The paint is a special order color not on the Pontiac books and reflected in the cowl tag, it is factory-equipped with a 389 Tri-Power engine and optional 4-speed, and has enough documentation to answer all the questions you’re sure to get at the Pontiac Nationals.
That B146 code is all you need to know about the unique paint. The current color is correct, and research suggests that it’s close to Sunfire Red Metallic, but not quite. The result is a car that looks awesome and will always stand out in a sea of red, turquoise, and black GTOs. The bodywork was expertly refinished and the body was given a thorough block sanding in preparation for the unique finish. With the clean, unadorned lines of the first GTO, there’s really no place for shoddy workmanship to hide, and it’s immediately obvious that this car is as straight as they come. While Pontiac didn’t know what kind of hit they had on their hands when this car was built, the benefit of hindsight and history assures us that spending big money on the restoration of a GTO is still a wise investment, and it pays off big here. The crease along the lower body remains sharp, gaps are very good throughout, and the paint finish has a subtle glow that has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated.
As a sub-model of the Tempest, the GTO’s ornamentation was modest, mostly consisting of special GTO badges on the quarter panels, a chevron on the front fenders advertising 6.5 liters (the GTO was, after all, aimed at a crowd who appreciated European performance cars), and a grille badge. A full-width tail light treatment was a Pontiac trademark, just like the split front grille, and all components are either excellent originals or correct reproductions. Of course, the chrome was refinished, the stainless was polished, and any glass that wasn’t up to snuff was replaced with new pieces.
Although there are probably 50% more Tri-Power GTOs in existence today than were ever built by the factory, this one is, indeed, a real Tri-Power car, according to the window sticker and build sheets acquired from PHS. The block is a 76X casting, which is correct for a 389 Tri-Power car, and it wears a proper 9775088 intake manifold. The heads are also correct 9770716 castings, which were standard across the board on all 389s. When the car was restored several years ago, it was detailed for show and still shows nicely, with only minor signs of use. The Pontiac Turquoise finish on the block and heads remains bright, the carburetors and linkage all work correctly, and it wears a trio of miniature chrome air cleaners just as it did when it was new. An aftermarket A/C system was apparently installed sometime in the car’s past, and it has been retained, rebuilt, and now carries modern R134a refrigerant. It also offers optional power steering, however power brakes were not specified on this high-option car for some reason. It runs beautifully, fires up easily, and thanks to a newer dual exhaust system with Flowmasters and proper turn-downs, it sounds downright ferocious.
This is also a factory M20 4-speed car, which suggests that the original owner knew what he wanted and was exactly the kind of customer Pete Estes was hoping for when the GTO package was introduced. Standard issue on the GTO was a 3.23 gear set, and this one offers the benefits of a Saf-T-Track limited slip as well. The chassis was properly finished at the time of the restoration, and like the engine bay shows lights signs of use. The floors are solid, the frame shows no indications of previous damage, and it appears that there are new shocks at all four corners. 7.50-14 redline tires are a period-perfect touch, and the original full wheel covers with simulated knock-off centers have been retained, giving the car an appropriately authentic look.
The cowl tag suggests that this car originally had a red interior, but after seeing how gorgeous the white buckets look inside the lovely red coupe, nobody will complain. The buckets have been reupholstered using correct materials and patterns and obviously everything is new, including the door panels, dash pad, headliner, and even things like the sunvisors. A full-length console offers an accessory tachometer located down low, just below the A/C. Also note that this car carries factory power windows, an AM radio with deck-mounted power antenna, and a custom sports steering wheel that has been color-matched to the interior. There are very few signs of wear, the black carpets are rich and dark, and overall it shows extremely well. The fully finished trunk offers a correct trunk mat and matching spare tire cover for a factory fresh look.
Documentation includes all the great information from Pontiac Historical Services, including a copy of the original window sticker, build sheet, plus pages of specification and technical data on the early GTOs. There’s also an original Owner’s Guide that’s in absolutely pristine condition.
There can’t be many first-year GTOs more unique than this. From the custom color to the long list of options, it’s a great car with a fascinating pedigree. The restoration was exceptionally well done, and the car has been driven only sparingly since it was completed, so it still looks great. With full documentation from PHS, it backs up its unusual configuration with factory authority, so you won’t have any problems explaining to folks just how special this car really is. If you’ve always wanted an early GTO, this is the one to own. Call today 910-787-7400 ask for Allen.