1966 Pontiac GTO Stashed Away for Decades Emerges With Bad News Under the Hood

1966 Pontiac GTO convertible 9 photos
Photo: Nobody's Show/YouTube
1966 Pontiac GTO convertible1966 Pontiac GTO convertible1966 Pontiac GTO convertible1966 Pontiac GTO convertible1966 Pontiac GTO convertible1966 Pontiac GTO convertible1966 Pontiac GTO convertible1966 Pontiac GTO convertible
Widely credited with popularizing the muscle car segment, the Pontiac GTO is one of the most iconic vehicles of the golden era. But that didn't prevent it from having a similar fate to most 1960s classics. Some 60 years later, many first-generation GTOs are rotting away in junkyards and barns.
There's no precise info on how many survived to see 2024 in one piece, but all-original examples are getting increasingly harder to find. This leaves many enthusiasts with two options: either buy an already restored rig or find a GTO in decent condition and bring it back to factory specs. This barn-found 1966 Poncho may be one of those cars.

Showcased by YouTube's "Nobody's Show," this first-generation GTO was recently dragged out of a building it's been sitting in for years. There's no story to run by, but our host says it was "stashed away for years," waiting for someone to find it. Perhaps the owner passed away, and the GTO was forgotten?

Either way, the Poncho is in surprisingly good shape for a classic that spent decades off the road and without proper maintenance. Sure, there's rust in the trunk and floor panels, but that's common on these rigs. In fact, most first-gen GTO emerge out of long-term storage with massive holes in these areas. By comparison, this 1966 rig provides something to work with.

Unfortunately, this Poncho emerged as a roller with no engine or transmission under the shell. That's bad news if you're gunning for a numbers-matching restoration. On the flip side, 1966 production numbers were rather high, and a period-correct engine should be relatively easy to find.

The 1966 GTO came with a 389-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) V8 under the hood. The standard four-barrel version came with 335 horsepower and 431 pound-feet (584 Nm) of torque on tap. Pontiac also offered an optional Tri-Power variant with a trio of two-barrel carburetors. This unit sent 360 horsepower to the rear wheels.

There's no information on whether this GTO left the assembly line with a four-barrel or a Tri-Power, but documents suggest it's a four-speed car. The engine might have been a four-barrel since it was notably more popular at the time. Of the 96,946 GTOs built in 1966, only 19,045 were ordered with the Tri-Power option.

Speaking of which, while the Poncho is currently painted green, it's not the original color. This hue wasn't available at the time, and many areas suggest the GTO was originally finished in Cameo Ivory or Candlelight Cream. That's white or light yellow in Pontiac talk.

The best news about this rig, though, is the convertible top. Not only is it still in one piece and fully functional (a rare thing on barn-found drop-tops), but it also makes this Pontiac notably scarcer than the average 1966 GTO. Specifically, only 12,798 cars were ordered with this body style, which is only 13% of the total production.

And the top is one of many things that's still in good shape. The body panels seem straight for the most part, while the interior is in good condition save for the common wear and tear on the upholstery. With restored 1966 GTO convertibles going for as much as $150,000 nowadays, is this Pontiac worth saving?

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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