Tri-Power Goat: 1964 Pontiac GTO

1964 Pontiac GTO

It has been a while since we last featured a first year Pontiac GTO, so when Jim S tipped me off to this, I thought it deserved a closer look. Given the Goats history of speed, it is unusually to find one that hasn’t been modified, restored, or wrecked, but this example looks to be unmodified and clearly hasn’t ever been restored. The seller claims it has only seen 10k miles since new and they say they have documents to prove it. Find this 1964 Pontiac GTO here on eBay with the reserve unmet and the option to Buy It Now for $10,500.

1964 Pontiac GTO Interior

In the past, I have had a lot of readers ask why I call these cars Goats, so I thought I better explain the GTO’s nickname just a little. As things go, there is no one explanation for how the car received this nickname. Some credit it to the cars acronym based name. As people began talking more about the car, it’s thought that perhaps some would accidentally mix up the T and O, but instead of saying “Got” they said “Goat”. I prescribe to the belief that it had more to do with the cars fierce acceleration and its ability to eat just about anything you threw at it. Given the first letter being G and this hunger for speed, calling it the Goat just makes sense. I doubt we will ever know where the name came from for sure, but it stuck and for many these cars are simply Goats.

1964 Pontiac GTO Engine

This Goat looks a bit rough around the edges, but is surprisingly solid for a car that has been parked in a North Carolina barn since 1976. The only serious rust I see is in the trunk floor, even the quarter panels look solid! I can’t help but wonder why someone parked it after using it for only 10k miles. Perhaps they were racing it a bit too much and damaged something vital, which forced the owner to park it. Regardless of what may have happened to it, it is going to need a full engine rebuild, as the motor is currently stuck. The seller claims it was originally a Tri-Power 389 engine, but has been replaced with a 4 barrel 389.

1964 Pontiac GTO Project

I’ve always respected the GTO, if not because its performance, than for the role it played in automotive history. While we know it wasn’t the first muscle car, it certainly played an important part in shaping the muscle car era that followed it. This one could make for a great project and deserves to be back on the road. If it really is as solid as the seller claims, I hope the next owner preserves it. Whichever direction the next owner decides to take it, I’m sure they will enjoy launching it at every intersection and getting to row through the 4-speed. So would you preserve this Goat or do you think it deserves a full restoration?


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  1. DREW V.

    Somebody needs to proof read and dbl check the facts…”The seller claims it is the original Tri-Power 389 engine.” ???
    From the eBay listing “Somewhere in the car’s history the original engine was replaced with a 1965 big car 389 325 HP 4BBL.” Plus the pic in Barn finds shows a 4 bbl manifold…

    I think the car is too far gone to try and make a survivor out of it but is an excellent candidate for a resto…

  2. cory

    my favorite year for these, but I think the tow hitch tells a different story than a race history. looks like it was driven hard, blown up, motor swapped then parked. definitely worth a restoration, but someone who know what they are looking at needs to chime in about authenticity

  3. Rick

    Too far fetched of a story – do not believe it has only 10K on it. But yeah, make it nice, do a rotisserie resto and spend another $75K

    • TJP

      75K will get you in the ballpark parts wise. Add labor and you’ll be upside down in a hurry.
      the seller is delusional, BRAIN FREEZE???? LOL

  4. Vic George

    I like the 68 Olds cutlass parked behind the GTO

    Like 1
    • DT

      Im thinking its a 442

  5. rdc

    always liked the looks of this year GTO. However, not sure I believe anything about this ad. As others have stated, wrong engine and trailer hitch make me wonder.

  6. FRED

    love the car hate the story. where is the original motor cause it ain’t in the car and a hitch on a goat?

  7. Vince Habel

    I don’t believe it has only 10k on it. Everything looks rough and the engine has been replaced. I would stay away from it unless you plan on spending way too much on it.

  8. Mark in Medford

    Paying premium for a low mileage car should get you a car clean enough that you dont need to replace or restore everything, this car needs everything repaired or replaced and sure dosent deserve the premium price. The low mileage is worthless when you can buy a higher mileage car in better condition. Rick is correct, 75k will get you a 50k car.

  9. Bernie H

    If it was barn stored, the barn must be missing the roof! This thing shows moisture/scale on every surface including the undercarrage, damp outside stroage under a trap maybe?. Yup, its still desireable, but needs everything, and Rick is “spot-on” with the costs.

  10. PaulG

    “Certified 10K mile car”
    Where is this “certification”?
    I see 110K miles simply because it was driven 11 years BEFORE it was stored for 40…
    In this case, 10K per year…

  11. Rancho Bella

    I don’t believe the mileage………the ad could use more pix ………
    For those of you old enough, one would see from time to time trailer hitches on Shelby Mustangs, Corvettes and yes…….I remember seeing one on a Sunbeam Tiger, so I don’t find this unusual. A LeMans is stable enough to pull a car trailer or a UHaul trailer full of dirt and certainly they had enough horse power.
    As for the engine, they won’t last for ever so I’m getting used to the idea of engine replacements.

    I’ll never understand why they call them goats, even when explained, it sounds dumb.

  12. TJP

    10K original miles ????? yeah right, Ok, maybe the odometer stopped at 10K but the rest of that pile didn’t. it’ been rode hard and put in a wet barn, LOL

  13. Dolphin Member

    My favorite year for the GTO, and my favorite musclecar. They were more popular in the first year than I remembered (almost 25,000 coupes made), so valuations aren’t too high to buy in this condition. The downside is that when it’s redone up properly it still won’t be worth all the time and money you would need to do it right. The latest SCM Guide says these are worth only $24-33K in excellent condition, but I guess the Tri-Power would bring that up a bit.

    These were one the first two cars I was aware of as being real fast. I remember a Tri-Power GTO at a drag strip back when these were new being second fast only to a ’60s Hemi Dodge. Both drivers were able to rack up low ETs by speed shifting, which made the cars’ bodies rotate a little on their suspension with each shift. I had never seen anyone do that before. My buddies and I were trying to guess how many gearboxes they blew before they got good at it. None of us had the nerve to ask the drivers. I remember that we were so impressed we didn’t want to ask questions like that.

  14. DT

    I dont even belive that the tires only have 10,000 miles

  15. Charles

    10K miles? Yeah, right.

    I collect low mileage original Firebirds, and can tell you that I have never seen a true low mileage car in this poor condition. Even for some strange reason the mileage is correct, the condition of the car and the non numbers matching engine negates any benefit of the low mileage. I would rather buy a high mileage well maintained example.

    I included a picture of my two documented low mileage Firebirds to demonstrate what prospective buyers expect when one makes a claim to be selling a low mileage original car. Granted an 80’s Firebird is not in the same category as a 60’s GTO, but the principal of presenting any old car as a low mileage example is the same. The car on the left has 30K actual miles on it. The car on the right has 24K actual miles on it. The cars are original except for things like tires and batteries. They both wear original paint with some touchup and some patina. They both have a documented history and I am the second owner of each car. And of course they both are numbers matching.

    No doubt this GTO should be saved. It will be a labor of love for the right person. One can certainly purchase a well kept numbers matching GTO for far less money then it will take to restore this one. To me this is an ideal candidate for a resto-mod restore. One will certainly lose nothing more by installing an LS based engine with all of the modern updates that go along with it.

  16. Don Barzini

    While I have always preferred the 1965 and 1966 model years, this car’s originality really appeals to me. If it were mine, I’d do a mild restoration, clean up the paint, and make it a driver.

  17. OhU8one2

    Goat, goat towed a boat gently to the lake,launched the goat instead of the boat,sunk til it was gone,that’s how come the low mileage,time capsule stayed so pristine. You know the rest………..first thousand miles,changed original 64 only steering wheel, second thousand whacked the oil pan,three thousand added tow hitch for pulling @#$%^ wagon.ETC,etc……. Anyone remember a “Royal Bobcat 421 tri-power 4spd on the cover of a magazine racing one of Enzo’s finest.

  18. Mike

    My first impression tells me that if this car is really a 10k survivor it appears to have spent some of its time in a flood zone! The restoration cost might not be the only underwater activity here!

  19. Tom Lyons

    The nickname goat has been around since at least 67 , that’s before most of u guys were born , the 64 was trulluy the talk of the town

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