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Old 11-28-2011, 01:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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68 GTO HO Convertible Restoration

So I figured I would start a thread to document the restoration of my 68 HO. First a brief history: This was my dream car from when I was about 13 years old and ever since. When I was 14 or so in 1996 in Manassas VA, I bought a 71 Skylark 4 door because I figured I would never be able to afford a GTO. About a year and a half later I saw a GTO convertible for sale on the Good Neigboor ad at Giant Foods of all places. I took the whole ad and began pooling all of my assets (not nearly enough) the car was listed for 5000, eventually I talked my mom and dad into going over to look at it with me and they ended up loaning me the money (after a some begging and agreeing to mow the lawn for free forever). I later paid them off with my sign on bonus when I joined the Air Force.
The car was in rough shape and needed a lot of TLC, but it ran well and I later (this year) found out it was a numbers matching HO car with low miles. It had simply been poorly kept and from the looks of things, worked on by the worst body guys in the business. I live in FL now and brought the car down last year, I immediately began working on it and I will catch the thread up to where it sits now...

These are some pics of the car back in VA before any real work started. The only thing that had been done to the car at this point was that I sold my 71 Skylark to pay for a new convertible top. It was done around 1998 at Kim Auto Upholstery in Woodbridge, Great work. Also got a new back bumper at Carlisle that same year.




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Old 11-28-2011, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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These are a couple pics of the car getting ready to be towed down to FL.



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Old 11-28-2011, 01:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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And finally, at its current home in Pensacola. Lost a lot of garage space that day. So I built a shed to house some bikes
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Here are a couple of the car stripped down and ready to get soda blasted. This was last year and as always it took more time than anticipated to get the work done.



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Old 11-28-2011, 02:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Nice Looking Car, Good luck on your project glad you were able to keep it and bring it back to its glory!
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Here's the car getting soda blasted, cost a thousand bucks but it really got the car down to the metal. Discovered that the car was in great shape overall, but it would require a lot of patch panels and TLC. Plus the hood will need an awful lot of work or replacement. Floor pans were in great shape except under the rear seat... convertibles are notorious for rusting out there.







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Old 11-28-2011, 06:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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While the car was getting soda blasted I rebuilt the engine. Its the numbers matching HO 400 and I didnt discover that until reassembly. It had never been rebuilt and the crank and everything measured to factory specs. I went ahead and had it bored .030 over and I began reassembly.



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Old 11-28-2011, 06:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I finagled the engine onto the stand and started work. I painted the block with OER's Pontiac metallic blue after priming with engine primer. Block turned out beautifully although it still has not been started so I can't speak about its durability.







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Old 11-28-2011, 06:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Engine went together pretty quick because I thought the car would be ready for paint in a couple of weeks...haha
That was last year.









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Old 11-28-2011, 06:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I did the best I could on getting the colors right, with my limited resources. I got the fancy graph-tite oil pan seal and assembled everything to the best of my knowledge. I have never built a Pontiac 400 before and it would have been nice to have some expertise. Most of my experience is from building motorcycles over the years... a couple of notable differences although the theory remains the same.








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