The Humbler: 1970 Pontiac GTO Convertible

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Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

It’s pretty obvious that this one has been put away for a while–since 1999 to be exact, according to the seller (who goes by the eBay name carhoarder)! Surprisingly, they have actually owned the car since 1975, so there’s a lot of history that goes with it. The car is currently in South Hackensack, New Jersey and is listed for sale here on eBay, where the thoroughness of the listing and the lack of a reserve already has bidding up to $12,600.

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It’s pretty obvious that unless you love the “rat” look, this car will need some cosmetic refurbishment prior to putting it back on the road. That black fender in the top picture is said to be NOS, although why it was needed isn’t known. The seller has included some nice pictures and even took some of the small rust holes on the underside of the car.

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Here’s one of the pictures they’ve included of the rust on the outside surfaces. Certainly nothing that can’t be fixed, but it’s nice that you are aware of it going in.

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Here’s one of those underside shots. There’s enough heavy pitting on some of the cross members that I’d want to address it quickly, but the seller is correct in that there aren’t many holes, and what is there isn’t very big. So there’s hope!

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Pontiac wasn’t exactly modest when they were advertising the 1970 GTO. Dubbed “The Humbler,” the wide-track brand felt that the car was “dazzling”, and delivered a “basso burble” from the optional performance exhaust. Can you imagine a car advertised like that now? I’d love to see it!

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When I first saw the interior, I thought it wasn’t too bad, but then I started looking at what is either mold, mildew, or something worse on the steering wheel and on some of the other interior panels. Lots of heavy cleaning in order before you can determine what can and can’t be restored, refurbished or just reused. It’s nice to know that you would be doing this to a decked-out car, with air conditioning, power disc brakes, power steering and a limited slip differential.

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Here we have the Pontiac 400 cubic inch V8. The seller tells us it does turn over, but won’t start at the present time (they suspect a tune up would have it running). I’m thinking that unless it was put away with the fuel drained, and there’s no sign of that, you are going to have quite a task ahead of you cleaning out the crud that will have accumulated. But perhaps that’s a task you are willing to take on for the privilege of driving “The Humbler?”

 

 

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Comments

  1. Car Guy

    Wow, 70 GTO convertibles were great looking. I tried to buy one years back but the guy would not sell and just let it weather away. Fortunately, it only got dry rot here in the soutwest. I have never seen an A/C compressor so rusted. Could this poor car have have sat in a swamp at one time?

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  2. JW

    Had a 70 hard top with the 400 v8, actually I like the styling of my 2 67s and the 65 I sold because of stupidity than the 70. This one has been stored I feel in a damp garage somewhere. I also think there is more rust than the seller is showing.

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  3. JoeR

    20,000 miles as per the listing….not original engine, so either 20,000 on the replacement engine or 120,000 on the vehicle.

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  4. Scat Pack

    Car Guy, I have never seen an air filter element with that much rust.

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  5. Fred

    This car is not a “Humbler”, or else that option would be listed on the build sheet.

    Only 223 +/- cars ever came with the Humbler exhaust option.

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    • JoeR

      As of now, it looks like it has a pair of Flowmasters.

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    • Steve Visek

      Just found this old post and thought I’d mention a few things:
      The VOE(Vacuum Operated Exhaust) was available for only a couple months or so from late 1969 to early 1970.
      The VOE was also sometimes referred to as the “Tiger Exhaust” option.
      “Humbler” was the advertising nickname Pontiac used for ALL 1970 GTOs and was not a reference specifically to this rare exhaust option.
      The VOE is sometimes referred to now as the “Humbler” option due to the option being cancelled after the airing of the “Humbler” GTO ad during the 1970 Super Bowl, thus linking the two in the minds of enthusiasts.
      Also, the VOE was not available with Ram Air.

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      • Jack

        I used to hear it referred to as the “Tiger Button Exhaust” or “Tiger Switch Exhaust” because it had a pull tab right next to the ram air pull tab.

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      • Steve Visek

        Jack, could be, but since it was not available with the Ram Air III or IV engines, I am not sure why that would be the case. I would like to know why it was not available with the RAIII or RAIV, though. I have seen it suggested it was due to lower vacuum with the Ram Air engines.

        I thought maybe it was due to needing to mount the control knob in the same location(not for engineering reasons but more likely due to needing to keep tooling costs down), but unless it was just a cobbled together prototype, I see that the car in the commercial appears to have both Ram Air and VOE controls.

        If it wasn’t a controls issue, it brings up a question: while not available on the RAIII and RAIV, would you have been able to order the VOE on a 455 powered GTO even if it had the optional hood air inlet option? The 455 was in production during the same time the VOE was. I wonder if anyone tried to order it. I can’t imagine the 455 had a vacuum issue, unless the air inlet system itself caused a loss of vacuum. Do you know?

        Another interesting point is that according to PMD’d official historian John Sawruk(d. 2008), the VOE wasn’t a performance exhaust option at all, or even a loud exhaust option. He said that it was actually a quiet exhaust option, and that in the open position it operated like the standard GTO exhaust, and in the closed position was like the LeMans quiet exhaust. If so, it might be better to call this the Stealth Exhaust option. I understand that due to high temps it tended to jam in place after a couple months of use.

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      • Jack

        @Steve Visek
        I just watched the commercial for the Humbler VOE Exhaust that Pontiac made, it clearly shows Ram Air and VOE pull tabs at 0.15 seconds in this you tube vid. Although the subject car is not a Judge. It does confirm that you could have both, Ram Air and VOE.
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v3GLNYzoZEM

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      • Steve Visek

        Jack, I saw that too. Of course that car may have been a prototype and may have just been cobbled together. Who knows. I sent off an e-mail to Waldron to inquire.

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  6. Jumping g

    The seller also is selling a 1968 hardtop.in much better condition.

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  7. Vince Habel

    The Humbler is a 455.

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    • Steve Visek

      Vince, “Humbler” was the advertising nickname Pontiac used for ALL 1970 GTOs and was not a reference to an particular engine or performance option.

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  8. Joe M

    This is showing signs of being under water, light flood. They rust from the inside out. Hence the rusty engine components. I bought a lightly flooded 78 Monte for parts and it displayed the same issues. Every bit of metal under every piece of plastic is probably rusted. They rust from the inside out.

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  9. Tom Member

    Unless this car is “Christine’s GM Sister” and can fix herself, really don’t want any part of it !!! Yikes.

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  10. Steve

    For every rusted spot you see, there are three hiding. It would be an awesome car, just a lot of work and $$$

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  11. Vin in NJ

    Rust would be a major concern. Here in NJ, we are gearing up for salt season, when winter storms bring ice and snow, and salt trucks try to combat the slick roads, leaving blankets of salt that kicks up under cars.
    As indicated, this car might have seen water. Anyone remember Hurricane Sandy?
    The car is currently in South Hackensack, but might have been stored closer to the Hackensack River.

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  12. GTO MAN 455

    I have a 70 455 convertible its an awesome goat but not many made, if you get this for the right price its worth the build GRRRRRRRR

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  13. Rustytech

    Why would anyone buy a car like this then stick it in storage for 18 years and not do anything with it. If it had been mine I would probably be divorced for abandonment by now for spending so much time in the garage!

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  14. Jack

    This is an excerpt copied from wiki…
    “A new and short-lived option for 1970 was the vacuum operated exhaust (VOE), which was vacuum actuated via an underdash lever marked “exhaust”. The VOE was designed to reduce exhaust backpressure and to increase power and performance, but it also substantially increased exhaust noise. The VOE option was offered from November 1969 to January 1970. Pontiac management was ordered to cancel the VOE option by GM’s upper management following a TV commercial for the GTO that aired during Super Bowl IV on CBS January 11, 1970. In that commercial, entitled the “Humbler”, which was broadcast only that one time, a young man pulled up in a new GTO to a drive-in restaurant with dramatic music and exhaust noise in the background, pulling the “exhaust” knob to activate the VOE and then left the drive-in after failing to find a street racing opponent. That particular commercial was also cancelled by order of GM management. Approximately 233 1970 GTOs were factory built with this rare option including 212 hardtop coupes and 21 convertbiles, all were “YS” 400ci 350 hp with either four-speed manual or Turbo Hydra-matic transmissions. This particular GTO in the commercial was “Palladium” silver with a black bucket interior. It was unusual in several respects as it also had the under-dash “Ram Air” knob just to the right of the VOE knob, and it sported “’69 Judge” stripes, as a few very-early ’70 GTOs could be ordered with. It also had a Turbo Hydra-matic transmission, remote mirror, Rally II wheels, A/C, hood tach, and a new-for-1970 Formula steering wheel.”

    Here is a YouTube link of the Pontiac Commercial that advertised “The Humbler”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v3GLNYzoZEM

    Here is a link to a reproduction of the VOE exhaust that you can buy right now for your GTO.
    http://waldronexhaust.com/drivercontrolledexhaust.htm

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  15. Rolf Poncho 455

    Car is in bad shape lots of rust can be saved

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  16. Steve W

    Really????? This has hurricane Sandys name written all over it. Rust issues are minor compared to electrical issues.

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