Original 389 Tri-Power V8 and transmission included
GTO package added in France in 1964
Lovely overall condition
Award winning muscle car
GTO – three letters sure to send the average muscle car enthusiast into full-on fangirl mode. Seen by many as the greatest of all the muscle cars, the GTO started life as a performance package for Pontiac’s Tempest Le Mans, their mid-size sedan. Available for the 1964/65 model years, it proved so popular that by 1966 it was a model in its own right.
Standing for “Gran Turismo Omologato”, the recipe was simple: take well-appointed, smartly designed sedan, add a dash of motorsport styling, stir in a spine-tingling V8 powertrain and finish with a pinch of marketing finesse and – voila! – a muscle car legend is born.
Of course, for some, even the power and ability of the factory-fitted 348hp Tri-Power 389ci V8 isn’t enough, so the example you see before you here is fitted with a turbocharged big-block V8, offering up at least 400hp to the rear wheels. Which is nice. Finished in shimmering Cameo Ivory with the usual GTO stripes to the front and rear and a highly original interior, this gorgeous two-door convertible is ready and waiting for a new owner. We wish that was going to be us, but apparently we’re not allowed. Our loss is very much your gain…
The History and Paperwork
Delivered new and registered in France in 1964
Factory-fitted GTO performance package
Four owners from new
Restored by the previous owner
Now fitted with a turbocharged big-block V8
The original 389ci V8, transmission and ancillaries will come on a pallet
The vendor tells us the car is complete with the grey card and a number of invoices
Award winner at the Concours d’Élégance, Périgueux ‘Vintage Days’ 2022
HistoVec report available from the vendor
Black vinyl upholstery
Electric windows all round
Aftermarket boost controller
Vintage radio and switchgear
We adore the smart black vinyl upholstery of the seats and door cards, featuring Pontiac branding to the seat backs and attractive ribbed patternation to the doors. It all looks to be in excellent condition too, with no tears or notable wear. The carpeting is black throughout, with Pontiac branded floor mats adding an extra dose of style.
As far as we can tell, all of the trim and switchgear is original – or certainly at least of the correct vintage. The chromework and controls all wear a lovely level of patina, with gentle wear from use in evidence. It’s the kind of character that really can’t be faked and is quite priceless. As well as the boost controller, a boost gauge and voltmeter has been added to the lower dash. The dashboard fascia itself features a tactile turned metal finish, while the vendor tells us that all of the gauges, instruments and cabin features work as they should, with no faults reported.
As with all American sedans of the period, the boot is vast. It all looks to be in good order and is finished with black carpeting. There are a few speckles of surface corrosion, but nothing that would concern us. Included is a fire extinguisher, spare wheel in a vinyl cover, GM branded vintage first aid kit and a small toolkit in an imitation crocodile-skin case.
Cameo Ivory paintwork
Black GTO stripes front and rear
Powered, fabric roof
Period-correct two-tone wheels
Gleaming in its fine coat of Cameo Ivory paint, the GTO certainly cuts an impressive figure. It’s a big car by European standards, which is accentuated by the colour scheme. It’s certainly not for the shy. The paint all looks to be in good order, with no major marks or blemishes we could identify. There are a few chips and minor marks, some of which have been touched-in, but generally it presents very pleasingly.
Long and low, with crisp, straight lines, there’s certainly plenty of bodywork to admire here. And it looks to be in fine fettle too, with no corrosion or damage on show and nice, consistent shut lines and panel gaps. Similarly, the brightwork and badging presents well, with some light patina to the branding. The brightwork still holds an attractive sheen, although we noted a little more wear and scuffing to the bumpers.
The powered, fabric roof operates as it should and looks to be in good order, with no sagging or tears we could discern. It’s finished in a similar Ivory as the bodywork, resulting in an elegant, stylish aesthetic.
Underneath, as far as we could tell all looks to be in nice condition, solid and straight with no obvious issues or corrosion on display. We particularly like the way the dual-tip, slash-cut exhausts peek out from each side of the car behind the rear wheels.
The wheels are the correct, period 14-inch items. Wearing a two-tone finish and polished lips, they complement the rest of the car nicely and are finished with a matched set of Maxxis white-band tyres.
Turbo big-block V8 conversion
Original 389ci Tri-Power V8 and transmission included
Should the new owner wish to return the car to factory specification, the original (optional at the time) 389ci Tri-Power V8 engine, together with the 3-speed automatic transmission, triple Rochester carburettors, Malloy ignition and Offenhauser 360 intake, all comes with the car.
However, we’d keep it as is – after all, who doesn’t love a turbo big-block V8? That hefty Rajay Industries turbocharger helps the mighty V8 deliver at least 400hp to the rear wheels. Modern MSD ignition has also been fitted for increased performance and reliability.
The result is a true tarmac-destroying, fire-breathing monster of a muscle car. Exactly what the GTO should be.
You may think it’s not possible to improve on the GTO recipe, but the addition of a turbo big-block certainly makes us think this is the car the GTO always should have been. Well presented, with the original engine and transmission still included, we think this magnificent muscle car is the perfect car for turning heads and shaking the ground at this year’s shows…
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1964 Pontiac Tempest Le Mans Convertible GTO
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