I’m still searching for a muscle car to own and along the way I have developed a sort of search methodology. You would think it would be pretty simple – go to Google, enter in the year/make/model of the car you are looking for and then start looking for the one that catches your eye. Once you find the “one” all that is left is to pay, pick it up, and then enjoy. But I like to go into much more depth and look into the car’s past for some reason. And I do that because it can be worth the effort.
This week a 1970 Pontiac GTO popped up on a website I follow and it caught my eye. I’m not really “jonesing” for a ’70 Goat, but this one was nice – red on red, 4-speed, and purrs like a kitten on the video. Most of the time I can find the VIN in the photos or in the description and then the journey of discovery begins.
The first step for me is to usually find the VIN and do some research on the car by going to a website that can decipher the VIN and fender/cowl tags and tell you something about the car. This car’s VIN begins with the following: “242370B”, which is Pontiac-speak for Pontiac (2), GTO (42), two-door coupe (37), 1970 model (0), built in Baltimore, MD (B). This one checks out as a true GTO.
1970 was a peak year for muscle cars and horsepower, and that usually means cars from that year would bring in substantial money on the market. It seems unusual to me that this car would be under $50,000, being a numbers-matching car (the engine and drive train are stamped with the sequence number of the VIN). This car does lack the Ram Air and hood mounted tach options, but it is a four-speed and is presented nicely. So naturally, I had to try to find out more about the car.
I Googled the VIN and was surprised to see this:
This is the same car sold by a Chevrolet dealer in Ohio that sells classics on the side. It was listed for sale at $27,900. What? Now my alarms are going off. How does the car get sold for such a low price and then flipped for $17,000 more? Interesting stuff.
I also found a forum called “The Supercar Registry”, and someone had recently made a post about it. The poster mentioned the red on red GTO and how it looked pretty good. Then the experts checked in.
- “Beautiful car, but it needs the correct bucket seat releases.”
- “and correct dash (72 dash) and that stupid Buick sticker on the air cleaner…”
So apparently the bucket seat releases are from a 1968 Pontiac, and not the 1970. The dash comment I had to look into and confirm, it is consistent with a 1972 model GTO and not the 1970. Weird. And the “Buick” sticker comment was explained in a further comment that it is consistent with the stickers Buick used, even though it bore a Pontiac emblem. Pontiac apparently never used that design on their air cleaners.
I also learned from the description of the previous sale listing that the car was originally painted silver and had been changed. It seems to me that the car would be worth more and attract more buyers being a silver/red combo and not red/red just for appearance and originality sake.
I’m not that familiar with the GTO but I learned a lot was wrong about this one!