Ask just about anyone what the very first muscle car was, and inevitably they'll answer, “GTO!” Having endured the test of time, the early GTOs remain highly prized collectables, and few cars of the era are better drivers thanks to Pontiac's combination of luxury and performance. This particular 1965 GTO has been expertly restored to better than new condition throughout, and packs Pontiac's top motor, a 389 cubic inch V8 thats topped by a trio of 2-barrel carburetors and backed by a 4-speed manual.
Correct code W Bluemist Slate is a perfect example of Pontiac's ability to blend an upscale feel even into their most brutal muscle cars. This is a color that can take you out on the town wearing a tuxedo, and still feel right at home spinning the tires down the drag strip. With a gorgeous, chiseled body underneath, the car is perfectly proportioned and instantly recognizable. And there's no doubt that someone invested heavily in the restoration, because the panels are almost impossibly straight. Emphasizing the car's simplicity, the crease running along the lower body aligns exactly from panel to panel, and gaps are even enough to pass that ball bearing test that Lexus did a few years ago. Rendered in two-stage urethane, the Bluemist Slate paint is simply stunning, with a soft glow under our lights in the studio and a forever shine that glitters in the sun. Is it nicer than original? Absolutely, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
There was still plenty of chrome dressing up the cars of 1965, and the GTO benefited from some of the top stylists in the industry. From the traditional Pontiac split grille, to the stacked headlights that were in vogue that year, to the unique and impossible to find ribbed tail light lenses, this car carries more jewelry than Zsa Zsa Gabor. Correct GTO badges have been affixed to its flanks, and this is no converted Tempest, so the grille and fender emblems are the real deal. The stainless around the windshield and along the rocker panels has been professionally straightened and polished, but still stays in the background, letting the elegant shape speak for itself.
And speak this car does, thanks to the date code correct 389 cubic inch Poncho under the hood. Topped with a correct Tri-Power setup, it spins to life easily and idles with none of the fussiness that other multi-carburetor engines seem to experience. The carb linkage swivels like it's lined with silk, and the engine pulls the relatively lightweight GTO with real authority. Of course, the entire engine bay has been restored and detailed for show, including Pontiac Turquoise on the block that's so fresh, even the exhaust ports remain painted. Correct chrome valve covers and air cleaners definitely add some sparkle—Pontiac's designers knew exactly what they were doing—while the smaller details like the hoses, clamps, and reproduction wiring harness will impress the judges. A heavy-duty cooling system was part of the GTO package, although it appears that this one was built to prowl the streets, as it has no power steering or brakes to get in the way of making horsepower.
The chassis is equally detailed, including the Muncie M20 4-speed manual gearbox that was part of this car's original specifications. The floors are so nice, I have to believe they have been replaced, but they make an absolutely stunning backdrop for the rest of the hardware which has been finished to show condition. Everything is new, from the shocks to the brake pads, and a lovely new exhaust system gives this tiger a very aggressive growl. The 10-bolt rear axle is full of 3.55 gears on a Saf-T-Track limited slip, which gives this Goat an ideal combination of acceleration and cruising abilities. Restored Rally wheels wear a set of reproduction redline radials, one of only a few deviations from stock on the entire car.
Pontiac's dedication to upscale appointments is especially noticeable inside, where the stunning correct code 218 Parchment interior has been meticulously restored. Parchment is the ideal complement to the Bluemist Slate paint, creating a bright, airy interior that looks like it was stolen from a much more expensive car. Who can resist the diagonal stitching on the seats and the matching door panels, all anchored by black carpets and dashboard? The woodgrain on the dashboard is undoubtedly Pontiac's way of giving the car a European flavor, and while it isn't exactly convincing, it's certainly correct. The gauges have been restored, and you'll note that this car has been driven less than two miles (yes two!) since it was completed, so it is fresh-fresh-fresh! A lovely restored console houses the Hurst cue ball shifter that feels as good in your hands as the thin-rimmed steering wheel. And again, there are no power-robbing and performance-blunting accessories on board, just the basics, which is how the GTO earned its reputation. In back, the trunk reveals a correct mat, full-sized spare and a complete jack assembly.
Documentation includes all the wonderful information provided by Pontiac Historical Services (PHS), as well as receipts for the restoration and a certificate of authenticity from Legendary Auto Interiors certifying that the upholstery is an exact match for the original. Nice touch, that.
This might be the nicest GTO we've ever featured. I mean, I can't find a fault on it, and I'm always the first to say there's no such thing as a perfect car. With a restoration cost north of $100K and a ton of go-fast options, nothing that will interfere with it being a weapon on the street. And that color combination is simply stunning. For those of you who love the GTO, the '65 is a high-water mark in terms of styling and performance. This one will be tough to beat, on the road or on the show field. Call today!
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