First impression of the car are very good, it’s an older restoration but you can tell it has been very well cared for, the paint is in excellent condition for a car that was restored roughly 20 years ago, and the paint is outstanding for its age. It’s a Tri- Power 4-speed 1965 GTO convertible, what more could you ask for? The Fontaine Blue with Blue interior and White top with redline tires has a very sophisticated appearance, just the right stance. The rear die cast panel and tail lamps are in excellent condition a major plus for a 1965 GTO.
The data plate reads as follows
65 year of vehicle
23767 Pontiac “A” Body (LeMans) 2 dr convertible
PON the vehicle was assembled in Pontiac, Michigan
217-B Dark Blue interior (all GTOs had bucket seats standard)
5N In the lower left corner of the data plate signifies this is a real GTO (in 1964 & 65 the GTO was an option on the LeMans)
D-1 Fontaine Blue paint code with a white convertible top
12B 2nd week of December production
Power Train Codes
Engine: YS 335 HP 389 4BBL Engine, L124 casting date (Dec 12, 64) correct for build date, #77 heads correct, This engine has been updated with a proper 1965 Tri-Power set up and carbs.
Trans: W Data plate shows a W code after 5N This signifies a 2 speed automatic trans, this car has been modified to a Muncie 4-SPD with a Pontiac Vin code.
Rear End: WF is an open rear end with 3:23 gears. It did have a limited slip tag on the rear diff cover so it might have been upgraded at the time of the restoration, if that is true they may have changed the gear at the same time.
The PHS on this car shows it is a real GTO with an AM radio w/manual antenna, dual speed windshield wipers, mirror group (vanity, inside tilt, outside remote) deluxe wheel covers (Rally I wheels now) door edge guards, soft ray glass windshield only, console, tilt wood wheel, gauges and in dash tach, AM/FM radio now, power drivers bucket seat, floor mats, deluxe seat belts, automatic trans (now 4-speed) Tri-Power also added, ride handling pkg, Detachable trunk light, chrome dual exhaust splitters, back up lights (yes they were an option in 1965) The options in bold were added at the time of the restoration and did not come as original equipment when this car was manufactured, as checked against the PHS paperwork.
Body and Paint Review
The 1965 GTOs design has very flat body sides, to make one look straight takes a good body man, and this car had a very minimum skim coats of filler in select areas to accomplish this, no signs of repair in normal rust areas, clean sheet metal. (When I mention filler I am referring to metal work being done and filler put over the work to smooth out the surface, because of the filler my special magnet will not stick in these areas) for almost 20 year old paint it has held up very well no signs of defects. Four original T3 headlamps nice original grills and headlight covers, front bumper in driver quality chrome showing minimal signs of wear. All of the chrome and polished trim is in very good condition with an occasional nick but very nice shine, the rear die cast and tail light unit are in excellent condition, very slight ripple in top left corner, these are difficult parts to come by, having nice ones are a major plus. Rear bumper chrome is very good and shows no signs of wear. Has the correct hand painted white side pinstripe. All of the glass is nice and clear with no issues, the white top is nice and taught which looks like it was all replaced during the restoration.
Tires and Wheels
The Factory literature shows this car came equipped with 14 X 6 steel wheels painted body color (Fontaine Blue) and Deluxe wheel covers. This car was upgraded with Rally I wheels with the correct 65 center caps, lugs and trim rings. The P215 75R 14 Coker Redline radials show a production date of 2002 so the restoration was probably performed around that time period.
The interior looks like a well-cared for original interior, the dark blue seats show some signs of wear and some staining, they are not show quality but none the less nice driver quality. The sill plates have slight nicks from use. The wood wheel is in very nice condition, no cracks, tilt wheel is a nice feature, the factory in dash gauges all work, and I hate to admit this, I enjoyed driving it so much I totally forgot to turn on the AM/FM radio? The front only deluxe seat belts were in good condition. The white ball and Hurst shifter were factory correct, the bucket seat chrome was in great condition, everything was like one would expect of an original car. The black convertible power top frame showed no signs of wear, seals all looked good. The Instrument panel was painted gloss when the restoration was completed, top pad nice no cracks.
Engine Compartment Review
The under hood appearance looked just like the 65 GTO brochure three chrome lids on the Tri-Power carburetors, chrome valve covers on a robin’s egg blue engine sitting in a semi flat black engine compartment, like the rest of the car it was restored to a high level at one time and driven so everything is not perfectly fresh, but still very presentable and very nice. The under hood pad still shows the imprint from a large round air cleaner when the car was a 4BBL. The master cylinder is still a factory correct 1965 single unit, if this were to be a daily driver it might be a nice to be updated to a dual master cylinder. Everything is coated and plated properly.
The trunk has a factory stock look, everything in the right place and restored correctly, even the spare had the optional tire cover that matched the floor mat. The sheet metal was in great condition covered in the correct aqua black splatter paint, all of the jack parts were present and accounted for and looking like new. A nice Blue convertible top boot and an optional detachable trunk light. It should be noted the trunk lock in the deck lid was keyed 90 degrees off for some odd reason this can be adjusted.
The body and frame were not separated at the time of the restoration, all of the body mounts showed signs of slight cracks, not a serious issue but could be replaced sometime in the future. The bottom sheet metal and boxed frame of this car is in excellent condition showing no signs of rust also proving it lived in a warm dry climate most of its life. All of the surfaces are painted the correct semi flat black and have a clean but driven look. The front steering is rebuilt, at the time of the restoration the front sway bar was swapped out for a larger unit and a rear sway bar was added, the lower control arms are not boxed. Gas shocks have been painted dove gray for the factory appearance. A nice factory looking dual exhaust with the correct GTO chrome splitters. The brake and fuel lines were replaced and in good mechanical condition. The gas tank was also replaced at the time of the restoration. The front upper ball joint on the driver’s side has a split in the rubber but is properly greased and will set properly when the car is on the ground. There are signs the trans tunnel was modiifed to accommodate the 4 speed conversion, but it was done with factory parts and looks correct.
The GTO came to life with a soft rumble, not a loud Muscle Car roar but a more sophisticated tone. The steering wheel and center are a little offset, whoever did the alignment did not correct that. The center carburetor came right down to idle, the Hurst shifter felt firm going into gear, the clutch felt solid and I had the guys adjust the petal slightly to engage at a better point in its travel. The redline radials really help the ride and handling, as well as the larger front sway bar and added rear sway bar, this car handled very well for its age. The interior felt very comfortable with the optional wood wheel. The addition of the Tri-Power and 4 speed really make this car a true performance car, when you open the additional carburetors of the Tri-Power you can feel it in the seat of your pants, this car moves. When this car was restored almost 20 years ago someone really cared for this car and took excellent car of it, this was someone’s baby, and it shows. Some of the paperwork showed the owner lived in Tampa Florida, A perfect place for a GTO Convertible. This car is well sorted out and performs and drives exactly as it should.