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Red And Ready To Roll: 1971 Pontiac GTO

1971 Pontiac GTO

I’ve spent my fair share of hours behind a buffer, polishing out old paint, cleaning up oxidization, and smoothing out blemishes. So when I spot a car like this dull GTO, I instantly imagine what it could look like with some careful polishing and a little elbow grease. It might be one of the more mundane tasks, but it can give a classic new life that few other jobs can. If you think you’d like to have a go at this ’71 GTO, you can find it here on eBay in Kokomo, Indiana with a BIN of $14,000. The seller claims they found it in a barn, got it running, and have put 2k miles on it already!

1971 Pontiac GTO Front End

Besides noticing that the paint looks salvageable, I also noticed that the color on the front clip doesn’t quite match the rest of the paint. The question is, which section of the car has been repainted and why? I see some damaged to the passenger side fender, so I’m guessing the car was involved in a fender bender and rather than repaint the entire car, just the front was sprayed after it was repaired. I can live with the none matching paint, but the damaged fender would need to be fixed and I would want to make sure nothing structural was damaged. Hopefully the seller can provide a little more insight into the car’s history and when the repairs were done.

1971 Pontiac GTO Engine

This Goat is equipped with the 400-4 Pontiac V8, which was rated at 300 gross horsepower or 255 net. That’s still are respectable amount of power and should produce plenty of impressive burnout! The seller claims they have put about 2k miles on it, so I assume that means they have already done all basic work to make it a dependable runner. It would be nice if the engine were mounted to a manual or if it had the big 455 HO. For a car to actually drive on a regular basis, the 400 would be an easier engine to live with.

1971 Pontiac GTO Rear

The closer I look at this GTO, the more I’m starting to feel that the entire car has been repainted. That doesn’t explain the mismatching paint, but it’s possible that each section of the car was painted at different points in its life. Looking at the rear half, I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t a Rustolem paint job. I’ve actually seen guys get really great result with Rustolem, but it takes a lot of wet sanding and buffing to get a decent finished project. I think this seller is going to have a lot of explaining to do with this one, but for the right price I wouldn’t mind having to do some sanding and polishing to make this paint job glossy. Of course at $14k, I would expect the work to already be done. While I really like ’71 GTOs, I do have to recommend being careful on this one. It could either be a great buy or a nightmare, depending on the extent of the accident damage and the paint situation. Hopefully, the seller can clear a few things up that should have been addressed in their listing! So what would you offer the seller for this Goat?


  1. Avatar photo Frankie Paige

    The seller says in the ad “should be able to take to the drag strip”

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  2. Avatar photo redwagon

    sure would be nice to know if its real or a clone.

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  3. Avatar photo gary k

    I sure would not drop any green on this old red till I was able to do a good PPI. Appears the seller is shying away from explaining the front end issue as it is so obvious there is an issue with rf fender and hood grille alignment. Wonder is it a true GTO or a clone?? On this I would say BUYER BEWARE!

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  4. Avatar photo Mark

    I’d make sure it’s really a GTO. I know they all didn’t have a console mounted shifter but this one looks to be added, and further back than most. If there was a photo from the passenger side it would be interesting to see if there’s remnants of a column unit. Also the post says it has AC, I don’t even see remnants of it.

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  5. Avatar photo 64 bonneville

    As Elmer Fudd would say “Be afwaid, be vewry afrwiad.” I don’t think it all adds up. no console, ratchet shifter, no air conditioning, how much rust is it hiding? Ft. Wayne and Kokomo both get some pretty tough winters, and a lot of road salt. I couldn’t seem to make out the year on the plate, but it is a newer plate, similar to ones I saw in Indiana in the mid 2000s’.

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  6. Avatar photo Sukey

    Sketchy at best
    Run away from this one as fast as you can

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  7. Avatar photo Dolphin Member

    My brother in law owns one of these—a real one—and just went through the suspension and drive train, and then had the best restorer in town do a very high end paint job on it, and It looks and runs terrific.

    That said, I would prefer a first-year GTO with 4-speed. Those appeal to me the most. Lots of cars improve as the years go by, but with GTOs, Camaros, Mustangs, Datsun Z cars, Ferrari 308s, and some other cars, the earliest ones appeal to me the most.

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  8. Avatar photo Donnie

    the rear bumper almost looks like it is painted

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  9. Avatar photo Graphicsron

    Cannot tell for sure from pictures, but it appears to have several different shades of paint. Also, there appears to be a fair amount of over spray on the top. Poor alignment of panels front and back.

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  10. Avatar photo piper62j

    Definitely run the vin and an inspection before laying down the green.. Other than that, why would you want to drag race it if it were a real GTO? I don’t get it with a nice car like this one.. To me, the owner removed the console when he installed the B&M to put that ridiculous snap shifter in. Some people really know how to beat on a car..
    Anyway, that’s my opinion on it..

    Nice if original GTO

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  11. Avatar photo Barzini

    The GTO did not have a Pontiac emblem on the center of the trunk lid but the Lemans did. Most GTO sellers will at least verify the VIN starts with 242 even if they don’t provide the full number. And most have the PHS documentation.

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  12. Avatar photo John

    Never owned one. But in the day, I drilled so much over them that I knew their parts even better than I knew the Playmate of the Month.

    I fear that this offering is a Lemans with a bunch of parts added. Real GTOs had so many things different. I’d bet my lottery winnings from tomorrow that this car will not pass the VIN/DNA test.

    But of course I could be wrong. And I really did win $56 dollars in the lottery.

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  13. Avatar photo Paul R

    Rattle can paint job including the rear bumper. Looks like bondo job around lower rear glass. Serious right front fender and panel alignment issues.
    Looks more like a bad attempt of a GTO clone from a Lemans Sport.
    $3500 car at best.

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  14. Avatar photo Bruce E

    I don’t want to be “Debbie Downer”, but….having been in the body business for 30 years, and during these years, this car looks like it was rode hard and put away wet. First I would check to see if it is a real GTO..I’m not so sure. Second, I doubt it is the original color. The whole thing has been repainted, and the nose repainted yet again at a different time. The third and possibly biggest thing, it looks like it’s had a pretty good swat in the snoot. I’m not talking about the viable dent it now wears, it looks like it’s had a replacement nose put on it. These were hard to get body lines straight on, and this one is a mess. The wide gap at the bottom of the right fender indicates the frame horn is tipped up…While it’s not a terrible job to pull with a good frame machine, I would look close & factor that in the price.

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  15. Avatar photo dj

    What a miss matched bunch of crap. It has a 72 decklid on it. 72 was the only year with the emblem like that. The swirl on the dash only came on the 72 GTO, it has 71 seats in it. The door panels look 72 with correct 72 GTO emblems. Dash shows to have A/C and it doesn’t under the hood. Coil’s in the wrong place. It’s just a bunch of parts thrown together. With out PHS or the build sheet from the seat, you’re buying a Lemans.
    I did learn something new. When I covered the front seats on my 72 Sport, the build sheet was in the driver’s side front seat instead of the back seat.

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