If the 1968-72 Pontiac GTO is a muscle icon, why is its market soft?


The Pontiac GTO of 1968-72 embodies just about everything that was fantastically ridiculous about American muscle cars. Bright colors, loud graphics, monstrous size, powerful engines, a hood-mounted tach, and a rear spoiler that doesn’t really do anything—the GTO’s got the goods. The second-gen GTO also has the pedigree of a great name; the original GTO of 1964 is widely credited with sparking the muscle car craze in the first place. The famous and flashy “Judge” package jazzed up the 1968-71 models, and the Ram Air IV engine was one of the hottest of the day. Indeed, a Ram Air IV GTO convertible is one of the most collectible classic muscle cars out there. So why hasn’t the muscle car market been kind to the GTO lately?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/12/21/second-gen-gto-market-slowing-down


The answer to your question is in your article. Prices have gone flat because they have reached the top of their appreciation curve, for now. Insurance quotes are down because they aren’t being traded, they aren’t being traded because prices are flat. I don’t see prices on these cars moving much until new buyers get to a point where they can afford to buy them.


I’d say you hit the nail on the head. If you really want a collector grade GTO, you’re really best waiting for one to actually appear. I don’t think new collectors are ready ore even in the position to plop down the cash required to buy one either. I watch the Grand Prix market as closely as the GTO market for the price guide and I fully believe that the GP has been doing well because it gives you the GTO performance without the cost. If you’re a late Gen-Xer or an early Millennial and you’re ready to enter the market, the GP offers a lot more bang for you buck.


I would also be interested in the data on the Lemans and Tempest’s of this time period. I have seen a number of them at car shows with 455 transplants as they are so much cheaper than a real GTO. Those of us on a budget can have all the looks and performance without the big price tag. My brother recently picked up a 65 Lemans as he could not afford a real GTO. I am also firmly in the “drive the wheels off them” camp and buying a non performance model allows you to that with out sacrificing its value.


i own roughly 25-30 67-71 GTO’s.The 68-71 have always been less expensive than the 64-67. Unless we are talking RAIV;s or exotics, Judge’s. BTW the Judge’s weren’t made in 68 as the article misstates. For my investment money the 67’s are the way to go. Love the 71’s and they are still relatively inexpensive.


Price deflation is also about the experience of the car.
These muscle cars and their state of technology are now about 50 years old. In a word, they are ancient and obsolete.
They really do drive like trucks, go go trucks and barely stop. Other than fantasizing about them, the real driving experience is disappointing at best. The big dollars asked for them are utterly unrealistic and foolish. Those who are buying a muscle car like these is proof of mass hypnosis.


Simple math comes into play here also. A 10 percent increase in the price of a $40,000 car is $4,000, while that same 10 percent increase in the price of a $8,000 vehicle is only $800. Nearly everything flattens out in time, the lesser value vehicles can see larger percentage increases. Check out Krispy Kreme Doughnut stock for a good example of this phenomenon.


My first car at 16, 1968 Tempest, $300.00, oh well, RIP. 2nd car, 1968 GTO 4 speed, had it a few years, sold it, $400.00. Kick me. Have a 69 now 40 years later, put some bucks into it, 4 on the floor, hideaways, torque, drives like a truck, I like it, my baby. Will keep as long as I can, hopefully hand it down. Have young sons, teens, 20’s that actually still appreciate the classics.


@gpehanick - You are correct. The first year for the Judge model was 1969. We are updating the article now.


Baby boomers are dying off. The next generation is interested in cars of their youth, not ours.

Add in that many reasonably priced new cars can whip a 60s/70s “muscle” car in everything from the 1/4 mile to the ‘ring and have retro styling. A physician friend of mine (same age) bought the car he lusted over in his teen years - a Camaro - a new V6 Camaro with a manual transmission. 0-60 in 5 seconds. 13.7 quarter mile. Faster than a RAIV.

These are not investments, young people aren’t interested, there’s no garages at the cemetery. Gentlemen, start your engines, drive your cars.


I have always been a GM kind off guy and more specifically a Pontiac lover. You always see articles about the popular models like GTO Judge and Trans Am but I have always loved the styling of the 70-73 Firebird Formula. This model was so unique in its design and with performance equaling the Trans Am you never see any info out there about the Formula. I also think it is rather rare as you hardly ever see original versions for sale. I recently picked up an all original 1971 Formula 400 with complete documentation including original title, original temp registration, original loan document, protecto plate, letter from GM thanking owner for buying a Pontiac Formula and more. Less than 8000 original miles. The few shows I took her to this summer all took 1st place. Trying to figure out the value but there is no benchmark for the Formula model.


I find it surprising that you need a range of 5 cars to number your GTO’s. Wish I was you?


Sort of, i highly recommend this read that covers the collecting habits we’ve observed of Millennials and Gen-Xers. I agree, cars are meant to be driven. I fully subscribe to the belief that if you aren’t enjoying yours, it is time to pass it on.


The whole purpose of buying a vintage car is to enjoy them for what they are. If you want something that drives like a new car, get a new car. You couldn’t give me a new car. I don’t want all the computer and safety garbage they have. I am a mechanical guy through and through. I would never own a car without a carburetor. If you don’t like the driving experience these wonderful old cars provide, then vintage/classic cars are NOT for you.


Perhaps. But if the idea of enjoying an old performance car is more about memories and fawning over a garage queen than it is about actually performing, no wonder young market participants are disinterested - especially at these stratospheric prices. The market topped a few years ago. Like it or not, the overall downward price trend of these cars will accelerate with the death of each person who even knows what a carburetor is.


Mvc-001s_edited How can you not love this?? Restored this 27 years ago and still fun to drive.


I think it depends upon your level of exposure and experience with these vehicles. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and dreamed of a muscle car. Within two weeks of getting my driver’s license and after working since the age of twelve at my Dad’s business, my brother located a hard-used but solid, driveable 1969 GTO. I was able to purchase it for a few hundred dollars. I was in LOVE! I scoured junkyards and swap meets (unusual behavior for a sixteen year-old girl, even today) and little by little saved and gathered up what I needed to make it beautiful again. We will celebrate FORTY years together this coming June. I also have a 51 SD Catalina, a 55 Star Chief convertible, and a 99 WS6 Trans Am but my GTO is part of who I am. It drives and handles like a dream on BF Goodrich Radial TAs, so I give up nothing to drive this amazing piece of history. The pleasure is all mine. So, people like me are not really affected by the ups and downs of the market because my GTO will remain in my posession until I can either no longer give it the care it deserves, or I draw my last breath. As long as I have a great company like Hagerty who is willing to insure my car while understanding my history with it, I could not be a happier girl with this car. Everyone should drive what they love, and have fun! Be safe everyone, and keep a tiger in your tank!:tiger:


I have a 1969 GTO I need to sale. It is a ram air IV option w/o judge option. 400 cu in 396 hp th400 auto transmission. Factory aluminum intake and dash tach. My girlfriend will not move in until I remodel my bathroom for her handicapped daughter. Estimate is for 15k. Hagerty says my car is worth 25 - 30 k Bought it in 1992, time for some one else to enjoy. Anyone interested?


BTW it is one of 151


It also was rated at 370 horses, not 396.

Visit the Performance Years website and find the 1968-69 room to talk with experts who can help you figure out what you have.