Excavation of a 1967 Pontiac GTO Tiger Gold reveals a huge secret under the hood

Rev up your engines for a journey back in time to 1963 when the Pontiac GTO burst onto the scene and changed the game for American muscle cars forever. While some may debate its title as the first true muscle car, one thing is certain – the GTO oozes cool and has cemented its place in automotive history.

With GM clamping down on factory-sponsored racing, Pontiac cleverly sidestepped regulations to create a muscle car phenomenon that ignited the Detroit street performance wars. Outfitted with massive V8 engines, the GTO paved the way for a slew of midsize cars that would come to dominate the automotive landscape.

Pontiac even managed to skirt GM’s policy to restrict intermediate vehicles to a maximum engine displacement of 330 cubic inches (5.4 liters) – talk about a rebel with a cause!

Because the policy did not restrict the offering of larger engines as an option, Pontiac rolled out the GTO as a package for the LeMans and not a stand-alone model. That changed during the 1966 model year when it became a separate model.

After a few glorious years, the GTO became an option package again in 1973. In 1974, its final year on the market, Pontiac moved the bundle to the compact Ventura line.

Come 2023 and the first-generation GTO is a highly desirable classic, but it remains relatively affordable since it’s not very scarce. However, finding an all-original survivor can be a complicated and expensive task since most of them are rotting away in barns and junkyards.

And those still enjoying a rust-free life are being stored for future restoration, like this 1967 coupe in Tiger Gold.

A first-generation GTO is the last thing you’d expect to find under a big pile of trash, but YouTube’s “Reverse Rocket TV” has one in his backyard. And it’s been sitting there since “forever,” which probably means at least a few decades. Luckily enough, our host wanted to renovate an old barn, so he was forced to uncover and move the GTO.

And the muscle car was in good condition, despite sitting for a very long time. Sure, the Tiger Gold paint has faded away (as did the black vinyl top), but it’s still there, and the body is pretty much rust-free. The interior is also in decent condition. While the headliner is too far gone, the upholstery is still in one piece, and the dashboard appears complete.

Unfortunately, the empty engine bay prevents this GTO from being the perfect all-original survivor. And it’s not just the 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) engine that’s gone; the transmission is also missing.

The only option in 1967, the 400 V8 was available with various carburetor setups, starting with a two-barrel version rated at 255 horsepower. Pontiac also offered a four-barrel alternative good for 335 horses and a Ram Air version with 360 horsepower on tap.

But it’s not all bad news drivetrain-wise. Our host called the owner for some extra info on the car, and it turns out he still has the original mill and gearbox. He also shares that the GTO has been in the same family since new and has been sitting since 1988 due to engine issues.

I guess that settles it: this Poncho is one of those GTOs that will become an expensive and desirable unit once restored to original specifications.

It doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon, but at least this GTO is no longer sitting under a pile of trash. Or should the owner sell it to someone who would take better care of it and put it back on the road as soon as possible?

Check out the video below and let me know in the comments section.

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