'68 Convertible- yay or nay? - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2007, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
 
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'68 Convertible- yay or nay?

First time poster and new to the GTO world here, so forgive me if I mess up any terminology or models here, these cars were made before I was born.

I've been driving this old beater F-150 truck for a while now. Nothing wrong with it, but I've been looking for something with a bit less.....rust.... to it. I've been tinkering with motors and stuff since I was about 8, my dad bought me a dune buggy made from a '71 Beetle which constantly needed work.

This guy near my house always seems to have something in his driveway for sale, cars, snowmobiles, trailers, always something. Last week, a good condition mist blue GTO went up with a tag asking $9000. Went to go see it later and took it for a drive. I asked him more questions than I can count, but I figured I would have to learn a bit more about these things.

-1968 LeMans GTO. Here's my first question already. The owner called it a Pontiac LeMans, but on the rear "quarters" I believe, next to the Pontiac symbol, it says GTO. I googled for a picture of a '68 GTO, and it looks too different to be that(headlights aren't behind grille). I don't have a picture of it handy, and I don't know really of anything else that could identify it.

-The owner called the motor the "Sprint Six". Had a single 4bbl carb, it started and ran just fine, with a tiny bit of "popping" now and then at idle. Said the carb might need a rebuild(I'm certianly familiar with that) Driving, no issues at all. The owner said when he bought it, there was antifreeze in the oil and the head gasket was blown, so he rebuilt it, only around 1000 miles on the rebuild. When I drove it and stepped on it, there was no sputter or hesitation at all and it moved, big time. It was a 3-speed manual.

-It has a new(er?) ragtop, and the lift mechanism works like new, no issues with that at all. Also includes a cover for the ragtop when it's folded down, which is brand new.

-It has "courtesy lights" for the backseat. The owner said these were a rare option and substantially added to the value. Any truth to this? All the other lights work, headlights, flashers, brakes, even reverse are fine.

-Power steering, but no power brakes for 4 wheel drums. The steering seemed awfully loose, but the owner said this was normal(the owner also has a slightly newer GTO with the triple carbs and a '57 Ford, so I suspect he knows what he's talking about) The generator had been replaced with an alternator.

-Recent paint job. It was from the factory a white color, but it was repainted to a mist green, which was an original color choice. Paint is in great shape and was done well. Lots of new chrome/trim bits in the cabin and around the body.

-Trunk is rusted out. One corner you can see the pavement through. While I don't totally care about this, it kinda raised red flags about rust on the frame or other places. Didn't get a chance to look underneath.

-Upholstery is like new. Said it is from another original car, not a reman or look-alike job. In general, the cabin is in great shape. All the gauges worked and were originals. The ignition required a bit of a jimmy to work, but that's not a big deal and easily fixed. Only other issue was wipers weren't working(owner said he was looking into this) and the switch for the blower was bad, again, not a big deal. No A/C, but I'm used to that, and it's a convertible, so who cares?

-New wheels, not originals but look very nice. All 4 tires were brand new.

-Single spinner rear end, forgot to ask what gears are in it. First gear would take it up to about 40mph, didn't have a tach and since I don't know the motor I couldn't tell you the revs. Said he had a 2.9 posi rear end that he would include if I wanted it.

-Could I tow with this car? Nothing big or heavy, the biggest load it would see would be maybe half a ton(trailer plus two snowmobiles) and only towing it like 50 miles a couple times a year. Owner said as long as I put a frame mount hitch on, that would be fine.

Now I just need help convincing myself to buy it. I've always wanted to drive a vintage car, and now a muscle car no less. I was planning on buying a Wrangler or something similar, partially because I was tired of my single spinner, 2WD 5spd truck getting stuck all the time, and partly because Wranglers are dime-a-dozen, at least around here. I could get a NICE, hopped up Wrangler for like $5k. However, I also realize that a GTO(or lemans, or whatever it is) will only increase in value and minor work can skyrocket it's resale value.

So, the $9000 question is... is it worth it? Going by what I've seen these things go for online, totally. Runs fine. Great body/interior. Only minor, easily fixed problems. But what about gas mileage? I doubt this thing gets 10mpg on the highway. Insurance is likely to be a lot(this will be a daily driver should I buy it) due to the horsepower.

Any input here would be greatly appreciated. I want to buy it, but I need a little convincing and figured this would be the best place to get it. Oh, I didn't realize this post was so long, sorry.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2007, 11:10 PM
 
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Where do you live? I need to "look at it myself" to determine if it's worth it. Seriously though, if you decide to pass on it drop me a PM...
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
 
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I think the town is officially called East Greenbush, but it's within a few miles of NY's capitol, Albany. I'll try to get a picture of it, but I don't go out that way terribly often and it isn't always out, he's working on it. He said if it doesn't sell off his lawn in a few weeks, it's going up on eBay.

So by your post I assume you think that's a good deal.....?

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 08:40 AM
 
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sounds like someone put rear fenders or GTO stickers/logos on a Lemans...Sprint 6 is an overhead cam straight six I believe...lil gutsy engine IIRC and light weight up front...
Bill

**QSM/RH/A4/17**1 of 52**
Like what you've got?...Thank a Vet!

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaWarrior View Post
First time poster and new to the GTO world here, so forgive me if I mess up any terminology or models here, these cars were made before I was born.

I've been driving this old beater F-150 truck for a while now. Nothing wrong with it, but I've been looking for something with a bit less.....rust.... to it. I've been tinkering with motors and stuff since I was about 8, my dad bought me a dune buggy made from a '71 Beetle which constantly needed work.

This guy near my house always seems to have something in his driveway for sale, cars, snowmobiles, trailers, always something. Last week, a good condition mist blue GTO went up with a tag asking $9000. Went to go see it later and took it for a drive. I asked him more questions than I can count, but I figured I would have to learn a bit more about these things.

-1968 LeMans GTO. Here's my first question already. The owner called it a Pontiac LeMans, but on the rear "quarters" I believe, next to the Pontiac symbol, it says GTO. I googled for a picture of a '68 GTO, and it looks too different to be that(headlights aren't behind grille). I don't have a picture of it handy, and I don't know really of anything else that could identify it.

Get the numbers and information from the data plate and the vin tag, more than likely the vin will start with a 23767 which is for a lemans convertible. A GTO will start with 24267

-The owner called the motor the "Sprint Six". Had a single 4bbl carb, it started and ran just fine, with a tiny bit of "popping" now and then at idle. Said the carb might need a rebuild(I'm certianly familiar with that) Driving, no issues at all. The owner said when he bought it, there was antifreeze in the oil and the head gasket was blown, so he rebuilt it, only around 1000 miles on the rebuild. When I drove it and stepped on it, there was no sputter or hesitation at all and it moved, big time. It was a 3-speed manual.

The Sprint Six is a 250 cu. in. OHC Six Cylinder with a hotter cam, higher compression ratio and a 4bbl carb, this engine was not an option for a GTO

-It has a new(er?) ragtop, and the lift mechanism works like new, no issues with that at all. Also includes a cover for the ragtop when it's folded down, which is brand new.

-It has "courtesy lights" for the backseat. The owner said these were a rare option and substantially added to the value. Any truth to this? All the other lights work, headlights, flashers, brakes, even reverse are fine.

-Power steering, but no power brakes for 4 wheel drums. The steering seemed awfully loose, but the owner said this was normal(the owner also has a slightly newer GTO with the triple carbs and a '57 Ford, so I suspect he knows what he's talking about) The generator had been replaced with an alternator.

Loose steering could be an indication the cars needs new, bushings, ball joints, tie rods, rag joint, power steering gear box or idler arm.

-Recent paint job. It was from the factory a white color, but it was repainted to a mist green, which was an original color choice. Paint is in great shape and was done well. Lots of new chrome/trim bits in the cabin and around the body.

-Trunk is rusted out. One corner you can see the pavement through. While I don't totally care about this, it kinda raised red flags about rust on the frame or other places. Didn't get a chance to look underneath.

I would check the floor pans and the frame, the frame on the convertible is boxed and had severe rust issues on northern cars.

-Upholstery is like new. Said it is from another original car, not a reman or look-alike job. In general, the cabin is in great shape. All the gauges worked and were originals. The ignition required a bit of a jimmy to work, but that's not a big deal and easily fixed. Only other issue was wipers weren't working(owner said he was looking into this) and the switch for the blower was bad, again, not a big deal. No A/C, but I'm used to that, and it's a convertible, so who cares?

-New wheels, not originals but look very nice. All 4 tires were brand new.

-Single spinner rear end, forgot to ask what gears are in it. First gear would take it up to about 40mph, didn't have a tach and since I don't know the motor I couldn't tell you the revs. Said he had a 2.9 posi rear end that he would include if I wanted it.

-Could I tow with this car? Nothing big or heavy, the biggest load it would see would be maybe half a ton(trailer plus two snowmobiles) and only towing it like 50 miles a couple times a year. Owner said as long as I put a frame mount hitch on, that would be fine.

You may not be happy using this car as a tow vehicle,

Now I just need help convincing myself to buy it. I've always wanted to drive a vintage car, and now a muscle car no less. I was planning on buying a Wrangler or something similar, partially because I was tired of my single spinner, 2WD 5spd truck getting stuck all the time, and partly because Wranglers are dime-a-dozen, at least around here. I could get a NICE, hopped up Wrangler for like $5k. However, I also realize that a GTO(or lemans, or whatever it is) will only increase in value and minor work can skyrocket it's resale value.

So, the $9000 question is... is it worth it? Going by what I've seen these things go for online, totally. Runs fine. Great body/interior. Only minor, easily fixed problems. But what about gas mileage? I doubt this thing gets 10mpg on the highway. Insurance is likely to be a lot(this will be a daily driver should I buy it) due to the horsepower.

I would pass, it's not a muscle car, you will be under powered, still have problems getting stuck and the price is high for a lemans. You will find more issues with this car when you start working on it, I.E. Bushings, driveline, brakes, steering and the items that aren't working. A 38 year old car will nickel and dime you to death when used as a daily driver.

Any input here would be greatly appreciated. I want to buy it, but I need a little convincing and figured this would be the best place to get it. Oh, I didn't realize this post was so long, sorry.
Keep in mind this is only my opinion,

Randy


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
 
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OK, thanks for the input there. I'm actually going to write these things down, and check them out next time I get a chance to look at it.

What about the "future" for this car? Say I bought it, fixed it up nice, and in 5 years went to re-sell it. Could I turn a decent profit? How much do you think I could get for it, going by what I described in my original post.

Maybe I'm used to my big Ford truck that can't get out of it's own way(300in motor, lots of torque but only like 150hp for a 2.5ton vehicle), but this lemans(as we've established now) sure seemed to move. My mother has a 1999 Acura TL 3.2, and it's acceleration is equal if not even a little slower. Though I also have to say I've never driven a real V8 powered sedan. Only V8 I've ever driven was a big Grand Cherokee.

What about mileage? What was the average more-or-less for that motor?

Say I convinced the owner to let me have it for a weekend or something, so could really get a feel for it. What should I look for that would raise red flags that something significant is wrong?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RaWarrior View Post
OK, thanks for the input there. I'm actually going to write these things down, and check them out next time I get a chance to look at it.

What about the "future" for this car? Say I bought it, fixed it up nice, and in 5 years went to re-sell it. Could I turn a decent profit? How much do you think I could get for it, going by what I described in my original post.

This car has 2 things going for it, rarity and it's a convertible. Still I think 9K is way to high for a 6 banger in the condition you described. The hot classic cars are the ones with the big V-8s whether original or crate engines. I would search ebay and www.traderonline.com to get a better idea of this cars value.

Maybe I'm used to my big Ford truck that can't get out of it's own way(300in motor, lots of torque but only like 150hp for a 2.5ton vehicle), but this lemans(as we've established now) sure seemed to move. My mother has a 1999 Acura TL 3.2, and it's acceleration is equal if not even a little slower. Though I also have to say I've never driven a real V8 powered sedan. Only V8 I've ever driven was a big Grand Cherokee.

What about mileage? What was the average more-or-less for that motor?

Depends on your driving habis and how often you open that 4 bbl, these cars were manufactured when gas was 34 cents a gallon so economy was not the motivating factor in producing that car.

Say I convinced the owner to let me have it for a weekend or something, so could really get a feel for it. What should I look for that would raise red flags that something significant is wrong?

Put the car on a lift and look at the frame and under the body for rust and damage, take a magnet to the body and see if there is any large amounts of body filler. Look at all bushings in the control arms and the frame/body, Check for leaks in the Tranny, motor, ps pump, brake lines, vacuum lines and rear end.
Once again, this is only my opinion!

Randy



Last edited by 05GTO; 04-08-2007 at 11:41 AM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm actually starting to leer toward the "nay" side here as you suggested. I've got over $1000 of repairs and upgrades to my truck, not to mention the rear end has been almost completely replaced(tires, springs, shocks, mounting brackets) short of the axle itself.

I'm kinda in a toss-up between what I want, and what would in reality be practical. You're right, towing with a lemans would be neither easy nor practical and put a lot of stress on old parts. I've had plenty of experience with old machines and "nickle-and-dime" problems and really do not want to deal with that again. Even my father's Grand Cherokee did this, little, annoying, endless repairs(door handle broke, seatbelt clip broke, ebrake cable snapped, water pump cracked at 60k, and finally the rear axle went at just over 100k, prompting the purchase of a new Explorer) The '93 truck is reliable and mechanically sound, just the body is less than spectacular. Tows fine and gets me 18mpg on the freeway.

I'll contact the owner and offer him $6k(which I highly doubt he will accept, but worth a shot). Should he take it, then I'll probably buy it, but otherwise I'll probably move on. Just cars like that kinda "catch" your eye, they stand out from the hordes of "pedestrian" cars out there that all look the same, you know what I mean?

Well, thanks for the input here. I might have gotten myself into a bit of a mess with this car, a bit over my head. Can I tinker with stuff? Sure, but I'd really rather not be having to pull motors or replace driveshaft bearings for a car I would need daily.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-09-2007, 09:27 AM
 
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I used to have a Lemans with the straight six (not a Sprint) with a 2bbl that averaged around 16-17 mpg. Best of 20 on the highway.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-09-2007, 11:18 AM
 
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1968 LeMans GTO. Here's my first question. The owner called it a Pontiac LeMans, but on the rear "quarters" I believe, next to the Pontiac symbol, it says GTO.
-The owner called the motor the "Sprint Six". Had a single 4bbl carb.
The car you're looking at is a LeMans Sprint. It's not a GTO. The Sprint used a unique overhead cam straight 6 with a Q-Jet 4-barrel carb. It was the highest horsepower 6-cylinder offered in a US car at that time, and it's very unique. These cars have their own following and their own interest, and it's a shame that some people try to convert them into GTOs.

The value range of the Sprint is a bit less than a GTO, yet the cars are worthy of restoration as a Sprint. The price you quote on the car seems to be in the middle of the value range for a Lemans convertible, so it's probably a fair price. If you consider picking the car up, you would be well advised to restore it as a Sprint and to not do the "GTO Conversion" (scrape that GTO decal off the quarter...). The VIN will identify the car as a LeMans and not as a GTO, so any conversion done will always show the car as a "fake" GTO - not worth it. But a good Sprint restoration would be very cool.
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