My One Owner 1968 GTO - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-06-2014, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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My One Owner 1968 GTO

I've lurked around for a while, and made a few posts, but I've never introduced myself or the car properly. Thought I'd make a "build" thread so I can what all happens with the car as I do it.

My name is Shane and I live in Bristol, TN. My dad ordered this car from the factory, through Crabtree Pontiac in Bristol, VA in March of 1968. He took his only week of vacation from the bakery where he worked to pick the car up in June. The delivery truck broke down and he had to go back to work on Monday. Low and behold, the dealer called that morning, and my mom had to drive their 1963 Corvair trade in to the dealership and pick up the Goat. The car has been titled in my parent's names ever since.

This is the car that brought me home from the hospital when I was born, and it is the first car I have any real memories of riding in. It has lived its whole life in a garage. It is 100% original. It still has the factory paint, the factory interior, the factory Rally II wheels and beauty rings. The original AM radio and dash speaker are still in it, and still work just fine. We know where every dent, ding, scratch, and rust hole came from. We know every bit of maintenance that has ever been done to it, most of which was done by either my dad, his cousin, my brother, or myself.

The car was parked in the garage from 1980 until 1994, because my mom wanted something smaller and more economical with an automatic transmission and power brakes. That came in the form of a 1980 Chevy Citation (which still had no AC, and only had a AM radio in it...LOL), which ended up being my first car.

While parked, one of the cylinders of the 400 locked up. My dad and his cousin tore it down, honed the cylinders, and re-ringed it. They also put new bearings and a new factory cam in it. I don't know the reason for the cam, but I still have the original one. He topped it off with a reman'd factory Quadrajet 4bbl. Unfortunately, he turned in the original carb for the core. As far as I know, that is the only major original part that I do not have.

Since the rebuild in 1994, it has only had about 8000 miles put on it, and that was mostly by me. The total miles on the car is about 120,000. I had the brakes gone through this spring, and had new shoes put on all 4 corners, new drums up front, replaced all the wheel cylinders and the master cylinder (shop used a non-factory item - that will be replaced), both u-joints, and the rear differential input seal. She is in outstanding mechanical shape.

There are various problems on the body. It has some rust holes in the quarters. The endura bumper has scuffs and a very faint "D" imprint from a little old lady that backed her DeSoto into my mom in a grocery store parking lot. It has the infamous hood bend from some kid working at a gas station in Florida that didn't know to rock the hood when closing. That happened on the very first trip they took in the car in 1969. It also has some pretty serious scratches on the right front fender, and some pretty good dents all around it.

Dad and I were going to send it to the paint and body shop last fall and let them have it all winter. We had the estimates and had a shop picked out, but then dad got real sick. He is in home hospice care now and fading fast, so the restoration was put on the very back burner. I've talked to numerous people about the restoration, and a few say to do it. Most, though, say "it's only original once," and to leave it alone. I think I like that option the best, at least for now.

I am going to wash it, and hit it with some rubbing compound, polishing compound, and then wax to protect the paint as good as I can. I am also going to try to heat up the metal around the dents and see if that will draw them out. If anyone knows how to prevent the rust holes from growing (aside from keeping it garaged - that's a given), I'm all ears. Also, where is the best place for a small amount of touch up paint that is a good match to the aged Verdoro Green? I will try to post some pics of the actual damaged spots soon, and I'll try to update this thread with anything that I do to it. This car is kind of like a child to me, so if I make you guys sick talking about it, or posting pics of it, let me know so I can totally disregard your disgust

Here are some current pics:

With my favorite hood ornament, sitting at the dealership the car was ordered from 45 years ago

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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-06-2014, 09:31 AM
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Amazing story and a stunningly beautiful GTO you have there. I would consider just fixing the bad spots and blending them in. I wouldn't let just any ol' body shop do the work either. Find a shop that specializes in restorations not collision work.

Also, my best wishes go out to your dad. What a special guy to keep that car all these years in as good of shape as it is in and to instill in you a sense of pride in carrying on preserving this part of your family history.

Thanks for sharing.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-06-2014, 03:46 PM
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Wow! What a story and so sorry to hear about your Dad -that's a tough one. He has left you something behind to go with the memories of him that can be cherished in your life time each time you peer over at that '68, let alone drive it. Precious, and nothing you can ever put a value on.

I too am on the band wagon of NOT restoring the car, but simply preserving what is original. You very seldom see a GTO, let alone many of the older muscle cars, which have not been repainted, restored, or modified. Try to keep the body/paint, interior as original as possible if practical, replace/rebuild to preserve where and when needed. If the car was in poorer shape, then I'd say go for it and redo it, but it appears so clean and original in your photos.

I love the 4-speed stick and no console! I have not seen many like this as most GTO's seemed to have the console. Could you post a good photo of that with your photos? That's the look I am going with on my '68 Lemans resto-mod - no console, just the boot and shifter which to me looks more business like and ready to take on those would-be challengers.

Awesome car. Awesome history.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-07-2014, 08:51 AM
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Thanks for the story, and welcome "out of the shadows".

Add my vote to the "original" column. You might consider this product for treating whatever rust is already there. I've used it, it works, and I like it.

Eastwood Rust Converter | Rust Converters | Auto Rust Converter

You can brush it, spray it - whatever method you like best.


Springtown, TEXAS
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-09-2014, 02:57 PM
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Yours is a wonderful story except for your dad. Sounds like someone I would have liked to know. I lost my dad a few years ago and it was hard. My best wishes go out to you and your family. Add my vote for keeping it as original as possible. Do only enough to make it safe and run good. As as already been said "they are only original once". There are many restored GTO's around and very few one owner originals. My 68 was ordered without a console and I liked the 4-speed and no console look, but I put new carpet in it this past winter and went ahead and put a new reproduction console kit which was better made than I expected, it actually looks good I think. Good luck, Mike
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-09-2014, 07:09 PM
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welcome. great story, sorry bout your dad. he will be watching you keep the goat going. There are some great and extremely knowledgeable guys on this forum that are always eager to help.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 12:25 PM
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Great story, and sorry to hear about your dad. If it were me, I'd keep the car original as a family tribute. What Bear said about the rust. It can be neutralized/mitigated. You can also have some factory laquer paint mixed in spray cans for touch up and blending. It's about $20 per can. It's perfectly ok for a 46 year old car to have some bumps and's a sign of a life well lived, and a car that's driven. Also, a survivor car will always generate more interest at shows and in the parking lot than a restored one. It is a true reflection of what actually was, back in the day. Congrats!
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2014, 07:20 AM
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Sorry to hear about your father. Nice car. And a beautiful color I might add... right Nightshade? Matt

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2014, 07:37 AM
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This is a great story and I am all for keeping the car as original as possible. Do try the eastwood rust converter on the rusty bits. Great ordered car too, dig that four speed and hide-a-ways; however, I must point out, I have on good information, your dad told the dealer he wanted that awesome V-code green paint...which the dealer mistakenly thought he meant Vedoro just saying.....
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2014, 09:16 AM
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The one thing I would do right away is refinish the backs of the front bucket seats. The interior would look a lot fresher, and would still be original enough. Also, Verdero AND Nightshade green are great colors on these cars, no matter what anybody says. But the BEST color for a '68 is, of course, Flambeau Burgundy!
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