A friend of mine called me a few weeks back to shoot some photos of a GTO out in the weeds on his property. After years and years of an “I’ll build it someday” mentality, he’s finally decided that it’s just never going to happen. Time to sell the GTO while there’s still some GTO left to sell.

Some car people see nothing but possibility in the image above — it’s got the Endura bumper and was a factory 4-speed car with the pedals still in place. But there’s a dose of reality in the missing engine, hacked-up rear end, and rusty Flintstone floors that are now showing daylight where there should be none. Make no mistake — this is a legit GTO, but bringing it back from the dead would take a lot of time and more money than it’s worth on the market.

At ACC, we’ve often pushed the notion that it’s smarter to buy a car done than to build one yourself. At least financially, it’s the prudent thing to do. You’ll spend more than your car’s hard market value making it as nice as it can be. Nobody wants to be upside down in a car if they don’t have to be, right?

So then why do car people love barn finds so much? Why can’t we resist a good project, and why do we dream about what it might become with a little work? I think it all just comes down to the person looking at the car in question. It’s about that person’s interests and how he or she values his or her time.

If you love working on cars, there’s value in the hours you spend building one. I think of it as an entertainment cost, because I think it’s fun to bring things back from the dead — even when it’s clear they’re not ever going to make back everything they cost you. Others would rather be out driving, either on their own or in a group, as soon as the ink is dry on the title transfer. I certainly can’t fault them for that — I’ve found myself thinking both ways about different cars at different times.

I’d love to build this GTO. How about you? Would you dive in on a GTO like this one if the price is right, or would you run even if it was free? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

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