Ready To Restore: 1965 Pontiac GTO

The 1965 model year was the sophomore outing for Pontiac’s new GTO, which is credited by some as starting the muscle car revolution of the 1960s. It had a few changes for 1965, the most noticeable being stacked rather than side-by-side headlights. It would still be powered by a 389 cubic inch V8 with several output choices. The seller’s ’65 GTO looks as though it was pulled out of a barn after an extensive slumber and will need the Full Monty to compete once again. Located in Sarasota, Florida, this Georgia find is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $6,600.

The GTO began in ’64 as an option on the LeMans and was promoted to its own series by 1966. Production would continue through 1974 followed by a brief resurrection in the mid-2000s based on GM Australia’s Holden model. The restyle of the GTO in ’65 brought three additional inches in length to the mid-size car, which equated to another 100 lbs. of weight. To help in the performance category, the brake lining area was increased by 15% with heavy-duty shocks as standard along with a stronger front antisway bar. So, the car was most capable of living up to its growing street cred as well as its nickname “Gas, Tires and Oil!”

This ’65 GTO is a one-owner car that was squirreled away in Georgia for many years. It still wears its original paint, although rust has set in because the car sat outside for a while with grass beneath it. The GTO was available in three body styles, the 2-door hardtop, 2-door coupe, and convertible. The seller’s car is the middle one, a pillared sedan. Of the 75,000+ GTOs built for ’65, more than 8,300 of them were the more sedate-looking coupe.

The seller apparently has had a collection of vintage cars and has been thinning the herd due to space issues. Back in the day, this GTO was a looker with its Starlight Black exterior finish with red pinstripes and a contrasting red interior. While the rear quarters are quite rusty, the frame and braces are said to be in good shape. The floors aren’t perfect with a few holes to patch or replace. The seller says that under close inspection, you’ll find the original pencil markings on the firewall and the transmission hump. The glass is all good and accounted for, just not represented in the photos. The hood has been removed but survives and another one will need to be on the buyer’s shopping list.

Under the bonnet sits the original, numbers-matching 389 V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor which is the engine set-up that went into two-thirds of production for ’65. It’s paired with a 2-speed Powerglide automatic. The motor does not turn, either mechanically or by hand, so it has been sitting untouched for years. The dealer-installed aftermarket air conditioning is still in the car and the plumbing is all there, but it’s unlikely that it works now, either.

The interior is going to need more than just a good cleaning. While the bucket seats look okay, they really will need to be recovered. The car came with retractable seatbelts (long before the days of airbags). This GTO will come with plenty of documentation, including the original title, bill of sale, dealer invoice, sales contract, and the rest. As a bit of trivia, did you know that the Pontiac GTO was later chosen as Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1968?

Like This? Get Our Daily Email


  1. Mountainwoodie

    Even tough it is a slushbox, it is a GTO, No matter what my circumstances I cant see ever allowing this to sit in tall grass in a humid area ad infinitum. I’d sell it first. Like I always say…thats just me.

    Gonna take a boatload to right this…….

    Like 13
  2. EPO3

    Lot of work and a but load of money I’m to old to start a project like this one.But I know somebody will take it on.

    Like 2
  3. wayne Yackel

    this looks more like a tempest with a GTO emblem. Hood wrong and many other things certainly doesn’t seem wort the money

  4. CCFisher

    The transmission should be a Super Turbine 300, not a Powerglide. The two transmissions are similar in concept and operation, but little interchanges

    Like 4
  5. Geoff

    Gotta kick out of the looking at the bill of sale.A $500 post dated check and $413 for credit life insurance on a $3200 car and the guy was probably in his 20s. Car dealers never change. Its going to take a lot to bring it back but at least the car is pretty much all there. GLWTS

    Like 2
  6. Johnny

    In 1972 I bought a 65 Tempest . It needed a timing chain and it was a hardtop . In alot better shape for $150. It was a good car,but I didn,t care much for it. A woman ran a stop sign in Garretsville ,Ohio and banged the rear quarter up. She had a 68 Chrysler. All it done to her car was break the headlight cover. It would take alot of money to get this car running and in descent shape. $6.000—-I,ll pass.

    Like 1
    • JB

      But it was a TEMPEST! NOT a goat! Pffft.

  7. William I Decker

    It’s got the right body (love a post coupe) but the auto trans & added a.c. really takes away from this GTO for me.

  8. Troy s

    Just goes to show not all GTO’s were fire breathing street racers, nor the people who bought them. That thing was stock from day one until somebody decided to park it for good. That was the appeal, I think, of the sporty new GTO.. a smattering of options combined with solid performance, maybe most was the heavy marketing to lure young buyers. Brilliant.
    Not the first performance car by any means but the first of this particular type which was followed by an onslaught of competition. Nobody involved ever expected the GTO to be that much of a success, surprise surprise.

    Like 2
  9. John Oliveri

    When I was 11, in 1972, our neighborhood was full of muscle cars still, and our neighbor John bought a 65 GTO roller, he put a built 400 in it and a 4 speed, I think it had 411s in it, was a fast mother, always in the low 12s at National speedway in Long Island, we were crew

    Like 2
  10. JOHN Member

    My 65 convertible was ordered with the seat belt delete credit, a whopping $11.00 In todays money, that’s around $90!

    Like 1
  11. kenn

    Wasn’t the Judge another model of the GTO?

    Like 1
    • JOHN Member

      The Judge was an option package was announced in December 1968 and the first were delivered in early 1969. The car was supposed to be an entry level stripped model.It was originally conceived to compete with the low cost Road Runner, but DeLorean wanted a more upscale model, and the Judge came with a Ram Air lll engine standard. Besides my 65 GTO convert, the Judge is the other GTO I really want!

      Like 2
  12. JON D.

    I took on a 1964 GTO and was a tremendous amount of work. Did a frame-off restoration of the beast but, watch your bank account deflate. It is going to take a lot to get this one going but I have seen worse. As the guy above me commented, it is still a GTO !!

  13. Mark Genovesi

    What was the difference between a two-door hardtop and the two-door coupe?

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.