this was one of the UGLIEST gto’s to begin with…
        stuck a fork in her, she’s DONE.

        Like 3
    • Avatar photo Steve R

      The description in the eBay listing states there is no engine or transmission.

      Steve R

      Like 14
    • Avatar photo Kelsey

      Engine gone… read the article.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Greg

      The write up says no engine or trans. Just read it.

      Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Mike B

    Maybe not gun fire OR gas tank fire. Maybe gun fire then gas tank fire. That showed it. Or him.

    Like 5
  5. Avatar photo Nostromo

    Some Ship of Theseus alchemy needed here.

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo John L Nichols

    Have a long time friend who had a ’72 GTO when we were in high school, graduated ’76, the 400 cid version. We played with the carb jets, advance weights and beat 455 Trans Ams and assorted others. It was a well optioned car, had the build sheet in it, limited slip, turbo 400 trans that we put a shift kit in. If you weren’t careful you might up the rear wheels and literally smoke the tires, chirp 3rd. Silver metallic, black vinyl interior and roof. Miss that car, this one would have been a beast, wondering if it will make it back on the road. Imagine that 455 with a decent street cam, good blueprinting, mappable fuel injection, scarry.

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo BA

    All Pontiac 455’s can be built to H.O. standard it’s just a matter of crank, heads , cam & carburetor so no weeping in the back row for this one, he’s probably doing burnouts in heaven already!

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Steve R

      Don’t forget to include the block which featured 4 bolt mains, factory aluminum intake and long branch HO specific exhaust manifolds. That doesn’t include the Ram Air air cleaner.

      Steve R

      Like 10
      • Avatar photo $ where mouth is

        Ya, i was gonna say..
        a 70 455HO was an epic engine.

        When i first read the post heading i said outloud: “what !, really ! ”
        and said to myself, ok, what am i gonna sell to get this.
        Then i saw the pic and the no engine and.. .
        my heart still, pumping, caught my breath and sighed.
        If this were mostly complete ?!, what an awesome barn find it woulda been.
        I LOVE 71/2 goats and a 455HO is a dream machine.
        Though, to be honest, id prefer a custom GTO wagon build.
        The front clip (and tags) on this sad legend looks solid n straight,, would make someone a GTO; hmmm
        Thanks for the tease BFs

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Jim ODonnell Staff

        It wasn’t a tease on my part, I left the “455” facet out of the title. It got “edited” and added to the title line which I think is misleading. This is nothing more, now, than a “yousetabee”.

        Sorry!

        JO

        Like 3
  8. Avatar photo Joe Stumpfoll

    Asking too much for a car that has nothing left

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Frog

      Whomever the buyer is for this abomination send him my way. I have something to sell them.

      Like 8
      • Avatar photo Rhino Jones

        Whoever.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Frog

        Retired English school teacher rhino?

        Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Steve Weiman

    Another WW5 car here.How sad……
    I suppose there have been Hemi cars this bad that have been brought back. This is hemi territory in the Pontiac world, maybe there is somebody out there with an incredible parts stash and a lot of ambition……….

    Like 2
  10. Avatar photo John Zeglin

    I think it said the underhood ram air pan was there?

    Malkerson Motors of Shakopee MN was a reasonably well know Twin City’s Pontiac Dealer and was only about 20 miles from me. This car sure was a bare bones car. Our area is known for rust as we use lots of road salt. The Rapid City area would have been much better if the car was still clean when it ended up there. Does not look like that was the case.

    I never cared much for 71-72 GTO’s but for some reason the last few years that changed some and I did watch some really nice examples go thru the big boys auctions and the values sure have gone up. There have been several I would have really loved to have bought but it did not work out for me.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Steve Weiman

      Bare Bones…… actually it isn’t. Look up: WW5 GTO on the net. It is $700+ performance- handling option above the initial $350+ for the GTO option. WW5 is the holy Grail performance option of all GTO‘s and incredibly rare.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo John Zeglin

        That is true, as that “package” did include a lot more than just performance upgrades. I do correct myself with my previous statement.

        Like 1
  11. Avatar photo DON

    The holes in the quarter panel are likely from a fireman’s pike , the damage done to the trunk was also likely done by the firemen trying to pop it open to spray water inside it. Fire changes the integrity of steel, and this one is well beyond saving. Take the front clip, the bucket seat frames , the clutch pedals and the sport mirrors and crush the rest -and of course someone will take the vin plates too…

    Like 3
  12. Avatar photo Faroutfreak

    I miss my 69 Judge, it had the 400 ci but after Rat Motors got done it was pushing 600+hp ( in 1982 ) , Car would burn the back tires off if you didn’t let up ( did it once, once was enough ) ended up selling it when a Circuit Judge took my License ” as long as you own that car ” but it went to a guy who’s dad owned a Restoration shop, I still see it at local shows

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo drdfblackm

    Mint!!!!!

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo Richie

    Very, very restoreable!! I have seen a lot worse. I hope it gets revived.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo BONE

      Not very, very restorable at all , its missing its drivetrain for one , its severely rusted out , and its severely burned – the steel has been compromised by the heat and it will never be the same. Of course if you replaced the frame, the drivetrain, the interior , most of the body panels and nearly every other part of this car it could be restored, but it will never be a matching numbers car, and you would have way more money in it than a another 72 GTO in great shape. The only way this will be “restored” is by someone swapping the vin plates to a LeMANS and cloning it into a GTO and claiming its original

      Like 5
  15. Avatar photo C Force

    Not worth the time,not worth the $$$$.It’s a scrapper….

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Tman

      Just another “Ran when parked”. Or Sure was nice when it was new! And my take on an old classic rock song “All the car is Rust in the Wind”.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo JC

        And all your money won’t another minute buy….lol.

        Like 3
  16. Avatar photo HC Member

    What a damn shame. The 455 engine and 4 speed Muncie were the biggest assets to this GTO and without them its not of much value in this condition, unless a buyer has a similar engine and trans laying around his shop.

    Like 2
  17. Avatar photo Fordomanic

    At this stage the GTO was back to it’s roots where it started in ’64 as an option package on a Lemans rather than being its own line, as it was later in life. Still, with a 455, 4 speed and production numbers in the 600 unit range, this particular car is intriguing – albeit daunting at the same time. The storage facility – with dirt floor – probably finished what the fire started but my guess is that there is a Poncho fanatic somewhere with stars in his/her eyes….

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo RichardinMaine

    Nothing but a third-rate idea of what once was, a long , long time ago, a Pontiac GTO H.O.

    Like 0
  19. Avatar photo Telcotech

    Send it to the crusher after saving some glass, front clip, and any other items that are sellable…

    Like 1
  20. Avatar photo Davey Boy

    Da## shame. As much as I like the GTO of any year. (In it’s own way) this one would have to be a labor of love and someone would have to have a direct connection with this exact year because it’ll cost at least a wheelbarrow full of hundred dollar bills to bring this one back to life. Hope someone just has the need to see this one saved. Hate to see any rare vehicle gone because as they say, “When they’re gone, they’re gone.”

    Like 1
  21. Avatar photo jc

    Can that thing truly still be considered a car… looks like a few usable parts is all it is.

    Like 1
  22. Avatar photo johnj

    Hang new sheet metal from the doors back and back half the frame. Mini or full tub job so it can live on as a pro street or drag car. Would save a rare car from being parted and scrapped, and maybe save a better GTO or Lemans from getting cut up and modified. Drag and pro street guys gut the rear half of the car anyway and add frame and cage so the sheet metal no longer has to add structure. Some time later in its life when its worth more and no longer a basket case someone with deep pockets may even take it back to stock. Even spending the rest of its life as a drag car would be better than scrapping it.

    Like 3

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