Rare 4-Speed Goat: 1973 Pontiac LeMans GTO

UPDATE: After featuring this GTO, the seller was got bombarded with inquiries so they pulled the listing. Now that “the smoke has cleared”, they have relisted it here on eBay – presumably with a higher reserve. Will it find a new home this time around though?

FROM 4/9/19: By 1973, the Pontiac GTO was, well, a very different animal than it had once been. Gone were the days of gas-guzzling multi-carb setups and Ram-Air hoods. In their place came 5-mile-per-hour crash bumpers and decreases in compression. At least you could still get a 400 cui V8 and a 4-speed, although most buyers opted for the Turbo Hydra-Matic. And that’s what makes this ’73 Goat standout from many of its Colonnade styled siblings, a 4-speed manual. Now if only it had been optioned with the 455 V8! At least it’s a numbers matching survivor. You can find it here on eBay in Garfield, New Jersey with a current bid of $6,500.

This seller seems to be very honest about the condition of their car, noting its flaws in their description and with decent photos. Unfortunately, it also seems like they aren’t that eager to sell it. They state that they are simply “testing the waters”, which typically translates to, “I’ll only sell it if you send me a boatload of money”. The current high bid of $6,500 seems like top dollar to me, especially when price guides put a number 4 at $6,300. I know those are just estimates, at best, but typically they are higher than what cars are actually trading for in the real world. This one is a survivor that runs and drives, so perhaps it’s worth a bit more than the current bid, but I can’t imagine it would go for much more than that. I guess we will just have to wait and see if it ends up meeting the reserve.

The 400 cui V8 looks to be in good condition and is said to run well. By ’73, this engine was down to 230 horsepower, which was the result of a serious decrease in compression. There’s still some performance potential locked away in it, so you might be able to get it up to the same rated output of the 455 V8. To really squeeze more power from it, a rebuild with high compression pistons will be required. It might be worth it if the engine is showing it’s age, but if the compression is even and healthy, I’d just drive it as is.

All criticism and cynicism aside, this looks like it could be a great car to have! Hopefully, the seller is realistic with their reserve. Something needs to be done to prevent the progression of the rust before it gets any worse. Waiting to be restored unknown someday in the future isn’t doing this rare Pontiac any justice. Who knows, maybe someone here will take pity on it and make this seller’s day? What do you think of this GTO? Would you save it?

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Comments

  1. Rick

    4-speed equipped ’73 GTO’s were stuck with the 400 – the 455 was NOT an option unless it was an automatic.

    Like 12
  2. NotSure

    Sis had a ‘72 Nova in that color. 305 n a 3-speed that our mother hated riding in. Mom said Sis was too “herky-jerky” with the clutch. Mom had learned to drive in a manual whatever back in the late ‘30’s and said that no one could drive a stick like she could. This was back when every soft top car Mom spotted was called a “ragtop”. I still call them that today… I’d like to see this Pontiac back on the road. That motor needs to be seriously warmed up though…

    Like 10
  3. TimM

    This car reminds me that the greatest era of automotive history was over!! This was the beginning of the end of the muscle car era!! The GTO the car that arguably started it all with the idly 5 mph bumpers and new styling that didn’t make it a better looking car by any means!! Nothing was good about the government putting there nose into the safety of the automobile!!

    Like 4
    • don

      Well there is all those lives these big bumpers probably saved… If I was going to get in an accident, I’d rather be in this than a 1965 GTO .
      I used to race a 1973 Malibu in the Enduro races in the 1980s . 150 cars, 100 -200 lap features and no cautions . That car survived and finished 13 out of 14 races ( blew the shift modulator out ) – The car got bent everywhere, but no one got past that front bumper ! Never even lost the radiator. I ended up selling the motor after I retired the car .

      Like 15
    • Chris In Australia

      Really? So seat belts, air bags, stability control, ABS aren’t worthwhile?

      Like 3
      • Bob Ch

        Along with safety glass….stronger doors…..better gas tanks…(think pinto)….interior that is fire retardant…..crumple zones……we could go on and on but the govt didn’t do this the auto companies did? I don’t think so. This bumper saved a lot of money in repairs too

        Like 1
      • Bodyman68

        Seatbelts ok air bags are questionable depending on the accident but stability controll and abs are useless if you know how to drive ! They cause more damage then you think ,and 9 out of ten people say the abs caused their accident. Stability control im yet to see it work .

    • Joe Spinelli

      NOTHING wrong with that whats wrong was the horses got locked up in the barn

      Like 4
  4. Tony

    Hot gto that year was a 455 v8 with a 4 speed.

    Like 1
    • Glen Riddle

      FYI 4-speed was only available with the 400. 455 was auto. only for the ’73 GTO.

      Like 7
  5. Mark

    4 speed and it’s green!

    Like 19
  6. Troy s

    Had Pontiac been more honest in certifying the 455 Super Duty and not had to go through the whole process all over again(💲💲💲) a few of these goats most likely would of had that strong engine, not many.
    The horsepower rating was already down on these, some of that was the net rating, some more from the strangling of emissions and extra wieght.
    These mid sized cars just don’t have the styling or character of earlier offerings, I don’t think they’ll ever catch on like earlier models. Been known to be wrong more than a few times…

    Like 4
    • JoeNYWF64

      What if the ’73 gto looked like the lighter ’74 gto & they put the sd-455 or at least the 400 in THAT? I like the functional shaker on the ’74.
      GM COULD have used the lighter ’72 bumpers on ANY of the above cars(ford too), if they just put rubber pads on & beefed up the mounts, like Chrysler did on their ’74 Challenger, etc.

      Like 1
  7. Timmy

    No A/C= tough sell

    Like 4
    • karl

      detuned, but its still a muscle car – why would anyone want AC in a muscle car ? just roll the windows down and mat it !

      Like 23
      • Jeff

        You can “mat it” all day long and it’s still a heap slower than a Honda Fit.

  8. PDXBryan

    TimM
    I’m a life long car guy and remember what a drag it was when cars got “uglified” with those damn bumpers. But ya know, what..I’m glad they did. Things got off to a rocky start with power/mpg robbing early emissions equipment and battering-ram 5mph bumpers. But now we have much cleaner air and much safer cars because of the requirements. If we can breath the air (kinda important) and have loved ones survive accidents, I’d say that’s worth a few butt-ugly cars. I actually thought these ’73 GTOs rear ends looked pretty cool when they came out. Sort of a “modern” boat tail, stream lined look.

    Like 19
    • TimM

      You make a good point about clean air and keeping the family safe!! I was just getting into theses cars at the age I was back then! Then it was over!! Most people back then didn’t realize we were doing the damage that we were doing to the environment til years later!! Valid points though!!!

      Like 9
      • 70SuperSport

        I remember what the air over LA looked back then – constant smog. Much better today and hey with technology we have safer cars now with more horsepower than back then.

        Like 9
    • matt mitchell

      Is this Bryan Phillips from San Mateo,(Now in Sac?) I thought I’d remind you of the ’64 Goat that you had in High School…Here’s my list of cars that I sold at rock bottom: ’71 VW bus ($300 in1985,) ’69 BMW 2002, Alpina clone, 45DCOE Webers, turbo style flares. etc ($1600, 1987…couldn’t smog, or store…) acoupla other 2002’s, same story…Landcruiser? Skylark? Catalina? Fuggetaboutit! -Matt M. (mmitch1009@yahoo.com)

  9. Rosko

    No kiddig: Only GTO I’d rather own is a ’74. Come on guys ‘n gals…WHO IS WITH ME! Yup, I’m a sick puppy!

    Like 14
  10. Chris In Australia

    You can wake these up a lot with some decent jetting & advance curves. Tuck the bumpers for a 100% improvement in the looks department

    Like 9
    • OhU8one2

      Well all good things must come to an end. As far as safety standards, I worked at a body shop for over 5 years,and I saw cars come in that were just litterally destroyed. But the people inside all made it out okay. Then I saw cars that weren’t hit that bad and sorry to say the passengers are no longer with us. Point is, I realised when its your time to go, there is only so much auto manufacturer’s can do. As far as air quality goes, watch old episodes of Adam-12 or Emergency. Take a good look at the back ground, the air was disgusting. So all the smog equipment has helped. I’m all for it. Today we have clean running cars with massive horsepower, which is the way I like it.

      Like 2
      • SubGothius

        The cars that got destroyed “took one for the team”, absorbing most the collision forces in their destruction to leave the occupants in better shape to get out alive. The cars that held up better in a crash just transmitted the brunt of those forces to the occupants. Crumple zones save lives at the expense of cars.

  11. Robert Sabatini

    No need for higher compression pistons. A swap to some 72cc heads, re-jet the Q-Jet, re-curve the distributor, install some Ram Air style exhaust headers and premium gas will wake this beast up! If a cam swap is desired, I’d go for the 9794041 (I think that’s the PN), and you’ll have quite the performer. Swapping the stock 1:50 rockers to some Pontiac 1:65 rocker arms would further aid in the venerable 400’s power output!

    Like 10
  12. Dennis

    Tuck the front bumper in and the colonade body was sharp ass car in 1973 And, build that 400 and change the ass end ratio(posi) For all those muscle heads that think anything less than 450 horse is junk, try looking at all the other qualities these mid 70’s cars offered. Horsepower isn’t limited to anything but your wallet/checkbook, or charge card. LOL Loved my 73 Grand Am lots of qualities those 60’s rattle traps never offered. This needs Butler Racing and a great body guy…

    Like 5
  13. Marko

    My Pontiac infused DNA is going into melt down mode………..

    Like 4
  14. Jerry C

    Hey Karl,
    I live in Tucson and we hit 120 degrees last summer. You would want that a/c.

    Like 5
    • Duaney

      not in Minnesota

      Like 1
  15. Tort Member

    Styling went the same way as the horsepower!

    Like 1
  16. Joe Spinelli

    had one of these in 1980 same color with a white partial vinyl top and white vinyl seats and black dashboard was the first really nice car i owned it paint was faded i brought it back with a good heavy compound i was 20 it was 7 years old and i had it so cleaned and polished it made me proud i really miss that car

    Like 1
  17. don

    A lot of people hate this body style , but I like the 73s – Of course if I had a choice I’d pick a 66 or 67 , but personally I think this car looks better than the plain looking 64 or the droopy nose 71- 72 cars (which I had). They ride nice and are a good size car . Sure they are down on horsepower, but that was the sign of the times .Look at any 70s car and you see the horsepower drops from year to year. Muscle cars were on their way out .. This particular one doesn’t look so great, but looking online there are some nice 73 survivors out there. Ok, now you guys can all yell at me !

    Like 4
    • Mike Johnson

      I agree always loved the 73 body style, one of my favorites.

  18. SteVen

    Having driven most years of the GTO, I can honestly say that in terms of chassis, steering, ride and handling, the ’73 was the finest GTO of the ’64-’74 run. In terms of power and styling, not so much.

    The GTO had always been the top trim level of the Pontiac A-body, until 1973, when it was supplanted by the Grand Am, which was basically the same car plus the sleek Endura front end, RTS(Radial Tuned Suspension) and some interior upgrades. Over 43,000 1973 Grand Ams were built vs. only 4,806 GTOs.

    I can appreciate that Pontiac may have wanted a new nameplate to move upwards into the sporty Euro-style area and didn’t think the GTO name was a good fit for that car, but I think they missed an opportunity. If they had moved the GTO to the X-body platform for ’73, or better yet for ’72 when they had expected the new A-bodies to come out, and equipped it with the A-body engines, I think the GTO would have prospered as it went back to its roots as the combination of the division’s smallest car with the big-car engines. While they would eventually move the GTO to the X-body for 1974, it was too late. Although the ’74 GTO is a fine machine, I can just imagine a ’72 Ventura GTO with a 455 HO. Pontiac actually built a 455 HO Ventura for testing and it was reportedly a great combo: http://carguychronicles.com/2018/04/one-of-none-pontiac-455-ventura-sprint/ But even the 400 and non-HO 455 would have given that car performance on par or better than the early years of the GTO that made the car a legend. Such a car could have carried the GTO through the rest of the decade until the last true Pontiac 400s were retired.

    Like 8
  19. v

    for some reason i think a dodge superbird rear spoiler would look really kool on this car.

  20. Duaney

    I actually prefer this model over earlier ones. The sharp fastback look, and this has way better suspension and steering. Would be a breeze to install air, thousands of donor cars out there.

    Like 4
  21. Chunk

    A Pontiac 400 can make good power with typical external modifications and a good cam.

    How good? How about 420 horsepower and 440 lb/ft of torque on pump gas with Edelbrock’s Performer RPM setup?

    Like 4
  22. That Guy

    I have a soft spot for the mid-size Pontiacs of this era. To me, they look like a 1935 designer’s vision of The Car Of The Future. This one has a lot of coolness potential.

    Like 5
  23. Victor Kasznia

    Definitely worth saving if the price is right. I have a ‘74 Grand Am with a 400-4/Turbo 400 Auto. Had I ordered new, it would have been a 4 speed.

    Like 5
  24. Paul

    My little brother bought one new in 73 ordered it in black with the 455. Like someone else said they wouldn’t put the 4 spd behind the 455. Damn thing was a beast got rubber in every shift. Only pix I have is it parked across the street from my wife’s 67 Buick GS400

    Like 11
  25. Dan

    I had a 73 Lemans Sport & tail lights are different. Were the Lemans & Gto different or is the year of this car wrong? Mine were in rear fender only, not under truck lid

    • don

      The 1974 and 75 models had the taillights run up the quarters , maybe yours was a 74 ? All the 73s had that style lights ,but when the reinforced bumpers debuted on the rear in 74, they restyled the lights and trunk lid

      • Mike Johnson

        Yours would have been a 74 or newer , all 73s had these taillights.

  26. Danny

    I’m not the under-the-hood guy that probably most of y’all are. So speaking just about the styling, I never cared much for the Ventura. It shared the same frame and roof line as contemporary Chevy Novas, right? For some reason I just like the Novas of that era better, especially in SS trim and muscle. Even though Venturas and Novas were fraternal twins.
    But, maybe that’s just me… 😏

  27. Steve

    My uncle had one of these back in the late 70’s. He got it to replace his 1968 RA GTO that was stolen. His was a 400 with an automatic dark red/dark red. He is in his 70’s now and he gets this devious look on his face when he talks about those two cars and how fast they were. Especially the 68. He ended up giving it to his son in the early 90’s when he bought his 5.0 Mustang. The car was so rusty underneath that my cousin snapped the axle off the car after installing a shift kit in it. My uncle ended up giving it away soon after. The last time I saw the car was by chance and it was in pieces. That was in the late 90’s.

  28. rustylink

    these Colonade bodies are a love it or hate it proposition. I always had a soft sport for them (even more so the Cutlasses). He’s got the right price at $6500.00 I doubt you will see much more then that.

    • Angrymike

      I agree, I kinda like these. If our wonderful government hadn’t mandated the huge bumpers it would have been a sexy car. I definitely like them better than the 71-72 GTO’s.

  29. Rosko

    Love it.

  30. JOHN Member

    I always thought this body style would look cool tubbed… wouldn’t do it to a nice car like this, but with that wide, flat sloping back end, I think it would look wicked with a ton of tire under it!

    • Drambo

      Those cars are tubbed from the factory. They will take a 295 rubber
      with no modification.

  31. John B.

    When I see the phrase “testing the waters” it tells me that the seller isn’t really serious and is really looking for someone with more money than brains!!!

  32. Gary Mack McCubbin

    I ordered a 1973 GTO with the SD455, Automatic, and 3.55 Posi! Waited 8 weeks to find the vehicle was delivered as ordered but the ordering dealer down graded the engine to the standard 400. I drove the vehicle but was totally turned off by the dealers change. I later found out that even though the engine was listed as an available option, the Arlington plant called the dealership and indicated that the engines were only being installed in Firebirds. The dealership had contacted my wife and she refused to change to a Firebird to get the SD455 engine. We were divorced in November of that year because of her act!

    Like 2

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