In 1966, Pontiac offered the GTO as a standalone model for the first time instead of an option package for the LeMans and Tempest. Retaining the stacked headlamps from 1965, it received revised “Coke-bottle” styling and a slightly tunneled rear window. It’s a distinctive car, so when 3:23 Fabrication saw this one wasting away, they were determined to rescue it.
Originally equipped with a 389 cubic inch V8 and two-speed Powerglide transmission, this 1966 Pontiac GTO hardtop coupe is complete except for the running gear. However, it’s in very rough shape. Not only did it sit exposed to the elements for an untold number of years but it had a run-in with Hurricane Michael, which passed through the Florida panhandle in 2018.
The first challenge is extracting the GTO from its resting place. Tucked under an overhang next to a machine shed, there isn’t a straight path to pull it out where it can be loaded onto a trailer. It takes several rounds of dragging the derelict car forward a few feet, followed by turning it so it clears the shed and a motorized mobile scaffold.
Once out in the open, we finally get a good look at the condition of the GTO. The interior is covered in cobwebs, and the floorboards are all but gone. The dashboard is rusted at the bottom, and the trunk is rusted out. Even so, it comes with a lot of extra parts, including trim and taillights, and is a highly optioned car with power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning.
The plan is to clean the car up, patch the trunk and floorboards, and install a new engine and transmission. The 1966 GTO joins “three and a half” other Pontiac GTOs, including a 1969 model and a pair of 1968 cars that are part of the 3:23 Fabrication family.
According to the previous owner, the GTO originated in Anchorage, AK, before it was towed to Colorado around 1981. It then ended up in Panama City, Florida, sometime before 1985. Not long after it arrived in Florida, it was parked in its current location, where it remained until it was rescued.