Stored 30 Years: 1970 Pontiac GTO 4-Speed

The first thing the seller says about this car is that it’s an “easy restoration.” I usually doubt claims like that because by nature of the term restoration does not imply easy. But in the case of this 1970 Pontiac GTO, the seller could be right. It’s a one-owner car that has been stored for 30 years thanks to a blown clutch. During that time, it hasn’t rusted away, with most of what must be dealt with being where a vinyl roof once was. Naples, Florida is the car’s location and here on eBay where the bidding has reached $14,000, but the reserve is still dangling out there.

By 1970, the wave of the muscle car movement was cresting. They would soon be detuned for unleaded fuel, gasoline would get more expensive, and insurance rates would go sky-high. The GTO was still a series of its own, but that would change after 1971. But the car that started it all was still popular, selling more than 40,000 units in 1970. The seller’s car is not a Judge and doesn’t have a sign of Ram Air Induction, so it wasn’t quite as potent – but it was close. A coupe like this represented nearly 20 percent of GTO sales that year. Thanks, GTO Heaven, for some stats!

The seller’s car has been in storage since 1990 due to a burned-out clutch – and probably a lack of accumulated interest. It was purchased new in Florida and never took up residence anywhere else. It’s a numbers-matching Goat with 120,000 miles on it. The timing chain on the 400 cubic inch V8 was changed at 90,000 miles. It hasn’t run in ages, but the engine is not locked up and turns freely. The seller tells us the gas tank is toast and that a new one will be needed along with replacing the fuel lines. So, perhaps it will run if these issues are resolved.

Somehow this car has managed to escape the extreme wrath of the Rust Grim Reaper as what rust there is seems confined to the roof. The undercarriage looks really clean. The roof was green as well as the interior and the paint appears white, but it could easily be cream, a nice combination. The paint isn’t original having been repainted just once. The original wheels look as though they would polish up nicely after those 30-year-old tires go.

For its time out of commission, the interior appears surprisingly good. There is only one small tear in the driver’s seat back and the rest of it might clean up nicely, although the floors should receive a new set of carpets. The headliner is said to be nice and all the glass you would look out of seems to have held up. It’s a shame someone cut up the door panels to put in aftermarket speakers. If the door panels can be saved, I’d be inclined to replace the speakers and the radio, since it’s only AM anyway!

While not uncommon on a GTO, factory air conditioning is present and disconnected, so a new set up is probably needed if you want to stay cool in the Summer. A necessity for us who live in Florida! Considering this isn’t a rusted-out hulk, what should it be worth? Hagerty thinks that $60,000 is about top dollar, with one in a fair condition less than a third of that. How much will this “easy restoration” cost to do?

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Comments

  1. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    These have alaays been one of my favorites. This color combo?!? Not so sure about that. Seamingly nice otherwise, nice to see a 4 speed. Bring it up to date after a good cleaning to see what you’ve got. Color it to my liking with a judge style spoiler and shred some tires!

    Like 5
    • john hugh

      way idealistic

  2. Fahrvergnugen Member

    I really like that the dude is spraying on some more patina, because there surely aren’t any pictures of the car after application of water…

    Like 14
    • GPAK

      Yep, also got the windows open maybe getting ready to hose out that dusty interior.

    • Stan Marks

      The DUDE obviously just began to wash it. Notice there is no water on the ground..If the guy had half a brain, he would have hosed down the car, BEFORE they took pics. DHhuuuuuu….
      I hate vinyl roofs.They all go bad, unless you spray on the Armor All every day.

  3. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    My brother had a ’70 GTO and flogged the heck out of it. He told me he street raced it 34 times and only lost twice because he blew the trans off the line. He favored bringing the tach up to 5,000 RPM and then dropping it into low for a good hole shot. He was always tinkering on it, he even tried 3 deuce carbs but he found that a big four barrel worked better and was less fussy. I drove it a few times and found it to be an impressive performer. It was blue with a black vinyl top and a black gut, a really sharp car. I always thought the ’70 GTO was the best looking Goat along with the ’66 that I once had. Too bad these are priced out of the average guys range, it’s a shame the hobby has gotten so rediculusly expensive.

    Like 27
    • Steve R

      There are plenty of cars out there if “Joe” adjust his expectations to reality. Look at yesterday listings, there was a pristine low mileage 1996 Cobra with an asking price of $9,500. Driver quality versions can be found for substantially less. That doesn’t even take into account all of the other makes and models worthy of attention. There is a false narrative that runs through this site that the hobby is now out of reach of the average person, that’s a lie. Even in the early-80’s when I was just out of high school I couldn’t afford the cars I really wanted, me and most of my friend adjusted out expectations and searched out base muscle cars or ones that needed a bit of work. Some of my friends never figured that out, or were unwilling to put in the effort to find cars they could afford and never bought anything. It’s the same thing going on today, if someone really wants a car, they will open their eyes to what’s available in their price range and find it, that often means something newer than their “dream car”, but they are still a blast to drive, often more so than the cars they initially listed after. That part of the hobby has stayed consistent throughout the years.

      Steve R

      Like 25
      • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

        Good points, Steve R. However, if you really want a ’70 GTO, something newer is not what you’re interested in. Guys who want a ’60s Chevelle, Nova, Mustang or Road Runner aren’t going to be too interested in a ’90s muscle car. Sure, the ’96 Cobra seems like a good deal but if you’re looking for a decent ’70 GTO, you probably won’t find one for $10k, you’ll probably have to fork over four times that much. More if you want a pristine example. Prices like those keep those kinds of cars out of reach for the average guy.

        My first car, which I’d just love to have again, had over 400hp and I bought it for $200. It needed a little work but it was in great shape. The last one I saw like it sold for $25k and needed paint and bodywork. That’s out of my reach at this point.

        Like 15
      • Steve R

        I think comparing prices from the mid-70’s with today’s prices is disingenuous. Even then, the vast majority of $500 and cheaper muscle cars were well on their way to the wrecking yard or at a minimum in need of major mechanical work. These cars were still common, even with minimal effort it was just a matter of time before someone would come across something in that price range.

        Though I feel for the guy that wants an old muscle car and isn’t interested in compromising by purchasing a newer car, it’s their loss. If they are that rigid they will go without. The laws of supply and demand will not bend for anyone. Decent low priced vintage muscle cars are not common anymore, but they haven’t been for at least a couple decades. Like I said in my initial response and have said many times in the past, people’s dream cars are expensive and always have been, it’s just that the comma keeps moving. This is nothing new and will never change.

        Steve R

        Like 3
      • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

        It isn’t about compromising, Steve R. It’s about wanting to have the car you had when you were a kid or the car you wished you could have had. It’s more about the emotional connection to a certain car than just looking for a muscle car. The ’96 Cobra sounds like a good deal but I have little interest in it. I would much rather have one of the cars I had when I was young, a car I made memories with. Put a new Hellcat next to my old ’70 Nova SS and tell me I can have either one for free and guess what? I’ll take the Nova every time. That’s what I’m talking about, the personal connection to the past. That’s what the old car hobby means to me anyway.

        Like 1
    • Curt

      I read an article the cars were priced out of his range as a kid and sadly now either bought as investments, to flip or the guy trying to impress the silicon on his arm at Barrett Jackson’s outbidding each other. The true enthusiast still can’t buy them. Ghesh… go figure… lol

      Like 2
  4. Arthell64 Member

    Looks like a solid restoration project. Much rather start with a car like this than a rusted out hard to find parts mopar.

    Like 12
  5. Johnny

    Buy the time you fixed everything on the car-plus what they are asking. Would double. On Craigslist located in Florida is a really sharp 67 GTO for $28.500 and you can drive it. This car is body wise in good shape,but look at the rust holes down on the corners of the rear window. Open the trunk and let us see the trunk floor. Don,t be surprised the trunk might be bad. I had a 68 and it was a nice rideing comfortable car and ran really good. It never had any rust.The drivers door was pushed in a little and I sold it for $140 and the guy drove it. Look around and have some cash in your pocket and you will be surprised what you can get for under $5,000. That is in nice shape and people are tired of them. Don,t get in a hurry and check everything out. Don,t just take their word for it–look for yourself.

    Like 6
    • AMCFAN

      No such thing as an easy restoration on anything 50 years old. I have such a car that has been on the backburner. In fact hasn’t had a running engine in it for over 30 years.

      Due to covid and having the time off I finally started on it. I estimated I had 85% of everything I needed due to many years of parts hoarding. Was way way off. I spent at least another $7,000 on making it run and drive on it’s own.

      The motor I had and was new. Despite that it was put on the dyno and ran before being put in the car. It was painted. Trans was opened and sealed. Complete chassis was stripped of all suspension cleaned and or replaced. Rear axle was blown apart cleaned and rebuilt. I estimate I now have $21,000 into so far.

      I figure worst case if I paint it another $5 to $7K and another $2100 on interior. A spreadsheet would have worked wonders PRIOR to starting the project as I could have simply sold my project and parts and enjoyed time instead with the family and been way ahead. Let me tell you.

      That Cobra Mustang is very attractive in the sense as it could be had and enjoyed now. You could drive it anywhere. The eight months I worked my butt off are gone as well as my stash fund. I am going to have a “new” car with a 3:91 gear manual steering that will be used as only driving on the weekends weather and wife permitting. Careful what you wish for. Again there is NO easy restoration.

      Like 1
  6. Chris Webster

    From what I see, the new owner could have this running & driving with a couple of weekend’s worth of work.

    Like 6
  7. Paul

    There’s nothing inexpensive or easy about even a driver-level refurbishment on something like this, much less a show-worthy restoration. But it’s a great example of a 4-speed GTO. It could be a great driveable classic for someone with the right knowledge, skill, enthusiasm and bank account.

    Like 9
  8. Macfly

    When you can buy a cleaned up driver for $18k why would you want this and all the risk of simply getting it running? Tires, clutch and a vinyl top alone leave no room for upside!

    Like 5
  9. Frank

    This old guy from the 60’s agrees that you have to put things into perspective.
    If all you have is some money and no ability, Then leave this one alone. If you
    have ability, Then this could be a fun project. Get it running and enjoy it or spend a fortune and restore it.
    The key is You have to be able to work on them in order to be in the car for a reasonable price.
    Yes it is cheaper to buy one fixed up and running if you can find one that isn’t put together with chicken wire and bondo.
    I have owned many pontiacs in the past (my favorite) and would have this one if there weren’t already four projects in the works.

    Like 4
  10. Steve Clinton

    $14,000.00? Really?

    Like 2
  11. Dave Peterson

    Wonderful cars. This year was the last for these “apex” predators. GM was a colossus. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to like them to Apple and Microsoft in combo. Frigidaire was a little side product. Each line created their own engines. Can you imagine the internecine warfare that was probably a daily occurrence? My Father worked in engineering during the late 1930’s with an up and comer named Estes. The stories were unfathomable. When we children of these men pass, the collective memory or even the concept of not only manufacturing 80% of the worldwide output but also paying a living middle class wage to upwards of a million workers. Now – get off my…..

    Like 5
  12. Marshall King

    I know one would have to check this one out carefully, but if it is what it appears to be, and someone has the talents and ability to do most of the work themselves, this could be a great launching point. Gas tank, fuel lines and a clutch are not that hard to do. A lot of patience and work would bring the body up to snuff, a decent paint job and good tires and you’d have a pretty good driver. Want a show-stopper? Well just prepare your budget for that. To me? I’d rather to have a car that would look nice and be fun to drive, not a trailer queen that I’d be afraid to enjoy! Hey, it’s way more fun to torch a few tires and give the car a run than it is to say “look what I have”, and then drive it on and off the trailer, never experiencing what these cars were, and are, all about!

    Like 2
  13. DuesenbergDino

    My take on these cars is a lot of them are just overpriced. You used to be able to bargain with reasonable sellers and gently remind them of the other side of the deal, putting it back in running condition. It seems today’s sellers want every last nickel they can squeeze you for and there simply is no meat left on the bone. They see these cars at auction getting huge money and blindly assume their abused, abandoned, gutted and rusted 1 of 32,546 car is on the same playing field. I did metal , body and paint work for high end customer restorations on Senior Classics for years and it’s not for the faint hearted that’s for sure. Mechanical, sheet metal fabrication, suspension, upholstery, engine work, chrome plating and on and on is expensive. Few guys are capable of performing “show quality restorations” on their own. That’s where the upside down part comes into play. Paying others to work on your car will drain the account rapidly.

    Like 5
  14. Tim Palmer

    OK, a nice goat. But, I had a ’69 Lemans Custom S. Same Difference ?

    Like 1
  15. Tom

    With all of the grime on it I can’t tell if it’s painted or a primer princess. Some pics of the old gal cleaned up would be nice.

  16. R.Lee

    First, 120,000 miles, 120,000 miles does that register with anyone.

    I had a nice low mileage 1970 Goat in 78′ and paid 2,500 hundred. Keeping rubber on the car was a problem. Red with black interior, beautiful heavy car. Premium was 75 cents and a beer 50. And she liked premium. 400, 800 cfm and the 4 gear 3.90 positraction rear. Did I say Beautiful, because that is what Ethl was.

    120,000 Miles, so the engine is TIRED. Money, have you majored an engine in the last 5 years? Not many machine shops left, and then they are builders now. Money, has the second gear, idler gear been replaced yet? Money, has the brakes, upper lower a frame bushings been replaced because they are toast by now. Same with the rear, really bad with a 4 gear. And with 120,000 there is body work on the car somewhere. Is the nose piece cracked, how many cracks? You can’t run to the salvage yard and find a good fixable one. And the rear bumper is a real peach also to find in usable condition with all chrome.

    But you are buying a labor project. I can do all the labor except machine work and would not trust any shop to assemble my engines, unless I know them personally and I will still do it because it is FUN to do it yourself.

    This is a Father and Son or Daughter project. Perfect. I would reach out to 18,000 for the Goat provided the complete body and frame are unmolested. And there are a few pieces missing just from these pics. I like it, do not bid. I have all the hard to find parts, complete black interior.

    I’LL BE BACK

  17. Hogie

    Had a 70 GTO, liked my 67 so much better

    Like 1
  18. Dale

    Really Now – $14,000 for that? Has anyone blown up the image of the rear upper body panel? It as well as the pinch weld at the rear window are rotted through. How many people have had to either hand fabricate these parts or get them from a donor car? This car with the purchase price (and who knows what that will be) plus just a nice (not a show quality restoration) will set you back at least $60,000. Save your money and buy something that’s in much better condition than this car. We all know how it starts, then the snowball effect sets in and before you know it, years have gone by and your in it way over your head, and you have a $ $35 -$45,000 car and spent way above that to get there. I’ll pass…

  19. R.Lee

    21K Good for the prior owner and at least the new owner is getting an unmolested car with minimal vinyl top damage. The car is tired but I would take that car before I would buy a car missing half its drivetrain.

    Paid a little more than I would have but in today’s world of deception at least it is complete. I hope that the car gets the attention that it deserves.

  20. john hugh

    another idiot that stumbled on a car and caught the barret jackson flu.. 14K lol 7500

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