Lot 3037

Auburn Fall 2019

1965 Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO Hardtop


$49,000 USD | Sold

United States | Auburn, Indiana



Identification No.
  • 389 cu. in. V-8 featuring Tri-Power carburetion
  • Four-speed manual transmission with Hurst shifter
  • Meticulously cared-for example coming out of long-term ownership
  • Originally sold through Doug Willey Pontiac Inc. of Birmingham, AL
  • Offered with original window sticker, Pontiac Historical Services documentation, and restoration photographs
  • Includes two sets of spare wheels—Hurst five-spokes with redline tires and painted steel wheels with redline tires

In late 1963, the GTO was developed by John Z. DeLorean as a performance option for the Pontiac Tempest, and it was conceived to give Pontiac some additional performance in their lineup. The GTO combined aggressive styling and even more aggressive performance to lure muscle car buyers to Pontiac. Interestingly enough, the entire project circumvented GM’s prohibition of fitting an engine over 330 cubic inches in their intermediate models, making the car somewhat of an in-house hot rod. Nevertheless, it proved to be successful and helped cement DeLorean’s reputation in the industry. The GTO option attracted 32,540 buyers in 1964, and according to legend, Pontiac received 5,000 orders before the GM brass even learned of the car’s existence!

This 1965 Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO Hardtop was sold new through Doug Willey Pontiac Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama. It is equipped with the highly desirable Gran Turismo Omologato (GTO) package, which included a potent 389 cu. in. V-8 engine, dual exhaust, sport suspension, chrome air cleaner and rocker covers, and GTO badging. The car was further upgraded with a four-speed manual transmission, three two-barrel carburetors, cluster & tachometer rally gauge, quick steering, transistor ignition, metallic brake linings, and Saf-T-Track differential. This along with other options and accessories brought the total price to $3,685.92.

The beneficiary of a high-quality restoration, this GTO presents beautifully today. According to the consignor, the car retains its original engine, which has been rebuilt by Cobra Automotive. Rated at 373 flywheel horsepower, it utilizes original heads, intake manifold, and carburetors. A 1967 GTO exhaust manifold has been fitted for improved exhaust flow; the original exhaust manifolds are included. While the engine was being rebuilt, the close-ratio transmission and 3:90 rear end were also rebuilt, at a cost of roughly $28,000. A concours-quality respray was the final touch that really sets this car apart from the rest. The car is currently fitted with a high-performance suspension; however, the original components are included.

The GTO is accompanied by its original window sticker, Protect-O-Plate, owner’s guide, protection plan book, Pontiac Historical Services documentation, restoration photographs, and two sets of spare wheels: Hurst five-spokes with redline tires and painted steel wheels with redline tires.

When released, these factory GTOs were considered by many to be the “holy grail” of street race cars. This 1965 Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO Hardtop is one such example. Meticulously cared for and coming out of long-term ownership, this GTO is truly a wonderful example and is sure to impress with its understated styling and powerful drivetrain.