For '69, Pontiac produced...
For '69, Pontiac produced 7,436 GTO convertibles, of which 2,415 came equipped with a manual transmission. How many came in triple-black with a bench seat and four-on-the-floor- as this GTO was originally optioned-is unknown, but it's likely the answer is very, very few.
Many Pontiac hobbyists would admit to being superstitious about flying to look at a vintage GTO on Friday the 13th, but not Kevin Guido, an engineering technician from Clearwater, Florida, who used the uncanny date to score an originally triple-black four-speed convertible. It was numbers-matching-not just its engine and transmission, but all the way down to its original starter.
"In 2005, I was actively searching for a bona fide '69 Firebird 400 four-speed convertible," Kevin recalls. "After chasing down numerous dead-end leads and finding many clones, tributes, and outright falsified 400s, I changed my mind and casually began looking at GTO convertibles instead. That's when I came across this '69 droptop on eBay-what a twist of fate."
"I was taken in visually by the ad's photo," Kevin says. "It was a head-on shot of the GTO showing its beautiful hideaway-headlamp nose, which in my opinion, has to be one of the most stunning design cues ever used on any car. The more its owner Fred Young and I spoke, the more the GTO intrigued me, and after a few long distance calls, I was ready to fly to Millersville, Pennsylvania, to see it in person."
Before making the trip, Kevin learned more about the GTO's history. The Starlight Black convertible began life at Pontiac's Baltimore, Maryland, factory on February 26, 1969, where it was given a matching black convertible top and ultra-rare black bench-seat interior before being shipped to Weidner Pontiac Company in Mansfield, Ohio. It was frugally optioned-a four-speed wide-ratio manual trans (code 354/M20), covered "hide-a-way" headlamps (code 414), Safe-T-Track differential (code 361), power steering (code 501), push-button AM radio (code 382), and stereo tape player (code 394)-"all the right options," as Kevin put it-and carried a suggested retail price of $4,050.40.
Owner Kevin Guido felt lucky...
Owner Kevin Guido felt lucky on Friday the 13th and flew/drove to Millersville, Pennsylvania, to purchase this GTO. He found a great example of a perfect-year GTO, but both its interior and top had been changed to Parchment White. He added the Judge spoiler after bringing the car back home to Florida.
According to the GTO's surviving Protect-O-Plate, B. Pfitzenmeyer of Mansfield was the manual-row ragtop's original owner. Little is known about the monochromatic markhor's (a wild goat) subsequent story until 2003, when it was owned by an attorney in Pennsylvania, who changed the bench seat to buckets, converted the interior to Parchment and the convertible top to white.
On Friday, May 13, 2005, Kevin flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, rented a car, and drove to Millersville to get a closer look at the GTO. "I didn't want to pass the Pontiac up no matter how unlucky a day tradition says it is," Kevin recalls. "The next morning I finally got to drive it through the winding roads of Pennsylvania. Afterwards, I looked the GTO over and was overwhelmed at the owner's attention to detail. He'd done a thorough restoration in the year he'd owned it, having had the car stripped and repainted in its original Starlight Black. The fit and finish of all the panels were stunning, as was the GTO's presentation. As the owner told me (and backed up with photos from the restoration), the convertible was relatively rust-free and only needed minimal metal repairs or replacement, such as the rear wheel lips and a small floor-pan section under the driver's feet.
According to Kevin, Fred added front power disc brakes (11-inch rotors; single-piston GM calipers; a 11/8-inch-bore dual-reservoir master cylinder; and a GM power booster), sourced from Master Power Brakes of Mooresville, North Carolina; 14x6 Rally II wheels; 225/70R14 BFG tires; a Pontiac AM/FM stereo; and a console during the restoration. The price was firm, but Kevin was smitten. He wanted the Goat, so the two men struck a deal.
This '69 GTO's profile shows...
This '69 GTO's profile shows why it quickly became one of America's all-time-favorite musclecars and has held its position for over 40 years.
The code-WT 400/350hp engine...
The code-WT 400/350hp engine is original to the car (though rebuilt), as are its No. 48 heads; Rochester four-barrel carburetor (7029263); dual-plane, cast-iron intake (9794234); distributor (1111970), alternator (1100704); starter (1107355); and Harrison radiator.
Originally equipped with a...
Originally equipped with a code-268 black bench-seat interior, a previous owner changed the interior to Parchment buckets, most likely to make the non-A/C cabin more endurable on hot summer days. Kevin, who lives in Clearwater, Florida, says he couldn't argue with the cool decision. The console, sport wheel, and walnut shift knob don't appear on the factory invoice. Bench-seat manual floor-shift GTOs came with a Hurst shifter with a different bend than bucket-seat units. Kevin added a correct bucket-seat Hurst shifter and put the original bench seat shifter away for safekeeping.