1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air 3 Convertible
Editor’s Note: It’s a shame that the GM performance marque Pontiac is no more. No worries. You can learn more about one of the best muscle cars ever right here on Redline Review, the 1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air III
Convertible. This one was auctioned off December 2012, as part of the RM Auctions’ John Staluppi Collection sale. Thanks RM Auctions, for permitting RR to publish the article and studio photos.
Photo Credit: ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions
1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air III Convertible
Sold for $143,000
Chassis no. 242670P230708
A well-documented and beautifully restored example
366 bhp, 400 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with trailing arm coil spring suspension, and disc-front, drum-rear power hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 112.0 in.
Pontiac’s wildly successful GTO entered its second generation in 1968, along with the A-body Tempest on which it was based. The wheelbase was reduced from 115 to 112 inches, and the overall length shrank nearly six inches to 201.2. The new hardtop wore a roofline more in keeping with the late-1960s trend toward fastbacks. Four horizontally placed headlights looked out from a unique dent-resistant Endura plastic nose, although an extra-cost option would conceal them behind doors. Taillights became part of the bumper assembly. For the first time, windshield wipers were hidden beneath the rear of the hood when not in use.
Car magazines loved the new style and the 400-cubic inch V-8 engines that ranged from 265 horsepower in the economical two-barrel version to 360 with Ram Air II induction. Hot Rod’s test of a GTO with the 350 brake horsepower standard V-8 resulted in quarter-mile times of 14.7 seconds at 97 miles per hour. Motor Trend took the testing process one step further by comparing the gamut of GTO models for ’68. A base-engine GTO with automatic transmission and a 3.23:1 rear axle covered the quarter-mile in 15.93 seconds at 88.3 miles per hour. A Ram Air four-speed manual car with drag-strip-ready 4.33:1 gears reduced the trip to 14.45 seconds at 98.2 miles per hour. The magazine was sufficiently impressed and declared the GTO its Car of the Year.
For 1969, the Endura nose was adopted for all GTOs, and the front vent windows were eliminated. In 1970, GTOs received a revised version of the Endura nose with exposed headlights, and wrap-around taillights were embedded in the rear bumper.
This 1970 GTO Convertible is painted in the original Atoll Blue. The interior is black vinyl, and the body, paint, and upholstery are all in excellent condition, having the benefit of a body-off restoration. The engine is the 366 brake horsepower HO WS400 Ram Air III version, coupled to an L74 four-speed manual transmission. Other equipment includes power steering, power front disc brakes, the ride-and-handling package, and a Safe-T-Trak limited-slip differential. It is also equipped with the Deluxe interior décor group, a tilt steering wheel, a front console, a hood tachometer, windshield washers, an AM/FM radio, a power top, and seat belts. In addition, it has been fitted with the distinctive trunk-lid wing from The Judge.
The engine compartment and undercarriage are immaculate, and the five-bolt Rally II wheels, without trim rings, are mounted with white-letter B.F. Goodrich Radial T/A tires. The car comes with an owner’s manual and a copy of the shipping manifest, showing delivery on March 24, 1970 to Brown Motor Sales in Buffalo, New York.
An excellent and desirable 1970 GTO convertible, this car is a prime example of a diminishing breed. Just 3,783 GTO convertibles of all types were built that year, making this one of a select few. Additionally, with its most recent Pontiac Historical Society documentation and rare and unique color scheme, matched with a four-speed manual transmission as well the high quality of the restoration, there is no doubt this is one of the best GTO convertibles to come to the market in many years.