These Goats Need a Bath!

Dusty 1965 GTO

Buying any car online can be a daunting task. You have to trust the seller’s description, photos, and intentions. It’s even more difficult when you are buying a barn find online. We all love the pictures of a classics parked in barns still wearing years of dust and dirt, but one major issue we see with buying a dirty old car is judging its condition. We came across this 1965 Pontiac GTO barn find here on eBay, and while the seller seems to be honest about its condition, it’s hard to tell what all it will really need. That isn’t to say it couldn’t turn out to be a great project, it’s just hard to tell when the car is covered with this much filth. Jim S happened to send us a link to another ’65 GTO and we thought it would be a good chance to do a comparison. Have a look at the other GTO after the break.

Rusty 1965 GTO

Jim’s find might not have as much dust on it, but it still has enough to make it tough to judge the condition fully. The seller of this GTO at least took the time to get more detailed photos of it, so you have a little better grasp of what your getting yourself into. It is a rusty wreck, but they have a parts car that goes along with it and at least with this one you know exactly what you are getting. Have a closer look here on eBay.

Rusted Pontiac GTO

Judging a car by just a handful of pictures is tough, if not impossible. There are so many hard to see spots where structural rust could be hiding and waiting to make a seemingly simple restoration a nightmare. Rarely do you have the chance to consider your options when buying a barn find, but this is one of those times when you do. So do you take the risk and gamble on the GTO without decent photos or do you buy the car that you can see has major issues? Sure, this dilemma could easily be resolved by something as simple as giving both cars a good bath and a personal inspection, but that isn’t always an option.

1965 Pontiac GTO

We always recommend having a PI (personal inspection) performed on a car before purchasing it, but like we said that isn’t always possible and you are left risking your money based on a few pictures. Of course if you are a good investigator, you might be able to derive a lot of information from just a few pictures. If you take a closer look at the dirty GTO, you may notice that it was originally a black car, yet it currently wears a two tone red and black paint job. This could mean the car was previously restored or that at the very least the typical rust zones had a little extra protection. We wouldn’t put too much weight on speculation like this, but it can come in handy.

LeMans Parts Car

Truth be told, both of these GTOs look rough and will be incredible challenges to restore. One is a shot in the dark and could either be solid or a complete rust bucket. The other is definitely a rusted out shell, but it does comes ith a parts car that has some of the crucial components and sheet metal that will need to be replaced. So do you take the risk and gamble on the unknown or do you buy the one that you know is in rough condition? Whether you are interested in these GTOs or some other project, this is the kind of question you have to ask yourself. Sometimes the lure of a project can be too great and you end up biting off a bigger chuck than you can chew. So given the choice of the unknown or a known wreck, which would you pick?


  1. Jim-Bob

    The thing is, it’s not a cut and dry question. It all depends on the level of risk, which is measured best in dollars. If a poorly advertised car is going for a low price because of a perceived high risk then it may be worth it to roll the dice and see what comes on the transporter. If I were to venture a guess as to which would be easier to restore, I would go with the black and red Texas car due to location. Texas cars don’t usually see road salt while the blue Ohio car shows signs of extensive exposure to salt due to the rust bottom half. Then again, you could get the Texas car and find out that it is a horrible nightmare. Neither car has matching numbers drivetrain parts, but the Texas car was originally a tri power/4 speed/posi car-making it more desirable if restored properly. Likely, it was used as a street/strip car when new though, so it will show signs of abuse stemming from that life.That also means the original engine likely disappeared decades ago after a racing related failure. However, I still contend it is the better builder unless it goes for ridiculous money.

  2. paul

    Nice find, sad to see these like this….. Well after you throw buckets of water to clean them you’ll need buckets of $’s to throw at them.

    • paul

      the bottom picture looks to be a third goat

      • Jim-Bob

        That’s actually a Tempest that is thrown in as a parts car for the blue one.

  3. Charles Gould

    With all due respect, and not meaning to be insulting, what happened to Barnfinds?
    This feature has more typos, poor grammer, run-on sentences and repetitive statements than I have ever read in the past. Plus there are ridiculous rhetorical questions.
    A prospective buyer could get more information, simply by asking for more detailed photos or asking the seller more detailed questions. Plus how difficult a decision could this be? Should I buy a known rusted hulk GTO, or one that MIGHT be rusted or MIGHT NOT be? That is a no brainer. Of course, I would choose the one that has a chance of being good, even if that chance is slim.
    So, really the only question is: “Do I take a chance on the possibly rusted one, as I am not going to buy the known rusty one?”
    Let’s bring back the proofreaders, and jounalists who can write a story.

    • paul

      Oh for a minute I thought I was on Barn Finds guess I made a wrong turn & ended up back in one of those dreadful English classes that I hated!!

      • charles Gould

        Not trying to be critical, but typically Barnfinds has been written in such an informative, interesting, accurate style, and has been a pleasure to read. This particular feature tripped me up and required going back to re-read certain passages over again, and the series of photos were confusing based upon the descriptions in the text. I just think that if you are going to write moto-journalism, it doesn’t take much additional effort to take a proofread pass before you publish.

    • Bubble Burst

      CG, that would be “grammar”, correct?

    • Josh Staff

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the story Chas. I’m not an English major, I’m just a car guy who loves to write about cars. Like every writer, I’m going to have off days and mistakes are going to be made. We aren’t a large publication that has an entire staff of journalists, proofreaders, and editors. We are just two car guys trying to share their love for cars. We will try our hardest to make sure that all of our posts are written to the best of our ability, but sadly some mistakes will get through. Basically, we are trying to churn out a magazine every week instead of once per month. That being said, I promise to try harder to write the kind of stories that this site and its readers deserve! I do appreciate you bringing our errors to our attention, as it is the only way we can improve.

      • Charles Gould

        Hi Josh,
        Thank you for your prompt response. As I have stated, I truly enjoy the site and I read it dilligently each and every day. I have purchased cars from the site, and overall, I think that you guys do an exceptional job, as I have already stated.
        I was just pointing out that this particular feature had more errors than I was accustomed to, and I just wnated to be sure thatthe ownership or writers had not changed.
        No harm, no foul, and I apologize for offending you in any way, as I truly enjoy the site.

      • Josh Staff

        Hi Again,
        Don’t worry, you didn’t offend me. I appreciate the criticism, it pushes me to try harder! You know what they say, “you win some, you lose some”. I just hope you will stick with us and that we can continue to bring you and everyone here the kind of stories they are use to!

    • Ranco Racing

      Grammer is spelled Grammar.

      • charles Gould


  4. Charles Gould

    Oops, Looks like my own comment has a typo!
    Oh well, maybe we can both chalk it up to too many Margaritas last night!

    • Josh Staff

      Sounds good to me Chas!

  5. VC

    The difference in the cost to “restore” any of these cars in not going to be hugely different the real difference is in the value of the car when done. That being said the real difference will be what the VIN number reveals about the car when it was built. An email to Pontiac Historical Services will decide which car to buy. From what can be seen from the photos one of these could be a Tempest in disguise.

  6. Chris

    I don’t understand the mentality of ebay vendors who don’t make the item as saleable as possible.

    Would a wash be too much to ask?

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.