1966 Pontiac GTO Hardtop - $42,900
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  • Overview & History
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This particular GTO lived most of its life in South Carolina so it should be no surprise that the sheetmetal is in fantastic condition with no patches or questionable workmanship hiding underneath.

No need to go into the whole GTO story, which everyone knows by heart at this point. Instead, let’s talk about value. GTOs have been blue chip cars for years and many of them have simply skyrocketed out of sight in terms of price. Or you can get a clone or a patched-up car for a bargain price. However, in our experience there are very few Goats in the middle—good cars with strong pedigrees that still have reasonable price tags. A good pedigree will help guarantee future values and quality cars aren’t necessarily show cars. That perfect balance between correct and road-ready is often the sweet spot that enthusiasts seek but often fail to find. And that’s why we like this 1966 Pontiac GTO hardtop so much. It gets all the important stuff right, yet still remains within reach of regular guys who just want a cool car.

So first things first: this is a real-deal GTO with PHS documentation to back it up. It has its original YS-coded 389 cubic inch V8 with receipts on the rebuild, and it was refinished in a fantastic factory-correct color combination of Montero Red with a white vinyl top and red interior. The ’66 GTO was extensively redesigned, a little softer and more curvaceous than the ‘65s, while retaining the stacked headlights and pointed nose that were such a hit with buyers. This particular GTO lived most of its life in South Carolina so it should be no surprise that the sheetmetal is in fantastic condition with no patches or questionable workmanship hiding underneath. It was originally code C Cameo Ivory, but a white GTO isn’t exactly exciting, so when it was restored in 2008 it was treated to brilliant code R Montero Red which is much more in line with what a GTO is all about. They also added a white vinyl top to really make it pop. The job was extremely thorough and you won’t find any white paint anywhere on the body shell. The color is vivid and deep and even though it’s about 10 years old, it remains in excellent condition. All the chrome and stainless was refinished at the same time and a white pinstripe accentuates the dramatic curve of the quarter panels.

Red on red is an unusual combination but after you see it in this hardtop you’ll wonder why more buyers didn’t spec their GTO this way. While it was originally black, the color change means that everything inside that’s red is new, including seat covers, door panels, dash, steering wheel, carpets, headliner, and more. It hasn’t been used much since it was finished, so everything looks virtually new. The dash has fresh woodgrain appliques and is full of factory gauges including a tachometer, all of which are functional. It also has a vacuum gauge on the console and a working AM radio in the center of the dash. GTO fans will quickly spot the beautifully refinished center console, which shows no pitting, and there’s a familiar grab handle for the passenger—just in case! New seat belts are a welcome safety upgrade and the trunk is outfitted with a complete mat set and spare tire cover. It also includes a full-sized spare tire, jack assembly, and reproduction decal under the trunk lid.

As I mentioned, the 389 cubic inch V8 under the hood is the car’s original YS-coded engine. Matching numbers wasn’t a thing at Pontiac until 1967, but the casting number and date codes line up properly. It was fully rebuilt by the Pontiac experts at Gellner Engineering and we have receipts detailing everything that was done, as well as a price tag of more than $6200. It has less than 4000 miles on it since the rebuild and thanks to proper tuning, it runs extremely well. Like a lot of carbureted cars, it’s a little grumpy when it’s cold, but once it’s warmed up it pulls with surprising vigor and smoothness. We kind of like that it hasn’t been needlessly upgraded to a Tri-Power setup, which wouldn’t be correct on this particular car, and the 4-barrel makes for easier maintenance. Correct Pontiac Turquoise paint and chrome valve covers show well, although there’s the usual flaking on the exhaust crossover, which is impossible to avoid. Power steering and power brakes are part of the package and all the accessories were rebuilt at the time of the engine rebuild.

It would be a mistake to judge this Goat by the automatic transmission, which snaps off a rifle quick shift into high gear and allows the big torque to do most of the work. It makes this GTO an awesome “point-and-shoot” car in traffic, with quick reflexes and an easy-to-drive demeanor. Out back there are 3.23 gears on a limited slip in a rebuilt rear end, so it’s relaxed on the highway and the big Poncho offers surprisingly plush ride quality even over rough pavement. A reproduction dual exhaust system has just the right V8 rumble and you can see just how clean the floors are from underneath. It has been driven, so it’s not sparkling clean, but there are no signs of trouble or former issues. Other new equipment includes shocks, brakes, U-joints, and bushings, so it feels well-composed going down the road. Factory Rally wheels are the right choice and they carry 225/70/14 redline radials all around.

Documentation includes a full set of PHS papers and restoration receipts, plus a set of red rubber floor mats.

The more time we spend with this GTO the more we like it. It asks for nothing more than gas and oil, yet delivers a high-impact punch that attracts attention wherever it goes. The restoration surely cost considerably more than the asking price, and it presents well enough to proudly show up at any event. And most of all, it’s just a blast to drive. There’s big power everywhere on the tach, it rides great, and is so comfortable and easy to drive that anyone can get in and start having fun. And isn’t that what cars like this are all about? Call today!

Vehicle: 1966 Pontiac GTO Hardtop
Price: $42,900
Stock Number: 116082
Mileage: 37,930
VIN: 242176K106002
Engine: 389 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.23
Wheelbase: 115 inches
Wheels: 14-inch Rallye wheels
Tires: 225/70/14 redline radial
Exterior Color: Montero Red
Interior Color: Red vinyl
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