Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Gastonia, NC - Born & raised in Connecticut - 31 years
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From my Acme paints book for your year, 1970 Cardinal Red is paint code 75. No other reds are listed. I searched through all the General Motors color codes 1962-1971. I found one "01" for a 1969 Olds Toronado - Amethyst Metallic, which I don't think it is. I also looked for the letter "I" and there were no letter "I" paint codes. "I" was always skipped.
Just for kicks, I looked for number "1" paint codes of other manufacturers in case the color was taken from one of them. 1970 Ford had "Vermillion" and a Maverick promotional color called "Home on the Orange" 1970 Lincoln & Mercury had "Competition Orange."
In 1967 and 1968, you could get customer/special ordered paint colors, some were known by name only and had no paint code. I had a '67 GTO convert. with no paint code and it was painted as a special color, Iris Mist. Found two reds that may be of interest. There is a 1967 Pontiac special color having no code called "Sierra Red Metallic" and a 1968 Firebird only special color having no code called "Carnival Red."
There is also a 1969 Firebird only color code number 72 "Carousel Red," and a Grand Prix only color code number 86 "Claret Red Metallic." These two colors only show up for 1969 as mentioned.
I agree with the other comments that your color looks like the Cardinal Red, but I would have to think that your paint color code would have shown this. Could yours have been a preproduction color, a late year production color? When was your car manufactured - early or late run? My next guess would be that it is indeed a custom color and may have been ordered in one of the other red colors mentioned as they were not available on the 1970 GTO and some customer or dealer really wanted "that color", especially if it was late 1969 and some one wanted the 1969 Firebird/Grand Prix color they saw on some car in a show room. Pontiac did have some strange one off builds. I do not have any color chips, so I do not know if any of these colors would even match. If your car has been repainted at any time, it is possible that the Cardinal Red was selected versus the actual color because like you, the color could not be found in the paint color books and they went with what was listed.
So, food for thought, and I'm just throwing stuff out here. Still, interesting mystery. Nice car.