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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, plenty of people will likely start thinking about holiday shopping. Usually, the plan is to take advantage of dealership or manufacturer specials. But rather than dealing with high markups and inventory shortages, why not skip the new and used markets and go classic? Say, a classic muscle car like a well-restored 1969 Pontiac GTO?

Even if you didn’t drop the hammer with the Judge, the 1969 Pontiac GTO brought some thundering horsepower

A 1969 Pontiac GTO in a grassy field
1969 Pontiac GTO | Dorothy Pace/The Enthusiast Network via Getty Images/Getty Images
1969 Pontiac GTO
Royal Bobcat (Royal Pontiac dealer option)
EnginesBase, Judge: 6.6-liter four-barrel V8 (base, Ram Air III ‘Ram Air,’ Ram Air IV)
Royal Bobcat: 7.0-liter four-barrel V8
Horsepower (SAE gross)Base: 350 hp
Ram Air III: 366 hp
Ram Air IV: 370 hp
7.0-liter: 390 hp (stock), 425 hp (Royal Pontiac version)
Torque (SAE gross)Base: 355 lb-ft
Ram Air IV: 445 lb-ft
7.0-liter: 465 lb-ft (stock)
TransmissionsThree- and four-speed manual
Three-speed automatic
Curb weight3700 lbs (approx.)
0-60 mph time6.5 seconds (Ram Air III, MotorTrend)
5.2 seconds (Royal Bobcat, Car and Driver)

Although Pontiac wasn’t the first automaker to give a relatively-small car a massive engine, the 1964 GTO launch is often considered the muscle car era’s start. Borrowing the name of the now-iconic Ferrari 250 GTO, it wasn’t quite as fast as the Prancing Horse. But the first-gen GTOs quickly established themselves as the cars for impromptu Woodward Avenue racing. And the second-gen car’s arrival in 1968 secured a MotorTrend Car of the Year win.

While the second-gen 1968-1972 Pontiac GTO isn’t quite as beloved these days, value-wise, as the first-gen, it’s arguably the better car. For one, its redesign came with a new body-colored ‘Endura’ bumper that could withstand hammer blows. That seems par for the course these days, but in 1968, it was “an engineering marvel,” MT says. In addition, the GTO got a hood-mounted tachometer and hidden headlights.

Also, in 1969, Pontiac gave the GTO its most powerful classic factory engine: the Ram Air IV. On paper, the 2000s-era GTO made even more horsepower. However, the consensus is that Pontiac fudged the numbers on the low side, Hagerty reports.

Pontiac didn’t just give the GTO a more powerful engine in 1969: it also introduced the beloved Judge trim. Available only with Ram Air engines, the Judge packs a Hurst shifter, rear spoiler, wider tires, and trim-specific decals and colors. But you didn’t need any of those features to have a fun and fast muscle car.

Omaze is putting a restored 1969 Pontiac GTO up for grabs

Vintage muscle cars, Pontiac GTO included, were fast for their era, but only a handful are modern-level fast. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve both muscle car handling and performance. And the restored 1969 Pontiac GTO that Omaze is raffling off has quite a few of these desirable upgrades.

Firstly, while the original engine is gone, this 1969 Pontiac GTO still rocks a V8. And not only is it bigger than stock—7.6 liters—but it’s a modern fuel-injected engine from Butler Performance. So, not only does it eliminate any need for carburetor fiddling, but it’s also more powerful than any stock GTO engine. This 7.6-liter V8 makes 575 hp and 620 lb-ft of torque, sent to the rear wheels via a Tremec five-speed manual.

To keep the modern horsepower in check, this 1969 Pontiac GTO ditched its drums for four-wheel Wilwood six-piston discs. Underneath it has Racetech coil-overs and muscle bars along with billet Chassis Works steering spindles. As a result, it rides 2” lower than stock. And speaking of riding, this 1969 GTO has 18” Budnik billet wheels wrapped in modern Pirelli P-Zero tires. Also, while the interior is mostly stock, this restomod has a Budnik steering wheel and pedals, plus an American Powertrain shift knob.

You can win a classic muscle car ‘GOAT’ and benefit a good cause


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If you wanted to buy this restored 1969 Pontiac GTO, it’d run you about $100,000. A good-condition, non-Ram-Air 1969 GTO would cost you roughly $33,000 alone, Hagerty notes. However, thanks to Omaze, you might get this GTO for significantly less.

That’s because this 1969 GTO is part of Omaze’s latest raffle for charity. The raffle lasts until February 17th, 2022, at 11:59 PM Pacific Time, and you can buy multiple entries at once. The prices break down in the following way:

  • 20 entries: $10
  • 125 entries: $25
  • 500 entries: $50
  • 1200 entries: $100
  • 2000 entries: $150

All proceeds go to MusiCares, a non-for-profit that provides grants, support, and relief programs to musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, you won’t just be making V8 music, but you’ll be helping others make their songs heard, too.

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