Looking to get my first GTO

Hey Team, my name’s Luke. Looking to get my first GTO, have been doing a tonne of research over the last 2 months.

Getting to the business end of my search, there are a few cars i’ve been in touch with owners about. This one just popped up as a potential project 10 minutes ago.

Had a brief chat with the owner on Messenger, engine turns over but won’t fire, (he suspects spark plugs):


Looking for opinions on the car, how much work you think it would be to get things up to speed, etc. Appreciate it’s not much to go on, but would be great to have a list of things to check specifically if I go to see it.

Hi @luke3 ,

Welcome to the club.

To your question it’s an interesting one and here are some thoughts:

No spark - it’s rare all spark plug’s would fail one or two OK but all 6?
No spark can be a number of things - plugs, HT leads, PTU, coil packs and of course ECU. All is fixable but ECUs can be difficult to find and expensive.

Second the Crank angle sensor (on the early MK1 cars) could have failed which would stop the spark as well I think.

When viewing the car take a good look underneath around the rear wheel arches where they join to the floor pan. Also look for additional electrical wires around the engine bay - this can tell you someone has messed with the electrical system.

However the price is low so could be worth a gamble…

Good luck :+1:


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You should ask for a lot more pictures and information about that car, it sure looks cheap but if it’s a non starter that’ll be why - it could be a quick fix, or not! At that price it could be worth a punt if the car otherwise is fairly original and functional with no warning lights on the dash - sadly unless it starts and moves under it’s own power you won’t know for sure what else might need doing! Sourcing a replacement or repairing the ECU could prove tricky.

Whereabouts are you based Luke and what’s your budget and what sort of GTO are you looking for? A Mk1 (popups), Mk2, later? Colour? What sort of jobs are you prepare to do on the car? Cosmetic only, mechanical stuff, electrical? If you’re looking at £2500 Twin Turbo GTO’s you’ve gotta be prepared to dig deep into your pockets for one that has been stood a long time and needs some TLC.

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Hi for 2500 is worth a punt only if your prepared to put some cash into it if you do the work yourself then you could save a lot but be prepared to put back at least 2 to 3 k back to get back up and running to a goid standard but dont be afraid when i bought mine in 2010 was cheap and had no clutch and ive put time effort and cash and now id say its where i want her to be and the other thing if you do the work you know its done properly.

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Hey Luka,

This all makes sense. Budget is 10-11K, there is one i’m going to see next week for 11, which looks to be in really good nick.

Happy to do Cosmetic and mechanical jobs. Electrical I have less experience with, but plenty of time and patience to learn!

I’m based in St Albans, so this one is only an hour up to the road, i thought that a quick viewing couldnt hurt.

This is 20 mins away from me, i have a mk1 aswell but with a mk2 engine, most parts should be swap able, if you did want to look and i can meet you, i can also bring a few parts to test, also if you want to look around 1 your more than welcome, engine currently out aswell, gives you an idea

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Oh cool!

Thanks for the offer. A veteran pair of eyes would certainly be welcome.

If I decide to go for a look, I’ll be sure to ping you a message to see if you can come along.

I’m all the way oop North in Sheffield/Doncaster area, but if you ever want to look around a pretty good one and get an idea of what long term ownership looks like feel free to ask and visit. If you’ve a solid budget of £10k you should be setting your sights higher than a project/potential nightmare car, there should be a few out there well in your budget which are running great and maybe need only minor tinkering or cosmetic issues.

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Thanks James, appreciate the thoughts and the welcome.

Have been furiously writing down things to check on viewing!

Hi @luke3 ,

Take a look at the buyers guide - this is very useful to have with you when viewing a car.


We’ve just been to see the car.
Overall reasonable condition but has had a poor repair to passenger side rear quarter. Hardly any rust on the shell.
Coolant low and sludgy. Radiator has evidence of a leak.
Brake fluid was overfull which we suspect is from pushing the pistons in to free the brakes off after it having been stood for 13 years. Brake discs were cleaner than you’d expect for sitting that long.
One of the intake hoses was off and they said they had got it to start before. But we concurred that no spark now.
Clifford alarm wiring in engine bay was cut, along with a load of wiring under the dash and near the ECU.
Clicking from engine while ignition on.
Aircon unit broken.
Tops of doorcards cracked, like most.
No spare wheel.
No fuel cap.
SRS light on.
No check engine light.
Active aero light constantly lit with ignition but not sure how they’re supposed to function.
Turns over with jump pack but doesn’t start due to the spark issue.
We suspect it’s all to do with the alarm so too much of a project for us.


Indeed, I did spot this earlier on in my research. Very useful info.

Thanks for sharing Joe.

Yeah, at 2k i was tempted, but I think I would also be biting off more than I could chew with this one.

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If it helps - when I first put Hoopy Loopy together it wouldn’t crank at all after looking I decided the old alarm was causing the issue. Not having any idea about how to remove it etc… I contacted an automotive electrician- he just happened to know GTOs really well (used to do wiring on them when imported at Southampton docks) - basically he put the wiring back to stock removing the alarm and she fired right up. It cost me about £130 which to be honest was money well spent.

Completely agree it’s a car worth saving if you know someone good at electrics. Putting it back to stock would be the way to go. I think it’s sold now regardless. It seems there are a fair few GTOs about at this price point that have similar alarm/wiring issues. How far does the auto-electrician you used travel?

He covers Hampshire and parts of Wiltshire. Certainly not a national service. The company is JVS auto electrical - has a Facebook page - but I notice their website is down - he might have stopped doing it etc…

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A member ‘thinking’ of selling, based in Birmingham.



Thanks for the heads up Tracy, will take a peak.

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Thanks for all the replies and messages so far guys.

The search continues, I’m going for a test drive of a mk1 on my shortlist sometime next week. The only real question mark when we went to look the first time was a coolant leak.

I was wondering if there were any quick checks we could do when we get there to diagnose the leak and gain a bit of insight (short or tearing the poor man’s engine bay apart!)

Main bit would be look at the floor, if its not been raining and the plastic under cover, look at the hose condition all over, might give you some idea of what to expect

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