Vintage Track Build: 1965 Pontiac GTO

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This 1965 Pontiac GTO has had a colorful history, beginning in 1968 when it was converted to track duty as part of an $85,000 build to make it as competitive and race-ready as possible. The seller notes that the car was built to compete at Riverside in the 70s and even qualified to race at Daytona. The engine is an exotic race-built Ram Air IV unit paired to a Muncie four-speed. The engine bay is empty, but the rebuilt engine is included. Find it here on eBay with bidding at $10,600 and the reserve unmet.

The GTO’s racing career apparently ended in Florida, too, as the day after it ran the Permatex 300, it failed to start and was effectively never run again. The seller claims nothing has been changed from that post-race experience, with all the decals and even the driver’s seat position exactly as it was left in 1971. The rear end is a Ford nine inch, but I’d also love to know how trick the suspension set-up must have been.

To see an old race car still wearing its livery and custom gold leaf paint is a treat. The seller notes that the roll cage and frame were painted pearl white back in the day, making this race car as much of a looker as it was a goer. The roll cage and seat is still there, but the engine has been removed. Supposedly, it is included with the sale and is freshly rebuilt. The wheels were replaced, along with the tires, but the seller still holds the originals.

Despite all of the details about the engine build, the seller doesn’t include any pictures of it installed or at least completely rebuilt. However, the seller claims a well-regarded engine builder tackled the work of refreshing the Ram Air IV engine, which included track-proven internals. The engine has already been run and broken in on an engine stand, so it seems like it’s ready to drop in. While not necessarily a famous car, do you think this liveried GTO is worthy of a strong bid?

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  1. lc

    No doubt this is a fabulous piece of history. I did do some close examination of the sponsor decals and they don’t totally add up to the story, but over the years things do get lost in translation. In the “pit photo” I also noticed an aluminum air dam up front that matches the one on the rear deck that is now missing. A different, deeper and narrower central front dam now takes control of air management…Perhaps this Goat stepped out just one more time before the pen was closed.

    Like 1
  2. Steve Meli

    The first generation(’64-’65)GTOs set the pace;They had in them “ALL THE RIGHT STUFF” which made them THE car to beat.In the very same fashion & manner that they were extraordinary,likewise were both the drivers & mechanics which propelled them to both break & make records.Said it then & still today THEY’RE THE BEST SUPERCAR OF ALL TIME! Made in America!

    Like 0
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Interesting and unmolested Car. Would be fun to race in a nostalgia class or put on display. Like Steve said, a muscle car that was ahead of its time with the talent to build and be driven hard. I like it!!! Good luck to the new owner!

    Like 0
  4. Mark

    Not questioning the cars history but the $85k it took in 1968 to get it race ready in today’s money, factoring in inflation is approx. $624k. If it’s well documented, would be interesting to see receipts behind the $85k.
    GLWTS. Would be a blast to drive no doubt

    Like 2
  5. moosie moosie

    What is a “ignorant” cam ?

    Like 0
  6. TimM

    Great pedigree!! Tons of history!! It’s all good information I agree with that!! With the way that tracks are closing I wouldn’t want it for myself!!

    Like 0
  7. TJohnson

    $85,000 in 68? Not too sure I’m buying that. Sweet car and history though!

    Like 0
  8. Mike

    People now would probably be asking who did all the fantastic patina work on the car.

    Like 0
  9. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Ended: May 23, 2019 , 5:14PM
    Current bid:US $11,700.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 8 bids ]

    Like 0
  10. MarkM

    Lemme see, a 1965 GTO that debuted in NASCAR in 1970/1971, when it was five-six years old? If it did indeed race, the Permatex 300 would be correct, as NASCAR had a three year eligibility rule for the top series, (Grand National), meaning it would have been GN eligible from the years 1965-1967.

    The series for the older cars was called Late Model Sportsman at the time, & went well back in the model years, & the Permatex 300 was the big LMS race of the year, so that does make some sense. There was also an LMS race ran at Riverside back then, before the opening race of the GN season.

    But, if it was “converted” in 1968, did it run any local LMS races before the 70s, & if s it didn’t, why not? Also, there ain’t no way it cost $85,000 to build that car for LMS racing back then, more like $10K-$20K tops, & likely less than that. Other than a few big races, the LMS cars were the NASCAR “Saturday night weekly short trackers” back then, & nobody in their right mind would invest that much in a car for that type racing, as they never come near recouping a portion of their investment. Plus, if they invested that much cash, (which they didn’t), there’s no way they’d let it sit for two years without racing it, as a race car just sitting there don’t put groceries on the table.

    I got a feeling it’s pedigree is largely fictional.

    Like 0

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