Monday, December 24, 2012

15k: 1973 Pontiac GTO Sport Coupe - 3spd Manual

Many ebay sellers tend to use the tactic of giving less information and hoping the buyers gloss over any deficiencies and just feel happy to get a car that matches his make/model/price requirements.  We don't really like this method as it causes much heartache when the car is finally delivered, or better - when the buyer arrives with cash and still has the option of walking away.  The much better approach is to over-saturate the buyer with photos and information and hope that the person who buys the car does weigh all pros vs. cons and is ultimately happy with the purchase.  Today's feature is an exercise in over-saturation of information and will take a large chunk of your day to read/digest, but it is a 1973 Pontiac GTO Sport Coupe with 3spd manual transmission for sale in Bensalem, PA, currently bidding on ebay for $12,850 with less than one day to go.

This 1973 Pontiac GTO is actually just a Pontiac Le Mans with the $354 GTO option ticked on the sales ticket.  The GTO package added a 400 cubic inch V8 with dual exhaust, heavy duty shocks/stabilizers, NASA type vents on hood (also known as NACA ducts) 15x7inch wheels with 60 series tires, blacked out grille and GTO badges.  The GTO name was borrowed stolen from the Ferrari 250 GTO, the Italian abbreviation Gran Turismo Omologato translates into Grand Touring Homologated (meaning the car had been certified for a grand touring road racing racing class).  A bit of a silly name for a Tempest with an engine from a Catalina in it, as nothing ever needed to be homologated.   It was a family sedan, not a grand tourer, but a legend was born.

This smurf-blue beauty is powered by a 400 cubic inch (6.6 liter) Pontiac V8 putting out 230 horsepower from its smog choked 8:1 compression ratio boat anchor.  While we do suspect that the air cleaner housing has been recently repainted, we don't see any over-spray anything else, so it was at least painted outside of the engine compartment, not always the case with some fast acting car flippers. 

The inside of this car is so smurfing blue we don't know if we should love or hate it.  Not everyone will love  the interior ambiance and expect a lot of opinions as it is seriously bold.  This GTO is equipped with a 3spd floor shifted manual transmission -not exactly a sport option, but certainly preferable over a slushbox.

Whoa - check out them NASA type hood scoops - actually called NACA ducts because the shapes were original designed by NACA, the National Advisory Committee on Aerodynamics - which was the predecessor to today's NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  We aren't exactly sure what the post Space Shuttle NASA uses its $16 billion USD taxpayer budget for each year, but NACA spent years designing these low-drag air inlets that in the 70's got plastered all over the hoods of Shelby Mustangs, GTOs and Ferraris - neat!  Maybe today's NASA will invent something that will get all of those electronic fun killer gizmos out of modern cars.

The GTO originally started the muscle car craze with a big engine in a medium package and understated looks, but 1973 is a long time from 1964.  The 1973 GTO was still living on its older siblings legend and was neither fast nor particularly sharp looking.  What it does offer is some sweet '70s styling, smurf blood blue paint,  smurf hide interior and this particular example looks excellent.  The question you have to ask yourself is - if scientists could make a turd sandwich that looked exactly like pastrami on rye, would you try it?

Final thoughts - reading hours of descriptive text in the smurf blue font on the ebay ad made us want to smurfing stab our eyes out with a rusty dipstick - so if you are selling a car, please just stick to basic fonts in black.

See another blue billy goat for sale? email:


  1. As I recall, these were not particularly nice cars when new. 1973 was the beginning of the Dark Days for American cars.

    I guess people lavish love on some of the strangest things...


  2. ~ 'OK... I've rambled on enough about the unique nature of the 3 Speed Stick and its rarity as well as covering the options one too many times so let me tell you a little about the car'.
    and yet, we're only 1/10 of the way through the ad.
    . at least 43 bids by 18 bidders makes me a believer.

  3. I just think it would be a fun experience to row through the gears on a big boat like this. There are a few cars that you would really never expect to have a shift lever coming out of the floor and this is one of them. I think what makes these cars so desirable is that an option like a manual shift is a clearly unusual option that doesn't need explaining. Unusual options like rare colors, special differentials, and sunroofs don't necessarily jump out the same way a gearshift lever does.

  4. Well, one can always put a 6 speed tranny in it and then you'd have turd flavored pastrami sandwich with a 6 speed. However, I remember Dan Gurney comparing the Pontiac Grand Am Sedan to the Mercedes 300sel 6.3 of that era and liked the Pontiac. And yet, Dan Gurney remains one of my hero's.

  5. The interior is a couple of shades lighter than original...I had a new 1973 GTO identical to this one....only the interior was slightly darker and that makes all the difference...between looking smurfish and looking great. I now have two of these 73 being this exact Regatta Blue, but this one has a black interior. If anyone knows the name of the new owner...have them contact me...I've identified 42 owners...and would venture a guess of less than 100 of these cars are still in existance...BJS382@AOL.COM SARASOTA, FL

  6. As a 18 year old living in San Diego,I felt like the 1973 GTO I bought from my parents who were the second owners,was the most fun I ever had out of a later model GTO.I had countless worn out poly glass tires because I could not afford them working at Ferills Ice Cream in La Mesa.My car was how ever kind of one off.It had the pearl white paint and maroon accent stripe but with a color factory optioned red soft top/blood red interior with 67k on her when I got it in 1978 and window louvers with sport rim package,sway bars,bigger disc up front.I think I recall 230-245hp but Bob Stall told us that they get built with a lot more.With that said estimates were high 280 to 330.I never realized how badass that car really was aside it being a sort of oddball of the GTO family.But please dont get it twisted, that car got busy, when you drive them well.Perspective 2014 looking back...should have kept her!!!

  7. Im restoring a Reggata blue 73 GTO for a client that ordered it new in Nov 1972. It's a 4spd bench seat, white interior. Would it be safe to say it's maybe one of 40? Left that have survived of this combination?
    Contact me at if you have any more production numbers.

  8. First of all, whoever wrote this article doesn't sound like a Poncho fan. I own a 1973 Pontiac GTO 400/400 turbo...and would kill to have had a 3 or 4-speed transmission. I have upgraded the suspension and engine and I am looking to find some factory GM swivel buckets, and I love that this year/model is such a low production number. These cars out handle all other GTO's and I should know as I have had 1st, 2ond, and Third Generation GTO's! My first love is always the 1967 GTO's, but the Colonnade handles better and flatter that any other GTO. the author of the article above...My vote...Please, stab your eyes out with a rusty dipstick!

  9. My 73 lemans is the one GM should have made with a worked up 1967 Gto 400 4bbl
    headers 4 spd and MSD jacked up with 295's on the rear, 3 inch exh . Nobody will look at your crap when I come pullin in. I still have never put my foot all the way in it's so dame fast on the hyway with 273 gears that I dont have to.


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