Muscle car classics from the golden era are quite popular nowadays, and some of them can get quite expensive. Sadly, most of them are still rotting away in barns and junkyards, waiting for a second chance. And while some of them get saved in time, others are too far gone. This 1969 Pontiac GTO might just be one of the lucky ones.
This once-gorgeous GTO spent about 44 years in a junkyard. And needless to say, it looks pretty bad. It’s quite rusty underneath, with the floor almost gone, while the body also shows signs of decay on the lower body panels. The vinyl top is almost gone, too, while the engine hood is crumpled like a piece of paper. Yup, it doesn’t look like it’s worth saving.
Yet someone thought that this GTO deserved a second chance, loaded it onto a trailer, and took it home. And amazingly enough, the new owner managed to get the 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) V8 engine running again. The fact that it wasn’t stuck after more than four decades without a sip of gasoline is almost shocking.
Granted, it smokes, and it doesn’t idle on its own, but it runs surprisingly smooth. And that’s something you don’t see (or hear) every day when it comes to junkyard finds. But is this Pontiac actually worth saving, given that it has so many issues? Well, a full-blown restoration would swallow more than $100,000 in this case, which is more than the value of a 1969 GTO in Excellent condition.
In short, the owner will never get his money back, even if this Poncho becomes a Concours-ready classic. But you can’t really put a price on passion, so I’m hoping that the owner will go ahead and turn this “Judge” into more than just a rusty project car that runs. Especially since the second-generation GTO is quite hot in terms of looks and performance.
Introduced in 1963, the GTO was redesigned for the 1968 model year. That’s when the midsize gained a more aggressive appearance, just like the Dodge Charger of the era. The second-gen GTO also got a 455-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) V8, but that mill didn’t arrive until 1970, so this example here relies on the smaller 400-cubic-inch powerplant.
But that’s nothing to sneeze at because the base 400 came with 350 horsepower on tap. In addition, Pontiac also added a Ram Air IV version of the same mill rated at 370 horsepower. But that’s enough history for today.