In the automotive world, all hobbyists dream of finding that diamond in the rough and restoring it to its previous glory. We all keep our eyes open when were on the road, hoping to spot a forgotten treasure hiding in an old barn or garage somewhere. But how many of us have the ability and vision to actually take one of these basket cases and turn them into gold? Well, the guy who discovered this 1968 GTO coupe certainly did, taking a rusty hulk and transforming it into a concours-winning car with the GTO Association of America. Better yet, we have photos documenting the entire transformation, and once you see them, youll be astounded by the amount of work that went into this gorgeous Nordic Blue coupe.
According to the VIN and body tag, this car is a real code 42 GTO sporting its original code F Nordic Blue paint, code 1 Parchment vinyl top, and code 24 Parchment interior. But the real story is the transformation from a primer-covered shell to the show-winner you see now. The earliest photo we have of this car shows it sitting forlornly on a trailer, having just been rescued from whatever fate had in store for it. And it was roughlots of missing trim, lots of amateurish bodywork, and 100% primer covered. If you didnt know what it was, most people would have walked away and considered themselves lucky.
Instead, the car received a complete, frame-off restoration to the highest standards. The body was removed from the chassis, and the entire shell was stripped to bare metal. Any rust was professionally removed and replacement panels were expertly stitched into place (we have photos of all this, dont worry). New floors and trunk panels were welded in, and once it was properly sealed and the welds ground flush, it was primed and block sanded until every inch of the formerly rough surface was as smooth as glass. The car was properly masked and painted to match factory specifications, which means a satin black firewall and Nordic Blue everywhere else, including under the vinyl top. Instead of the original enamel used in 1968, two-stage urethane was applied and it has a tremendous wet look shine that simply glows in the sunlight. It was wet sanded and buffed to create a show-winning surface thats almost entirely devoid of flaws.
While the body was being restored, a nation-wide search was on to replace missing trim pieces. Wherever possible, original pieces were retained, but if there were no originals, quality reproductions were used. The grille, bumpers, and all the unique GTO badges (including the Pontiac shield side marker lights) now look factory-fresh. Im especially pleased that the restorer chose to keep the original fixed headlights instead of installing the popular folding headlights, which would not have been original for this car.
With the original engine long gone, the search was on to locate a suitable replacement. Originally equipped with the standard 400 cubic inch engine, which was rated at 350 horsepower and 445 pounds of torque, the replacement engine currently in the car was rebuilt to those specifications. Highly detailed to factory condition, its one very impressive engine bay. The standard and HO 400 engines received chrome air cleaner lids in 1968 for a little dress up, and it matches the chrome valve covers. The block is painted traditional Pontiac turquoise, including the correct intake manifold and Rochester Quadrajet carburetor. Other exacting details include the hoses and clamps, alternator, and even the reproduction Delco battery. Beautifully tuned, this one fires up easily, idles well, and drives down the road just like you expect a brand-new GTO would.
Fortunately, the original owner had the foresight to specify a wide ratio 4-speed manual, and thats what lives behind the 400 today. Out back, theres a 10-bolt filled with 3.55 gears on a limited slip, as specified by the original build sheet. The frame was stripped and refinished in correct 60% satin black, then reassembled with all new components. Details include paint daubs in all the correct places, new lines and hoses, and fresh internals for the brakes. New bushings, shocks, and body mounts give it a new car ride, and a fresh reproduction exhaust system makes it sound like its 1968 all over again. Rally II wheels complete the GTO package, and wear reproduction G70-14 Firestone redline bias-ply tires.
By now you know this is a highly correct and accurately restored car, and it continues inside with the beautifully finished Parchment interior. The center console was on the options list for this car, and it remains intact. The seats, door panels and headliner are all brilliant white with no scuffs or dirt, while the black dash and carpets add contrast. The steering wheel is an interesting piece with a green horn button, something Ive never seen before, but is correct. The gauges have all been rebuilt, and the original pushbutton AM radio remains in the dash. But check out the incredibly rare 8-track stereo that has been installed in the front of the consoleever seen one before? Theres also a clock, soft-ray windshield, seat belts, and an outside remote controlled mirror. The trunk has the spatter-finish paint, reproduction mat, along with a space-saver spare tire with bottle and jack assembly for a first-rate presentation.
Documentation includes PHS documentation, restoration photos, owners manual, warranty booklet, and a 1968 Pontiac service manual. We also have a big stack of receipts for the restoration itself, as well as the judging sheets from the GTO Association of America and all the awards this car has won.
Impressed? You should be. This is an extremely high quality GTO thats priced way under its higher-profile siblings. It is highly detailed and authentic, with some rare options, too. Fully restored, its ready to show and enjoy this summer and will hold its value for years given the proper care and maintenance. Weve had a lot of high-end Pontiacs through here lately, most of them Trans Ams, but I cant recall any that are as underrated as this one. This car is the total package, a show winner that can be driven and enjoyed, and the price tag is incredibly reasonable. If authenticity and documentation are what youre looking for in your next Pontiac, then look no further. This one is for you. Call now!
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