The Way It Was Part 2
I bought the 1970 GTO Judge just over the state line in Rhode Island. It had no mufflers and was not registered. I put an old plate on it, and the wife at the time in the '67 GTO convertible followed me home to Connecticut where we lived, about a 45 minute ride. I parked it as the '67 had not yet lost its engine. When the '67 developed the rod knock, the '70 Judge was put on the road. With the 250 HP 1972 engine and 4-speed, it was no slouch. Again, tire burning performance out off it and with the front and rear sway bars of the Judge, 120 MPH on the highway was as steady as a rock. Put a Torker manifold on it and an old Thermoquad I had - "just because"- and it really woke that engine up. Gas mileage suffered and I went back to the stock manifold and Quadrajet. I drove it about 6 months and brought my first born home from the hospital in it. It got parked and I pulled the engine and trans to get the '67 GTO convertible running again.
I ran the '67 for the summer and bought a 1968 GTO, $250. It was painted light blue house paint, had rusted through in the rear quarters and trunk, and the hood was kinked. Original 400 CI with the His and Hers Turbo 400 and 3.55's. It had white interior, 8-track, and a factory hood tach. I still have the firewall data plate and vin tag. The guy sold it to me thinking the engine was blown as it had a bad skip. Found a rocker arm had slipped off, put it back on, and that worn out car would squeal tires every time on a full throttle blast when it shifted from first to second. I parked the '67 GTO again and put the '68 GTO on the road. The timing chain let go after about 3 months of hard use. I installed a new timing chain & gear set I had gotten for free. The car never would quite catch. I now suspect the set may have been earlier Pontiac with different alignment marks. It got parked and parted out. Made money on it. Meanwhile, I had bought a 1965 GTO shell,$100. No drivetrain or interior, but a perfect body and top. Originally a 389 tri-power, white body, black interior car.
I had begun to disassemble the '67 convertible to rebuild. I was at that time doing bodyshop work and had a garage at home where I could work. Sold the 1972 400 engine out of it to make a little cash flow. In my yard was now parked my 1956 Pontiac (which was out of commission due to a bad accident), 1970 GTO Judge, 1967 GTO convertible, and the recent 1968 GTO. My goal was to collect one of each year, 1965 to 1970. With the '68 down and out, I was out of a daily vehicle. Luckily, at that time, I worked 1/4 mile away at a factory. Borrowed a vehicle to go shopping. Rode my bicycle a lot! I had been bitten by the 409 bug and was in process of assembling one to go into the former wife's 1965 Chevy Impala SS convertible. I had it up and running in a couple months time. Fastest car I have ever owned. I could pull the front wheels off the ground in that convertible. The dual quads got 8-10 MPG. The stories I can tell with that car! That car would run circles around my GTO's. Many street races and tickets to boot.
I sold the '70 Judge to a guy in Massachusetts who wanted to restore it. Bought my first set of torches with the money. Sold the '65 GTO convert. to a friend who dropped in a 400 CI and 3-speed manual, and put in an interior. He sold it to another guy who wanted to restore it. The '68 GTO was parted out and scrapped. The 409 was killing me on gas, so I bought a 1973 Mercury Capri with V-6 and parked the 409 (by that time I had 4-409 engines, 3-348's, and a pile of parts). I pulled the 409 and set it in the '67 GTO convertible using Chevelle motor mounts. Got it up and running and man did it fly. Only problem was that I could not get it to shift without sever gear grinding. I had used a Chevy to Pontiac trans adapter to mate to the 3-speed Pontiac stick I had put in it. The 1/2 spacer would not allow the clutch to make a clean disengagement. Never knew they had different length pivot balls I could have gotten to cure my woes. So it never hit the road again. I kept the '56 Pontiac and found a friends yard to park it after having to sell the home and move into an apartment. I pulled the 409 and sold the '67 convert. to a truck driver and Pontiac enthusiast in Massachusetts who was going to rebuild it. The 409 would later find a home in a 1967 Delta 88 body I bought when married to my second wife.
I also had purchased a 1957 Pontiac 2-Dr Sedan with some of the money I made selling my cars. I think that was $400. It had a 347 CI and automatic. A little rough, but good from 25 feet, I installed a factory 1956 Pontiac 285 HP intake (which I still have) using one carb and one dummy carb for looks. I added a Trans-Am hood scoop, my 1956 Pontiac sunvisor, and a gold stripe down the hood of the black car. It looked "bad", and ran pretty good. Drove that for a good 9 months before getting another car and pulling the engine and trans to go into my damaged '56. Scrapped the body as it was pretty rusty. Got tired of moving the '56 Pontiac from buddies house to buddies house as they would only store it for me a few months or so. At least they tried. The car was running and I had installed a 1955 Pontiac front clip on it. Called up a friend and told him to meet me with a jug of water. I got out my camera, he in the car, and we proceeded to smoke the tires off until I hit cord. Got some great pics of that car engulfed in tire smoke. Then I called the junk man and off it went after about 10 years of ownership, 2 of them actually on the road as a driver.
Owned a few more Pontiacs, 1975 Catalina, 1977 Lemans, 1962 4-Dr with bad engine and mint black body, 1975 Lemans, and a 1977 Can-Am that was totaled in the nose. Some were drivers while others were collected and eventually sold off or scrapped. It took about 20 years to get my life in order after 2 divorces and 4 children and could actually afford to buy a "toy" to put on the road. Found a 1968 Pontiac Lemans Sport for $900, factory 350 and 3-speeed on the floor. It is beat. About 8 years ago I installed a warmed over 1972 400 with the 7K3 heads, rebuilt the front end and rear, all the brakes, and made it a dependable driver that looked good from 25 feet. It was a screamer, but never had good oil pressure. After 8 years and 25,000 hard miles, oil pressure quit. Now it is undergoing rebuild number 2. Bigger and badder than anything I have owned in the past. Also going through the body with many mods. It won't be restored to original by any means, but it will be awesome when its done. This is my 2 year project. It has only taken me 30 years to get back to performance Pontiacs!! HaHaHa. What memories.
Last edited by PontiacJim; 01-04-2013 at 05:16 PM.