Lately, we've been seeing a lot of GTOs moving through our doors here at RK Motors Charlotte, but few have been as nice as this 100% numbers-matching Nightwatch Blue 1965 convertible. Fresh off a $150,000 frame-off restoration by noted expert Mike Flaherty in Milwaukee, and loaded with factory options that include Tri-Power and A/C, THIS is the GTO you've always dreamed of owning. Few cars from the '60s capture that rare blend of sophistication and performance better than the early GTO. More than just a street brawler, this is a car that you can have fun with all day at the drag strip, and still wear with your best custom-tailored suit for a night out on the town. And it really is as gorgeous as it appears in photos.
Here's the cowl tag decode:
ST65 1965 model year2 Pontiac37 LeMans Sport (remember that the GTO was an option package on the LeMans in 1965)67 ConvertiblePON Pontiac, Michigan assembly plant8982 Sequential body numberTR 218-B Parchment interiorPAINT E-1 Nightwatch Blue with white convertible top
Nightwatch Blue is the ideal GTO color. These were never in-your-face muscle cars, even though they arguably started the whole trend. Like the cars combination of performance and style, the Nightwatch Blue finish is sophisticated and elegant, attention-grabbing without being flashy. Roll into the show field with this car and all eyes will be on you. Of course, you can't do paint like this over substandard bodywork, so it was stripped to bare metal and rebuilt from the surface up. Actually, restoration photos show a pretty darned clean car to begin with, and it doesn't appear that any significant metal surgery was required to bring this one up to show standards. The finish is miles deep, thanks to an extended session with the buffing department, and the light metallic in the paint makes it glow in the sunlight. Sadly, the photos in our studio just don't do it justice, although you can easily see how arrow-straight the panels truly are.
Glittering, show-quality chrome and trim is the only way to go on a car with paint this nice. Imagine doing all that work, and then installing a cloudy original bumper no thanks. Fortunately, every piece of shiny metal on this car has been re-plated or completely polished to new condition (or better). Front and rear bumpers are originals that have been triple plated, the beautiful stacked headlight surrounds are spectacular, and the finned rear valence between the tail lights is like artwork. And history junkies should note that the 1965-only GTO tail lights are the most expensive production units ever created by GM, involving casting, painting, and plating of the housings which wrap around the rear of the car. Correct GTO badges have been installed throughout the car, as well as on the front grille, separating it from its similar stable mate, the Tempest. It also appears that all the glass is new, with a correct Soft-Ray tint that goes wonderfully with the Nightwatch Blue paint.
According to the PHS documents, this is indeed an original 389 Tri-Power car, and the original, numbers-matching engine under the hood looks factory fresh. Resplendent in Pontiac Turquoise with proper chrome valve covers and individual air cleaners, Pontiac designers clearly knew that people would be admiring their workmanship under the hood. Power brakes and power steering are included, as well as the big Frigidaire compressor on the passenger's side of the block, all of which are fully functional. You'll also note the optional underhood lamp just behind the distributor, a heavy-duty cooling system, and new wiring and plumbing throughout the engine bay. The exhaust manifolds appear to have a high-temperature coating on them, since they're pristine, while the engine enamel around the exhaust ports has burned away, which typically happened moments after driving off the showroom floor when the cars were new. It also means that this car has been driven enough to be fully sorted and ready to drive immediately.
This is also an original 4-speed car carrying its original transmission feeding a 3.23-geared rear end with a Saf-T-Track limited slip. Looking at the chassis, everything is new, and the floors are so crisp I have to believe they've been professionally replaced, although there's no sign of the welds. A correct reproduction dual exhaust system gives the potent 389 just the right exhaust note, fresh bushings and ball joints ensure a smooth ride, and new shocks at all four corners are part of the optional Ride & Handling Package. This one also features heavy duty brakes, including aluminum front drums which are visible through the spokes of those ultra-rare ORIGINAL Hurst cast aluminum wheels, which are a story all by themselves. Stealthy 14-inch Firestone Firehawk radials have been installed at all four corners, featuring buffed sidewalls and period-perfect redlines.
A positively stunning Parchment vinyl bucket seat interior is the perfect complement to the Nightwatch Blue paint. The stylish diagonal pattern is unique to the GTO and the symmetry of the seats in this car is the result of careful fitting and lots of extra time spent during final assembly. The door panels are just as well-fitted, and you'll note that this car carries power windows and a remote driver's side mirror. With the same kind of styling as the rear valence, the center console is beautifully finished, offering storage space and easy access to the Hurst 4-speed with cue ball shifter. A hood tach wasn't available in 65, but this one offers a set of crisply detailed in-dash gauges, including the original tachometer and checkered flag speedometer. Looking over the options list, the original buyer seemed to specify every optional light and mirror, too, including a visor vanity mirror, inside tilt mirror, and the aforementioned outside remote mirror on the driver's door, as well as a glove box light, ash tray and lighter lamp, and a parking brake warning lamp (strange that this would be optional). The trunk also received a lamp, along with a new mat and tire cover. That convertible top is also brand new in dazzling white vinyl with a crystal clear rear window and matching parchment boot.
Documentation is extensive, including the original owner's manual, power top manual, PHS documents, press releases, production figures, and dozens of restoration photos.
There aren't many 1965 GTOs nicer than this one, and thanks to its numbers-matching status, very lengthy options list, and unusual color combination, it may very well be one-of-one. Beautifully restored and fully sorted, it's a car that you can drive anywhere with confidence. Pontiac was definitely hitting on all eight cylinders in the mid-60s, and this GTO was the king of the hill. Stylish, beautiful, and impressively fast, it's an all-purpose cruiser that you'll never get tired of driving, and I guarantee every time you park it, you'll turn to admire it as you walk away. It's that kind of car. Call today!
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