The muscle car era shifted into high gear in 1964 when a new ‘option’ appeared on Pontiac’s order sheets for the mid-size Tempest LeMans. The divisional strategy managed to bypass a corporate restriction on engine offerings and began an almost decade-long revolution in the domestic auto industry.
Highly sought after, the first year GTO-optioned Tempests usually sell in the range of $25,000 to $75,000, although one did sell at auction in 2007 for just under $155K, after a particularly meticulous, 2-year, frame off restoration. According to estimates, just 6644 convertibles were built with the GTO option in 1964. Total GTO production that year was 32,450.
The current example has seen better days. It is a “project car” in the truest sense of the expression. Photos do show the 389cui “Tri-Power” V8 under the hood and the seller lists additional equipment as including automatic transmission, tilt steering wheel, power steering, power brakes, power windows and Saf-T-Track rear end.
Checking over the photos, you’ll find that the car has a long way to go before it is roadworthy, never mind presentable. The owner has apparently lost interest in the car as a restoration project, but it is evident that some work has been completed. Regardless, there is a long way to go.
The auction includes a non-GTO Tempest convertible as a donor car, though it hardly appears in better shape than the other. With five days remaining in the auction, current bids have topped out at $6100, but are not over the seller’s reserve price.
So, all this opens an interesting discussion. How far would you go in taking on a project like this? I don’t mean in distance, since I’ve read some stories of folks that have trailered finds almost across the country to get them home. What I mean is, would you take on this car as a project, even at the current bid?
Bearing in mind the historical significance of the car, it should not be allowed to disappear. It appears that the value of a reasonably restored car is sufficient to pay back the personal effort needed, though you aren’t likely to get rich from it. With that, it really comes down to a labor of love. Without getting crazy, this looks like a two year project on a part time basis.
As much as I’d love to be cruising around in a ’64 GTO convertible, I’m not sure that I would pick up this deal. What do you think? Would you take it on?