Restored At 37,000 Miles: 1970 Pontiac GTO

When I was a car crazy kid, my grandfather passed on some valuable advice.  He said that if I were to buy a collectible car, that the smartest thing to do is start by purchasing the best car I could afford.  He had little time for rusted, wrecked, or otherwise trashed cars.  While that advice may create a situation where you might let a rarer car go, it is good advice if you don’t want to sink a fortune into a restoration.  The seller of this 1970 Pontiac GTO, being sold on eBay out of Owingsville, Kentucky must have met my grandfather somewhere along the way.  Starting with a GTO that was owned since 1972, garaged since 1975, and with 37,000 miles on the odometer, the seller completely restored this beautiful ride to showroom condition.  Is this pristine Pontiac worth the $32,000 asking price?

A lot of people will fix up a car and claim that it went through a full restoration.  A real restoration is something altogether different.  Beginning with either a great car that you can heavily document before the first screw is turned, or basing your work on established guides and norms, a top notch restoration will show great attention to detail.  All of the finishes and coatings will be identical to those from the factory, assembly line chalk marks and other identifiers are present, and there is little to no deviation in the interior pieces.  When you look carefully at this GTO, it is evident that the restorer took their time making this car perfect in almost every way.  Surely starting with a pristine car made the job easier.

As you can see in the picture above, the engine on this car was removed and the under hood and frame area were sprayed with the proper black finish.  We can also see that this is a car that had factory air conditioning as well.  Power brakes are also evident.

Another shot shows that the doors were removed to allow for a thorough painting of the door jams and hinges.  The glass removal during the restoration pretty much guarantees that all of the seals and felt were replaced.  As for the condition of the car, the seller tells us that the floor pans and quarter panels are all original.  We are also told that the car has never been involved in a wreck.  Between the rust that these cars have a reputation for harboring and the usual stoplight shenanigans that performance cars have to endure, it is evident that this car has continuously received special care.

Looking inside reveals an interior that looks straight out of a time warp.  The seller tells us that the car was ordered with the slightly unusual combination of bucket seats, a column shifted automatic transmission and no console.  Rather pedestrian for a GTO, but GM’s extensive option list in the early seventies meant that you really could have your car built to your specifications.  Looking around the pristine interior, we can also see that the car has manual windows and what appears to be an AM radio.  The box on the transmission hump is the real mystery in this car.  It might be an aftermarket FM radio kit, or some sort of CB.  Can any of you readers shed some light on this?

Under the hood, the sticker on the new radiator hose is the only item that sticks out as not being factory issue.  All we know about the engine from the ad is that is a 400 cubic inch V-8.  While I am no Pontiac expert, my guess is that this car is equipped with the Ram Air III engine that put out 366 horsepower.  Once again, if any of you readers are Poncho gurus, please correct me if I am in error here.  Regardless of the exact horsepower, 400 cubic inches of V-8 fun were likely more than enough to move this GTO down the road with authority.

Still, despite the incredible condition of this car, $32,000 is a lot of money.  Is it well spent on a car like this?  Take into account the cost of finding a car in comparable condition, the ridiculous cost of restoration parts, refurbishing the interior, and machine shop work when you look at that price.  You could probably build one up yourself for a bit less, but would the time and effort be justified in the end?

Is buying the best car you can afford worth it in this case?

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Comments

  1. poseur Member

    OMG.
    I need a cold shower after checking this one out.
    And it’s close too

    24
    • Bry

      The box is an 8 track….

      2
  2. Traumapac Member

    If I had more garage space, if I had the cash, and if my wife would tolerate more toys propelled by fossil fuels, I would be all over this GTO. It looks absolutely pristine. For me, it would be worth the price of admission.

    14
  3. TimS Member

    Yummy. More than I can afford to pay but probably worth every dime. I’d be driving it a lot.

    12
  4. Ken Member

    Cue the obligatory “Too bad it’s not a four-speed” in 5…4…3…

    I’m cool with an automatic, as long as it’s a Turbo 400.

    13
    • Sandy Claws

      Sure, you and I can drive a stick, but how many young potential buyers can? Sad, but true. I see a day, not too far off in the future, when the automatic will be a premium higher buck car.

      11
  5. RoughDiamond Member

    This is spectacular looking!

    My dark green ’70 GTO with the 455 Ram Air had the Turbo 400 and nothing wrong with that puppy.

    7
  6. DayDreamBeliever Member

    An absolute beauty!
    Looking at the body lines, and the panel gaps, this is one straight car. VERY Straight! Someone really did spend the time it takes to get the car really read for paint, and then took the time on the spray and finishing too.

    7
  7. Howard A Member

    I think we all can agree on what a nice car this is. One of the last iconic Goats, and I suppose they can ask whatever they want for it.

    10
    • Howard A Member

      Pretty sure, the “box” on the hump, is a factory 8 track tape player.

      32
    • triumph1954 Member

      Nice GTO and colors.

      3
  8. Scott Williams

    Lovely color combination- and if it’s documented this seems fairly priced to me. And I do see a lot of papers in the photos- just can’t read them.

    6
  9. slickb

    I have to say… its kinda awkward to restore a car and leave the center caps off the wheels :) but I did have some rally two’s on my firebird a while back and those center caps would fling off, kinda funny really. nice GTO though!!!

    10
  10. mainlymuscle

    Column shift is a bummer,but there is not another muscle car that even comes close to driving as nicely as does this series GTO.This is a quality car,and yes worth $32 k easily.It might take 30-60 days to find the right right buyer,one who appreciates this level of quality.Seller be patient-you have a beautiful piece of machinery.

    12
    • BONGO

      I owned a 71 gt37 with the 400. It was strong. Mine was a 3 speed manual in the floor. Still my favorite and the best driving muscle car I ever owned was a 1970 W30 442. Factory 4 speed. Its the only one I still regret letting get away. Over 30 grand seems on the high side for a column shift basic interior car but I’m sure it will bring the price.

      5
  11. Scott

    I would take this 1000 times over the 70 Chevelle Ragtop previously featured, same money and much more desirable, nice car with a good story, worth the ask all day.

    9
  12. john

    That box with knobs on the transmission is an 8 track player option

    14
  13. Mike

    They have the carpet protector sheet upside down. Do I get a discount?

    7
  14. Ron

    Actually this car would be a 400ci 2 volt main non ram air 350hp model. Being an a/c car, had it been ordered with the 4bolt main Ram Air option, it would have been limited to a 366hp RAIII. Only non-A/C cars could be ordered with the optional Ram Air IV solid lifter motor that was rated at 370hp…which consequently made alot more than that advertised number. The general consensus is that those motors made closer to 500hp or better from the factory.

    6
  15. Vance

    Maybe the owner took the center caps off so that nobody would steal them. Very sharp car, it ain’t easy being green.

    8
  16. TimM

    68 was my favorite GTO but I’ll take it!!

    2
  17. Nick P

    Holy crap!! Where are all you people when I list a car? So many nice comments. I just don’t know what to think. Yes, a nice car for sure. Coming from someone who has been a gto owner for over 25 years, starting with my 70. Still have it as well as a handful of others. This car is the standard YS code 400 automatic. They were all turbo 400’s. Factory 350 horse. Regardless of how nice it is though, he may be hard pressed to find the buyer because it isn’t a judge, ram air, 4 speed, or 455. Sad but true. I think they should all be loved.

    12
    • Skip

      Well worth the money regardless of column shift. Just have to wait for #1 A person with money or availability to get money #2 A buyer that is a prospective owner not a flipper #3 A buyer who is intelligent enough to know you can not put a car together for that kind of money. All this is based on numbers matching motor. The low mileage if accurate is just a plus. They would be asking 45k at any muscle car dealer!

      2
  18. OhU8one2

    The colors and options dont do a thing for me. While the quality of work is pristine. And the car should pull strong money,its just not for me.

    6
    • Howard A Member

      Weren’t around in the late 60’s, hey? Everything was green. Cars, bathrooms, appliances. Far as options, this was pretty typical of the day. We hear of the neck snapping ’70 GTO’s, but most were like this. I bet a woman ordered this car new.

      3
      • Sandy Claws

        Green, yes indeed. I not sure what was uglier in our home, the green fridge or the green telephone on the kitchen wall with the curly twenty foot cord that my kid sister used to pull taunt so she could go in the bathroom and shut the door so we wouldn’t hear what she was saying or to whom. Funny thing is, those were both upscale options. Out toilet was actually blue, not green. Gives me nightmares just thinking about it today, but I would accept them in a heartbeat just to go back and be young again. So many things were so much better in the 60s. The music for sure, the cars, well that’s debatable, but the food was better. Was it made with less chemicals or were my taste buds in better shape? I think I would lay off the candy bars if I could go back, other wise, all pretty much the same. Interesting idea, might play the stock market much better, then I could have a lot of these cars today that we see here.

        5
  19. MIKE KIEFFER

    What’s funny to me is that you even ask if its worth it. If this were a mopar you wouldn’t. I believe there is some bias here. This is a beautiful car!!!

    4
  20. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I like the car but one thing strikes me as funny. I honestly don’t remember any 2 tone GTO coupes. Not saying that GM didn’t make them, just that I don’t remember ever seeing one.

    2
    • Del

      What does Nada say ?

    • Scott

      I have a factory two tone 1969 Firebird. Trim tag will show two color codes for outside color.

  21. Gary Numan

    8 Track Deck on the floor is a factory option.

    1970 was another good year for GTO styling.

    4
  22. Troy s

    Compared to some rusty mopars as of late this seems like a bargain! Kinda ironic how the low buck Road Runners are the Expensive ones now and a pricey muscle car like this goat is actually affordable (?). I mean, look at what you get for thirty two grand..a beautiful turn key driver of a car, maybe not the best performance options but just how many Ram Air IV GTO’s were actually built, or still exist after being driven into the ground.
    I figure this to be originally dealer stock ordered, or just a cool car to drive to work everyday, not a street racers special. Great car here.

    2
  23. Terry Bowman

    Hey Mike, I’m a Mopar guy and I appreciate the 70′ “GTO’S”as my favorite of all the other late model GTO’S. If i’m not mistaken, they were also the lowest in production numbers. This is a driveable car(without the RAM inductions or standard transmissions). Yes, it is worth less money, but a lot more fun, comparing it to my 340’s, verses the 440’s and Hemi’s. I would bet the center caps are in the trunk while transporting. Beside 5 finger discounts, Iv’e seen them fall off while driving and bouncing around on a hauler would do the same. I believe the price as of now is a little low if there were no rust issues, hence the vinyl top.

  24. Johnny Joseph

    What a lame Goat. Column shifted with buckets but no console, no Ram Air, and a three color odd ball combination. Nice restoration for sure, but ick. Surprised it doesn’t have whitewalls. Pass.

    1
    • triumph1954 Member

      Lame?

      5
    • Tom

      I think White Walls would look great on this car, and they’d tie in the roof.

      3
  25. Uncle al

    I had a ’69 nearly identical….never saw one with a column shift, CHROME rear bumper (the front is enduralast), no console, no floor shift….as the saying goes, ….”IS IT REAL OR IS IT MEMOREX ?”

    1
  26. Top Jimmy

    Under the dash, looks a whole lot like a Craig AM Reverb and FM tuner I had in my Chevelle. Remember reverberators? They made your radio “sound” like it was stereo. Loved listening to album rock late at night on it.

    3
  27. Karo

    The unit under the dashboard is an 8-track player. It operated independently of the radio, hence its own volume and tone controls, plus a small, rectangular “program” button to the left of two knobs. So you could have it with AM, AM/FM or AM/FM stereo radios, any of which had two or three speakers (depending on model), one in the dashboard and one or two in the rear. Pontiac (Cadillac, too) lagged behind Chevrolet in ’70, which had an integrated AM/FM stereo with 8-track unit that year (the tapes went into the player through the radio dial, which swung out of the way). Other GM divisions got this feature in ’71; Ford didn’t have a similar unit until ’73.

    3
  28. Tom

    Seller might have done well to get some help writing his ad (or use a spell checker), and not clear if HE is the owner from 1972? If not, some documentation might be needed to verify that mileage. Interior looks a little too clean? If legit, I like it, and worth the money.

  29. John Oliveri

    The black box on the floor, was the factory installed 8 track, 69 was the first year the black box w the two knobs on the left side was available, the 68 unit was a square box looking thing, the in dash radio could be a AM/FM, roll face, which the first preset on the left was AM, the last preset in the right was FM, the inside dial rolled

    1
  30. 4 Barrel

    Nice car no doubt but for that amount of money and the restoration looks like they would have sourced center caps. Makes me wonder what else may be lurking.

  31. 4 Barrel

    Nice car no doubt but for that amount of money and the restoration looks like they would have sourced center caps. Makes me wonder what else may be lurking.

  32. Woody

    Original components or not,this is an immaculate car worthy of car shows and cruising the strip! Just a beautiful ride here.Period.

    3
  33. dweezilaz

    Beautiful car. Love the column shift and no console. Console and automatic shifter is sort of a joke anyway.

    I am just not getting the sense of taking a pristine 37,000 mile car and restoring it.

    Somewhere along the line the “Buy the best car you can” advice got mixed up with find a pristine car…. and sink a fortune into it on a restoration.

    3
  34. Terry Bowman

    Many 8 tracks had FM also, could be the reason for the knobs. So I would say for sure it is a FM receiver, but not so sure if it is a 8 track, because there should be an eject button and a channel changer for the 4 channels. Still have my old “Boman” quad FM and tape unit. They were not around long because not many suppliers issued quad music, but the ones that did were cool to listen to. As have a GM or Ford factory am,fm, 8 track. Not sure which, but I’ll have to dig for it.

    • Tom

      Terry, early GM divorced 8-track players had 2 knobs; volume and tone or balance I believe. You pushed the vol knob in to change tracks. I don’t believe 8-tracks ever used an eject button…you just pulled them out.

    • Saul

      I have one (1) quadraphonic album from a band who ended up as the backup band for Bonnie Raitt. Totally unlistenable on a modern stereo system as I believe quad was mixed/mastered specifically for four channels. Old stereo records used to be mixed “narrow” so that we could hear them okay on MONO players.

  35. T Mel

    Caps don’t look ‘missing’ to me, well they sorta do in some pics but that’s probably because they are black centered with red letters that could, from a distance and poor resolution, seem like the reflection from a dust cap.

    I don’t believe the two-tone theory. It looks like the vinyl top was removed and the chrome strip for the vinyl top was reused as a divider between the two colors (applied post factory).

  36. Terry Bowman

    Tom, you could be correct on pulling out the tapes(been a long time ago). Now I’ll have to dig through my stash and check. I was sure I had a eject button on the upper right hand side. I do now recall pulling them out at times and having tape stuck inside and around the head guides. Cassettes now, are a different matter.

    • Tom

      Years ago I decided to buy some “new in box” 8 track tapes off ebay, and most would play once and then the tape became unglued and would get caught up on the head – just like you said.
      Now I’m looking at a box of old CD’s and trying to decide what to do with them…

  37. Terry Bowman

    Tom, you can buy tape splices and put them back together. Your right the glue becomes dried out and brittle, but the tape should still be good. Funny, I also have about 3 doz. and afraid to play them for that reason.

  38. Alexander

    Just because you COULD tick any box you wanted on the option list in 1970, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Beautiful car, no doubt, but for this kind of coin (then as now) I would NOT want the white vinyl roof, column shift with no console. Don’t get me wrong, my family owned a 71 Firebird with column shift, no console and black vinyl top. I’ve also owned Firebirds with the 8 track player mounted at the forward end of the console with a switch on the in-dash AM/FM radio.

  39. Terry Bowman

    Tom, i just dug out my old Boman FM – 8 track player (not GM, but aftermarket) and it does have a eject button. I also have another aftermarket player, without one and a home unit without one. So I guest it depends on the brand. I would think being under the dash, it would also be an aftermarket unit.

    • Tom

      Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing eject buttons on some 8 track players.

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