Ragtop Project: 1964 Pontiac GTO Convertible

For many, the Pontiac GTO started the muscle car movement in the mid-1960s. It was a potent mid-size automobile that enjoyed a more than 10-year run with a brief Australian-based resurrection 30 years later. Convertibles are rarer today than coupes and hardtops as only one in five GTOs built for 1964 were ragtops. This edition looks to be a rescue for which a restoration never got started. While it’s stored indoors now, that likely wasn’t the case before. It’s available in Perryville, Missouri and here on eBay where the no reserve auction stands at $7,864.

For its first two years (1964-65), the Pontiac GTO was an option package on the LeMans. It became a series of its own for 1966-71, then back to optional status in 1972-73. The last hurrah came in 1974 when it was an option on the compact-sized Ventura. The name disappeared until 2004 when it made a comeback on the Holden flatform from Down Under. John DeLorean came up with the name, inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO race car. It’s an abbreviation for Gran Turismo Omologato (“grand tourer homologated”), but most fans simply refer to it as “Gas, Tires & Oil”, or the GOAT.

The seller has listed this ’64 GTO convertible for sale on behalf of his father, who has owned it for three years. We’re guessing from its current comfortable location on a rack on top of another car that this has been a short-term mode of storage. There is still mud on the right front wheel which looks as though the car had been outdoors and the rotting top and faded seats seem to back that point up. The body doesn’t look bad from what we can tell, and you might get a shine again out of some of the red paint if you worked on it a while. The front bumper looks to have a little bend in it, while the rest may be okay. From what we can see of the undercarriage, it’s pretty crusty, another nod to the theory this was an outdoor car.

Copies of the MSRP and build sheet accompany the car, so there is a way to track it back to Day 1. It came with the 389 4-barrel V-8 and 2-speed automatic transmission, but the motor that’s in the car is not original. And there is no mention of whether it runs or not. Pontiac built just 6,600 convertibles that the first year out of a total production of 32,500. Given that so many of the GTO’s came with 4-speed transmissions, the available population of cars like this is probably pretty limited today. With the presence of a red gas can under the hood, it looks as though at least some attempt has been made to start the car.

The red interior of yesteryear has largely turned to pink as the seats have faded quite a bit over the years but aren’t cracked! Clean it up inside, recover the seats, put in some new carpeting and you might just get by, assuming the floorboards don’t have any cancer. According to the sticker, this car retailed for under $3,800 new and included power steering and brakes as some of the options. The GTO package costed less than $300.

Assuming there isn’t anything hidden to have to deal with, this car looks like a good restoration project. The GTO has the potential of being a $50,000 car according to Hagerty estimates, which range from $16,500 to $63,600, subtract ten percent for the automatic. Without a reserve, this car may be obtainable for under $10,000, which leaves room to get it back up to par.

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Comments

  1. Cadmanls Member

    Can see floor pan in gone, hard to tell what’s hiding under the trunk lid. Seller didn’t pull out that carpet for a reason. Frame may or not be intact, could be a serious money pit. Outdoor storage in the dirt can really do a car or truck in. Shame as these are cool cars. To think how we abused the cars in the early 70’s they were cheap and plentiful and fun!

    Like 8
    • 8banger David Mika Member

      Ya, looks like tin sheeting in the L front footwell…

      Like 1
  2. daniel wright

    Given the amount of mud on the tires, this thing was someplace damp.. The frame will likely crumble at a touch.

    Like 1
  3. Norman Wrensch

    That is not a two speed turbo THM 300, there is a turbo 400 in there. The THM 400 is the only hydromatic that has the vacuum modulator sticking out the right side the rest go out the back. Probably came along with the non original 389. But the THM 400 is a definite upgrade.

    Like 9
    • JoeBob

      Good observation, Norman. I had a 65 GTO convert that had been upgraded from the factory two speed to a THM 400. It was a nice upgrade. Push it just a little and it would always chirp second. If I remember correctly, my friend had to shorten the drive shaft slightly. Shift quadrant didn’t match but it didn’t matter, it was easy to tell what gear it was in.
      I wish I still had it.

      Like 2
  4. Steve R

    The seller also has a 1965 GTO convertible listed, that looks much worse at first glance with an opening bid of $20,000. That tells you all you need to know about this one.

    Steve R

    Like 3
    • Jcs

      That gold 65 is actually a pretty cool car, A/C is rare on these and the interior looks exceptionally nice. Additionally it appears to be all there.

      No one has bid $20K as of yet, that is the minimum opening bid that he will take. Might be a tad proud but someone with a body shop might step up to the plate on the 65.

      The 64 has been beat up on here enough already, nothing to add.

      Like 3
  5. Ben T.Spanner

    My Father bought a new 1964 LeMans convertible with a 326. Only $300 short of a GTO.
    The first 1964 GTO I ever saw was a Honduras Maroon 2dr post driven by a rich high school classmate. In the Fall of 1964, he was showing off while leaving a drive in restaurant on a damp brick street. He spun into a power pole and hit in front of the rear wheel so hard that the rear window popped.

    Like 4
  6. ACZ

    Had one of these in the late 70s. Ragtop with a 400 engine and a 400 turbo swapped in. I got rid of those and swapped in a tripower 421 and 4 speed out of a 63 GP. Had to use the upside-down starter and a few other tricks to make it work, but well worth the time and trouble. That car was a real hell raiser.

    Like 4
  7. Super Glide

    Buddy had one. Put a 421SD 2X4 BBL in it. Apparently if you add the HP and Torque of a 62 421SD, where a 389 used to sit, you get a bent frame on a convertible. When you have a delicate doily frame of a rusted field car, the frame will probably break with a larger displacement Poncho motor.

    I had a 64 GTO with the 389 with a Tempest Torque 2-speed. I even got beat by the ice cream truck…(Beach Boys, No Go Show Boat).

    This car could be Heart Aches By the Numbers and you should walk away Renee.

    Although I have seen worse turn into something gorgeous. If you do the work yourself, and can weld, it could be a really satisfying endeavor.

    Like 2
  8. Stan Marks

    $$$$$ pit!!

    Like 2
  9. JonArd

    A friend’s mom bought a ’67 four-speed, red with black vinyl top … my dad had a ’64 Galaxie XL with 390 auto … it would get rubber in second gear and beat him in the quarter mile every time …

  10. MNH

    I asked for very specific information on the condition of the trunk and floor area and condition of the frame and he was very evasive. His feed back is 100% positive on 175 items but all but 2 he was the buyer. Of the two where he was the seller they occurred about 12 months ago, so there is that. He did state that trunk and floors need to be replaced but NOTHING said about the frame. He claims he is selling it for his father which is the first line of defense when being evasive. He claims he knows nothing about body work which is the second line of defense when being evasive. He says it might still run. He has two pictures of one side of the engine but no pictures of the ever elusive trunk.. His profile picture shows a very nice pick up truck so I get confused when he claims he knows little about the car and does not know anything about body work. Hmm? He stated to me in his response that this is a good price for the car and that they bring crazy money when restored. yea… maybe… but they cost crazy money to restore too. Worse still when you buy a pig in a poke. I don’t know. It may be a good deal, but his non description and defensive evasiveness bodes foreboding. The paperwork does not reflect the actual condition of the car. For somebody who buys so much on eBay I wish he would apply that instinct to describing a car he’s selling in the same market.

    Like 2
    • Stan Marks

      Seems there are a lot of unsavory sellers out there, who can’t be totally up front. You just don’t know who to trust, these days.

      Like 1

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