Tri-Power Project: 1964 Pontiac GTO

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This first-year GTO got restored some number of years ago and then left outside to the elements. So, some attention will be needed now with the body as well as the drivetrain. It has the desirable Tri-Power 389 cubic inch V8 which was installed in about 25% of all GTOs in 1964. From Berthoud, Colorado, this Poncho can’t move on its own but is available here on craigslist for $21,000 to someone who wants to resurrect it again. Thanks for the cool Pontiac tip, Barn Finder T.J.!

Conceived as a performance option on the mid-size Tempest/LeMans, the GTO is considered by many to have fathered the muscle car movement of the 1960s. The rest of General Motors and the domestic auto industry would quickly follow when Pontiac sold more than 32,000 copies the first year when internal projections were only for 5,000 units. The 389 was the only engine choice that first season, either with a 4-barrel carburetor or a triple-deuce set-up like in the seller’s car.

As the story goes, this machine was restored in 2002 and yet was relegated to outside storage for many years. As a result, some poorly done bodywork on the driver’s side rear quarter panel has come to light and some serious rework will be needed. Its original color was black with a vinyl top option (rarely ordered we’re told) and a contrasting red interior (sharp combination). From the photos, it doesn’t look as though the interior will require any appreciable effort.

The motor is stuck and has rust in three of the cylinders (the valves are in the open position). No attempts have been made to get it to turn, so the heads will need to be pulled to find the root cause and repair it. The 389 was rebuilt as part of the older restoration at 48,000 miles. This muscle car has a 4-speed manual transmission, making it an ideal street performer in the mid-1960s. The seller says the original quarter panels will ascertain this machine as a real-deal GTO rather than a Tempest, although I don’t know how that’s better than a build sheet if you’re looking for confirmation.

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Comments

  1. Dave Schiller

    Is this car currently for sale..?

    Like 3
    • Big Bear 🇺🇸

      Yes on Craigslist for $21,000.. 🐻

      Like 1
      • S. Hintley

        To much.

        Like 2
  2. Tbone

    No mention of confirmation of pedigree through PHS. Previous bondo restoration and no confirmation that it will run. Seems optimistically priced considering how shoddy the quarter panel was done. Can’t imagine that the rest of the body doesn’t hide similar issues. Buyer beware

    Like 16
    • RedEagle CornStalk

      First off we were that bone head at 1 time. It was maybe his first car and no male to tell him what to do so he was doing the best that he had and something happened which of no fault of his own took the money he had laid back for the car had to go for surgery and even though he had offers he won’t sell it because it’s his first car and now the money is worth more than the car some people need to learn that the value of money is not where it is because in the end the person with the most wins

      Like 7
      • Johan

        Huh??

        Like 9
    • David Michael Carroll

      Ad says the engine is stuck!

      Like 2
  3. Darren Lyons

    first off what kind of bonehead would do that lousy body bodywork to a car like that not to mention leave it outside.some people.hard to not let further insults fly.

    Like 11
    • RedEagle CornStalk

      First off we were that bone head at 1 time. It was maybe his first car and no male to tell him what to do so he was doing the best that he had and something happened which of no fault of his own took the money he had laid back for the car had to go for surgery and even though he had offers he won’t sell it because it’s his first car

      Like 12
      • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

        Thank you,,,

        Like 5
    • Steveo

      Life happens. Sometimes a car isn’t the major focus.

      Like 14
  4. Ed

    This seller bought this car literally a week ago for $14,000. The restoration was actually done in ’96 and the car was parked around ’01 due to carbs needing to be rebuilt and broken motor mounts. Over the years the wind destroyed numerous car covers and even a canvas garage that housed the car.

    Like 10
    • Jerry Bramlett

      Ed –

      What happened to your post saying this car was bought from your mother?

      It looks like the rear wheelwells were cut out (radiused) for larger tires like drag slicks, in the past. Is that the case?

      Also, the trim tag says it was a factory two-tone paint job with black on the bottom and a “silvermist” gray roof. Am I interpreting that correctly?

      The 4-speed shifter looks like and after-market Hurst rather than a Pontiac factory Hurst. Was the car originally a 3-speed?

      Lastly, does the engine have the original factory block and 3×2 set-up or something else?

      Thanks for any clarification you can give.

      Jerry

      Like 0
  5. Chris

    If Ed has it correct, then the seller bought the car for about what is/was worth.

    The 1/3 increase in price (as his profit) seems high for the condition shown and unknown potential issues with the engine.

    Like 8
    • Ed

      I’m 100% correct as it was bought from my mother

      Like 12
      • 19sixty5Member

        Cool! Small world!

        Like 1
    • Randy

      I agree, Chris. The way it sounds, it’s gonna need the motor rebuilt or a new one. Then the tranny will probably have to be replaced. Then the restoration to the body. No telling the cost of all that, not to mention the man hours.

      Like 3
  6. Nick P

    I’d like to see PHS on it to see how it was originally built. 64 tripower intakes had the radiator hose come off the passenger side. This could be a later engine or at least top end. Without PHS, car could’ve been a gold 4 barrel auto Lemans. All in all though, I wouldn’t kick it out of bed for eating crackers. Should be a viable project for someone.

    Like 5
  7. Kevin Burris

    How do that know it has “rust in 3 cylinders” I seriously doubt they used a bore scope

    Like 4
  8. Anthony

    Way over priced 5000 tops tv shows have been bad for the old car industry

    Like 1
  9. Jerry Bramlett

    This is a strange one.

    There were two posts on here yesterday by “Ed” saying this GTO was bought a week ago from his mother for $14,000. Now both of those posts have disappeared.

    There was a phone number for the seller linked in the CraigsList ad this morning. Now it’s gone.

    The quarter panel shown appears to have had a radiused wheelwell opening at one time. If so, I’m guessing the sheet metal was cut out to make clearance for a huge drag slick.

    The body trim tag says it originally came with a medium red interior and a two-tone exterior paint job. The bottom was black and the top was “silvermist” gray from the factory. There was no factory vinyl top on this car.

    The shifter stick is an aftermarket Hurst design rather than a factory Hurst shifter for a console. I wonder if this car originally came with the base 3-speed transmission that was changed out when it hit the drag strip? The mystery 3×2 engine might be from something else too.

    There are just too many unknowns for me to appraise this car. Maybe the seller would be willing to clear them up, but I suspect not. By removing his phone number he’s chased me away.

    In the past I’ve never received a reply from a CraigsList seller who only offers a blind email address. The people who refuse to give their phone number often turn out to be scammers or jerks. Or both.

    Like 2
    • Nick P

      The posts from Ed disappeared I’m sure due to the new “report comment” option. Its like craigslist where anyone can flag anything they don’t like. Barnfinds has never allowed personal attacks. However, last week I simply corrected some wrong information from someone else and my reply disappeared as well. I was nothing but respectful. They just didn’t like being corrected I guess.

      Like 3
      • Ed

        Guy didn’t even take our plates off of it! I have pictures of him loading it on his trailer and I even had my high school senior photo taken with it way back when it was still on the road.

        Like 1
    • Ed

      I just noticed that my comments were missing as well. Guy is trying to flip for a quick buck definitely

      Like 1
      • Jerry Bramlett

        Ed –

        I appreciate you coming back!

        I like your old car… a lot. Please tell me what engine is in it and the history you know, especially about the quarter panel repair. You might want to post quickly in case we both are about to get censored. Uh… I mean “reported”.

        Thanks,

        Jerry.

        Like 0
      • Ed

        Jerry –

        It is a 389 tri-power, all repairs/restoration were done before my dad purchased it in the late ’90’s. Unfortunately my dad passed away last year and he was the one who knew all the history on it. I was only a teenager back then and my memories are spotty of specifics of course

        Like 0
      • Jerry Bramlett

        Annnnnd… it’s gone from CraigsList! I guess the flipper sold it.

        Like 0
  10. 64 Bonneville

    $21,000 is way to high, left rear quarter, even if metal welded in, has an unusual amount of putty from nearly drivers door to tail light. Locked up engine, 3 cylinders rusted, checked with camera (borescope?) per ad. A lot of bodywork to re-do and if you have to pay for it, beau coup bucks. $8500-12K max.

    Like 0
  11. BILL A

    I would like to see more pictures of body. Not just drivers side rear. I feel there is more rust lurking around it.

    Like 0

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