5 Of The Most Expensive Pontiacs Ever Sold At Auction

Though more than 15 years have passed since General Motors pulled the plug on its Pontiac brand, the vehicles manufactured during its almost 85-year production run remain some of the most revered in the history of American auto-making. Launched under the wing of General Motors, the first Pontiac — the Series 6-27 — was released in 1926, becoming a popular vehicle that some would argue began the manufacturer's lengthy run of producing affordable vehicles that offered on-road performance well above their price-range.

That approach made Pontiac one of the best-loved brands on the road during its heyday in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. During those later decades, Pontiac was perhaps best-known for producing some of the most iconic muscle cars to ever hit the two-lane blacktop, with models like the GTO, Firebird, and Trans Am leading the pack.

Not surprisingly, Pontiacs from those eras in particular have become some of the most sought after vehicles on the vintage and second-hand automobile markets. Yes, a well cared for vintage car that bares one of Pontiac's iconic hood adornments could indeed fetch you a pretty penny or three on the old auction circuit. These five Pontiacs rank among the most expensive ever sold at auction.  

A Smokey and the Bandit Firebird Trans Am sold for nearly half-a-million dollars

Like many of America's more recognized automobile brands, Pontiacs have featured often in Hollywood offerings produced for both the small screen and the big screen. While GTOs have likely made more appearances in film and television, it's impossible to talk about the brand's Hollywood connections without mentioning the Trans Am, which made not only an unforgettable appearance in the classic series "Knight Rider," but also scored a big screen spot in the 1977 comedy "Smokey and the Bandit."

That blockbuster film, of course, starred the late-great Burt Reynolds as renowned truck driver Bo "Bandit" Darville, whose on-road feats lead a wealthy Texan to offer him a massive payday if he can smuggle 400 cases of beer from his home state to Atlanta in just over a day's time. Bandit takes the job, and promptly hits the road in a souped-up black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am complete with T-top and a golden bird emblazoned on the hood. This Trans Am was iconic the moment it first graced the screen, and that status has only grown in the ensuing decades.

Given the legacy of the vehicle, it was clear that a Bandit Edition Trans Am – once owned by Reynolds himself – would become a hot item when Barrett-Jackson featured it during a 2022 auction. The vehicle was worth $495,000 as the gavel fell. In all honesty, we're still surprised the vehicle didn't sell for a much higher number. 

This 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible netted its owner almost $700,000

Bumping up against the $500,000 threshold is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to how much money a cherry Pontiac might fetch you at auction. Turns out that GTOs manufactured in the heart of the muscle car era are generally more sought after than late-era Firebird Trans-Ams, and can bring in staggering amounts of money in the right setting. That was certainly the case for a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV Convertible when it was offered up by RM Auctions in 2010. 

If you're familiar with the legacy of the GTO, you know it's arguably the model that launched the muscle car movement in the 1960s. By decade's end, an increasingly crowded field left the GTO fighting for a place in the market it had essentially pioneered, so Pontiac did the only logical thing they could, enhance the already souped-up GTO with a legit performance variant.   

The result was the almost comically muscular 1969 GTO Judge, a vehicle boasting slick lines, and in the top-end variety, a 370 hp Ram Air IV engine. Pontiac manufactured 6,725 Judge hard-tops in '69, while only 108 came with a convertible roof, and only five of those were Air IV builds. The 1969 Judge sold by RM was apparently also the only one finished in Starlight Black that year, making it unique among its brethren, a fact that helped it net a whopping $682,000 when it hit the auction floor.

A super rare 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible brought in more than $1 million

At the risk of callously mis-quoting a famous line from "The Social Network," we'll go ahead and pose the question, "Ya know what's better than selling a Pontiac GTO Judge for almost $700,000? Selling one for more than $1 million." Yes, the lovingly restored Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV Convertible that collector Chuck Cocoma sent to Mecum for auction in 2023 cleared that mind-boggling sum when it became available.

The obscenely pricey Pontiac was a second generation of the "Laugh-In" inspired GTO Judge, released in 1970. Pontiac built fewer of the psychedelically tinged muscle cars for round two, running just 3,783 off the production line in the 1970 model year. Of those precious GTO Judges, only 168 were convertibles, and from that limited stock, only seven were equipped with both a Ram Air IV engine and the fabled Turbo 400 automatic transmission.

As for the Orbit Orange paint job, one can assume that color was also pretty unique in the GTO Judge lineup, with the combined rarities boasted by Cocoma's 1970 build ranking it among the rarest Pontiacs to ever hit the auction block. Such as it was, even a final sale price of $1.1 million was worth it to one full-blown Pontiac GTO fanatic.

Pontiac's 1954 Bonneville Special Concept Car topped the $3 million mark

That 1970 GTO Judge is not the only Pontiac to cross the $1 million threshold at auction. The most expensive Pontiac sold went during a 2015 Barrett-Jackson bidding war — a Pontiac Bonneville Special from the mid-1950s brought in a staggering $3.3 million haul. That sum was higher even than the $3,080,000 that a bronze painted version of the same vehicle pulled in at auction just nine years prior.

If you're wondering what all the hubbub was about, scarcity is a big part of the equation, as Pontiac manufactured only two of the Bonneville Specials. This insanely low production number was purely because the '54 Bonneville Special was a concept car conjured by legendary General Motors designer Harley Earl. It was also the first Pontiac to front the Bonneville moniker, before the soon-to-be beloved model went into production in 1957, though it did so with a decidedly less space-edged look.

From a design standpoint, you can see what sets the Bonneville Special apart from other Pontiacs, with the vehicle's sleekly rounded lines baring a resemblance to what would eventually become the Chevy Corvette. However, that iconic vehicle didn't come with the Bonneville Special's stunning plexiglass roof and gull-wing doors. It's a shame the automaker opted not to mass-produce this vehicle, meaning that the two models in existence will likely only appreciate in value as the years forge on. 

The kitschy GTO Monkeemobile sang to the tune of almost $400,000

Since we've covered the be all and end all of auction sales for a Pontiac vehicle, it would seem unfair to drop just any old Pontiac into fifth spot. So, let's have a little fun in the muscle-car wilderness, and look at the 1966 GTO Monkeemobile.

That's right, the hot rodded car Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz cruised from gig to gig in on the hit comedy series "The Monkees" was, in fact, a Pontiac GTO. It was, however, a GTO that had been chopped up and customized considerably before it cruised onto the screen to match the whimsical nature of the series and the boys in the titular band. The custom build work was undertaken by none other than the legendary Dean Jeffries, who designed two identical Monkeemobiles for the series, one to use on the show and one to use as a promotional vehicle throughout the country.

For any custom car collector or diehard Pontiac player, such a rare vehicle would obviously be of interest. Even more so if you're into the cultural zeitgeist of the 1960s or if you're a fan of "The Monkees" TV show. A price of $396,000 was put on the GTO when Barrett-Jackson featured it in 2008. Sure, other Pontiacs have sold for more at auction, but none were as much fun as the goofy old Monkeemobile.