I would like to share a bit about purchasing a collectors GTO to those that have this goal. This is not to scare you off as a 60's GTO is a very nice car and I feel a solid investment on the "right" car. This is just offering some insight of the experience I have had with this car, over cars like classic corvettes, cadillacs, BMWs Mercedes, etc.
Being a car nut, I guess I have learned to appreciate the quality of an "original" car a little too much. Back in 76 I too had a $2000.00 67 GTO. I kept wondering what all the hype was about, so I saved everything I could and went and found myself a real nice GTO, and it was just that when I got done with my touches. Today, having currently 17 cars and being a national show judge for the past decade, I have been used to what a #1 condition car is and can appreciate a nice car of any make. I have been on a few year hunt for an "original" 1967 GTO convertible, that actually defines the word "original". I have given myself a budget that is very inline with what the market demands the best of these cars are worth.
Its apparent that the 1960's GTOs have become a respectable collector by the unheard of prices some of these cars have been bringing, and that is a very attractive thing to see. The problem with the GTO I am finding is, you DO NOT get what you pay for even on the most expensive "original". I guess this has alot to to with the fact that many GTOs that people are asking 40K+ for have emerged from the shadows of a car that littered everything from the salvage yards, farm fields to the trailer parks of the world. Being this, the nice "original" cars really are few and far between. Just like that $2000 67 GTO I had back in 1976, when these cars got old they were left with 3 tires in the salvage yard, as an analogy to one foot in the grave.
I have been to about 5 states looking at cars advertised on everything from ebay, the hemmings. I guess I know the car a little too well and this is a curse, as what I have seen has been just tolerable to terrible. What I am seeing in my ventures is a mass exodus of people that have had these used up GTO's laying in farm fields, barns, yards, etc that are NOT car people. These guys have dollar signs rolling in their pupils and they have been told by their bother in-laws that they have gold on their hands, because someone sold one just like theirs on ebay for 60K. One guy took a second mortgage on his place to get his basket case restored. It still is a basket case with a 6K paint job that needs to start all over again to be close to right. He wanted 41K for it. If this car were a 1967 cadillac convertible, no one would pay 100 for it in that condition.
Since most of these GTOs I have encountered have been restored for cash, over the love of the car itself, it makes for alot of bad restorations out there. I am certain that the real nice ones are NOT for sale, so that is why near every GTO up for sale is what I label as a "surface job". I have seen a many "Nice" GTOs at the pontiac nationals and in the hands of fellow collectors, but the true original, low mile, no rust, no bondo, no heavy collision repair GTOs are really hard to find, and this is what I have to have to every be happy with owing one of these cars again.
On some of these "surface jobs", the paint is not even dry when the car is shown for sale at a market #1 price. Some are retored by shops that run them through like an assembly line, cutting every corner possible to turn a quick profit. Other individuals are attempting to "retire" on the sale of their "original" GTO, as advertised with a pair of rusted blackjack headers, the early 70's hijackers still in place, a pair of rusty cragar SS's, and the A6 air compressor still laying in the field the car sat in for 20 years.
I guess many "investors" get fooled by these shinny surface jobs, and that is too bad for the guy going into classic cars from reading wall street and not being a true car guy. The bottom line here is the fact that a "real original" GTO is a needle in a haystack. More than likely this car will show itself in some green, brown or gold, automatic 2BBL some day for me, and then I can restore it and make that car the way I want it out of love, instead of spending 50K+ on a surface job sheet bondo car restored for quick cash, then have to start over on it again to do it right.
Another problem with these cars is the fact that they were not that great to begin with, just like 60's corvettes that have a lackluster to them by the unknowing going into the hobby. Many collectors in the market have it in their head that these cars were "greeeat". For many future collectors that have been accustomed to driving modern cars, then reminiscing about the good ole days of a GTO, then actually buying one to drive a bit, will probably bring a real big disappointment. Alot of non car people that have never really had the experience of racing under their belt, and knowing a cars actual capabilities may also think thata GTO is a "fast" car. In retrospect, a 1967 GTO with the 4BBL 360HP motor, 4 Speed, 3:55's posi with actually have about the same performance as a 2003 ford F-350 crew cab diesel dually. Hard to believe, but true.... For those that have the 2003 GTO with the LS1 motor, that car is much faster than ANY GTO of the 60's by far, and drive 100 times better too. I personally dont like the looks of the new GTO, but it is light years of performance difference over any "muscle" gto, In fact, it would take a seriously modified 60's GTO to beat the new one, or even a car like a sedan deville cadillac with a northstar. In today's world, an original GTO is not fast, and when equipped with original hardware for collectors value, is not even that safe to tool around town with on bias plys and vintage original shocks, or non-disk brake cars.
The best way to describe this for many is ; "60's muscle cars bring back a memory that was much better then, than in reality today". Put this dilemma together with a poor restoration, then you may have a serious crisis on your hands if you buy a marginal car and have expectations that are high.
I'll let you know when the right one comes my way...... Good luck on your hunting.....
My Car Collection Site, Click to see.