What's Your GTO Story?... - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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What's Your GTO Story?...

I was asked by ALKYGTO to post some pictures of my garage and some of the muscle cars in it. It didn't seem to make much sense to just post pictures without a little car background. I think everyone on this forum has a great story to tell and I would enjoy reading yours, this is my story: I love all old cars and even some of the newer ones. My job allows me the opportunity to mix my hobby with my work, so I am very fortunate in that respect.

My first car at 15 was a 3 year old 67 GTO 4-speed and I have been driving Pontiacs everyday since. I have by far the most understanding wife on the planet. She has put up with my "hobby" for 32 years and never complained. Back in the day when my collection was smaller and space was a bit tighter, I was the guy that figured out a way to put 3 1/2 cars in a 2 car garage and she still never complained.

For more than 30 years we have gone once or twice per year on what we call a "Road Trip." I buy a car somewhere in the U.S. and we fly-in and drive it home just to see if we can make it back without assistance. Just something I do for fun. Thats one thing really great about old cars, they are so simple that I can always get them to run unless something catastrophic happens like a rod coming out the side of the block. But I have never been stranded for more than a few hours waiting for a parts house to open.

We have driven old cars from every inch of the country including Alaska and back home to Huntington Beach Ca. Before 9-11 I traveled with a tool kit now I just stop into the local Walmart or parts store and pick-up the basic spares we may need, a few tools and hit the road.

Do this long enough and you come pretty close sometimes. We bought a 69 GTO Judge, 700 miles out it started making that unmistakable sound of main bearings knocking - getting louder every mile. The car was completely original, but also completely worn out. Nothing worked on this car, even the driver side window rolled down two inches then snap, it just stayed there the rest of the trip. Out side temp. 105, inside temp really hot. I knew I wouldn't make ten more miles with the knocking getting louder let alone 700.

Determined to not let this Judge be the one that made me call AAA, I stopped at a PepBoys and walked down the isle picking up everything thick that I could put through an engine. My theory was if I could plug the gap in the bearings before I plugged the oil pump pickup tube, maybe I could get home. I made a cocktail that had two cans of STP, 1 can of Valvoline Racing oil and 2 quarts of 90 weight gear oil. I don't know if the Judge liked it or not, but before it could figure it out I was home.

The pictures that you see here are some of the results of 30 years of Road Trips. Every one of them has a Story...

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 04:02 PM
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I've been a fan of most muscle cars since I was a kid. My dad was a Chevy guy and was the resident Corvair expert at a dealership in Peoria, IL before we moved to CA in 1966. I grew up with Corvairs, Corvettes and Mopars through my teen years and had a special affinity for them. Was never a Ford guy for some reason and even today I have a ho hum attitude towards the Mustangs.

When I was in High school, I had a '67 Barracuda with a '71 340 running gear and that thing was a blast. I got my first ticket in a 383, '70 Roadunner and later bought that car. My best friend at the time was into GTOs and had a '69 that we used to tear around in all the time. He just couldn't figure out why he couldn't do neutral drops and expect his transmission to last. I liked the car very much, but the '68 and later cars never did do that much for me (and still don't for some reason). I always thought, if I ever got a Goat, it would have to be a '67 and lo and behold, 4 years ago, this one fell in my lap.

I was working on my '63 SS nova one day in June of '09, when my buddy drove up in this amazingly original, '67 Post Coupe, GTO. I asked, "What in the hell are you driving now?" he answered, "I'm driving your next car!". I said, "Ya know, I think you are!" We made the deal for it that day and it was mine ten months later. He used it as a guide to restore another '67 that he picked up the same day and the car became mine when he was done with the resto.

This car will be fought over by my kids. I'll die with it. Not IN it, hopefully!

When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 04:10 PM
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Wheres the pictures, now that your icon and story has me drooling.

Great story, would love to get a new, old one every year, but i'm afraid my wife does'nt have the same sense of adventure.

K, heres mine, pulled it from my member intro so i did not have to re-type

As a sixteen year old I had eyes on a black on black 66' GTO as my first car, drove buy it every day on the way to school and when it came up for sale i was just short of having the money saved to purchase, after talking with the owner he said he would hold it for two weeks while i scraped and scrounged the extra five hundred over my set budget for my first car (a feat for a 16 year old working at Micky D's), alas after the two weeks, money in hand i went to the home noticing the GTO was no where to be found, the owner answered the door and informed me he got an offer he "could'nt refuse" and had sold it just the day before. my hopes crushed and no other GTO's in my price range.

I ended up purchasing a 69' firebird 350 from a 85 year old lady complete with every dealer maintenance receipt from 69-80 and got years of enjoyment from the car and 4 subsequent other birds i've owned over the years before i "grew up".

Flash forward 30 years and with my youngest heading off to college and plenty of free time on my hands i started dreaming of that goat again, it had always been a bucket list thing to restore one. I began fiddling around on craigslist and realizing that what was a few hundred away for me back then is a few tens of thousands away from me now (for an original GTO in halfway decent shape) i started lowering my expectations and ran into a 1966 Tempest custom in Idaho, having an uncle who is a car enthusiast (porsche's) in Boise 15 minutes away from where the car was i sent him over to check it out and send pics back, assuring me everything was as stated in the add, i began haggling with the owner and purchased the car sight unseen for 2,000, add in 900 cross country shipping and a month later she was sitting in my garage. 124,000 original miles from dec 1965 through 1975, and the original owner had parked it in a car port after purchasing a new car, and there it sat for 35 years.

The car from what i can tell is 99% complete (cannot locate battery tray) and was dealer serviced during its life on the road and Ziebarted shortly after purchased (i will never say what a scam rustproofing is again), all original body is rust free, trunk has original splatter paint with 0 rust, floor pans had slight surface rust from worn out window seals on winward side and of course the vinyl interior was baked, started sand blasting the underside and what we thought was rust turned out to be caked on red clay dust which actually helped preserve the car (rubber grease seals still pliable after 35 years) this thing is like a time capsule. I was planning a GTO clone but when i saw with my own eyes how intact this car is i decided to keep it a Tempest, besides you dont see many of them around and after all they were the basis for every GTO on the road.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry the pictures didn't showup should be fine now. I love reading these stories and there are so many things that we all have in common as you read them. Thats the great thing about the car hobby some guys have had cars in their lives forever and some guys just bought their classic car yesterday but all are welcome and share the same love of cars. Men and women alike.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 06:20 PM
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My life has always revolved around old cars. As long as I can remember I've been in love with them. My first car that I ever drove to school was a 1958 Buick Special... I can still remember being blinded by all of that chrome!! But when we moved further away I couldn't afford the gas for the 364 Nailhead-powered lead sled. So my dad sold her.....

Years went by without that vintage car smell to make me feel at ease... although I did manage to have quite a bit of fun in a 2001 Ford Police Interceptor, until the spotlight burnt out. Probly for the best. It was only a matter of time before I got arrested...

I had been bugging my dad about restoring an old car since he got rid of the Buick when I was 17, and one day he brought home a 67 Camaro rust bucket with a solid running 400 small block. The project was unfortunately too far gone for a punk kid like me with minimal mechanical know-how, so we turned it for a nice profit.

Now that I was in college I had managed to save up some money and I bought a 1981 Z28 Camaro that was being built for drag racing... and it had scary amounts of power. I had started sanding on it to repaint it and was making good headway when I found out I was accepted to do a semester in New Zealand. Turned out to be the best trip of my life, and a great experience overall. However, I had returned to find my dad's garage to be absent of any evidence that an 81 Z28 had ever even been there... aside from the oil and transmission leak stains of course. Turns out he sold it while I was gone. Can't say I blamed him.

So after the trip to New Zealand I had zero funds to start another project, or even get a driveable mediocre muscle car. It took a few months to make peace with the fact that I would probably be in my mid-30's by the time I ever had a reputable piece of Detroit Iron to drive again. Then my dad did the last thing I ever expected him to do.

It was the August before my Senior year at Purdue and I was school shopping with my best friend Sarah when my dad called.
"when are you gonna be home?"
"I don't know... 20 minutes? Why?"
"Well we have to go to dinner with some friends and we have the license plate for your truck to put on."
"Ok, just leave it on the table and I'll take care of it when I get home."
"That's alright, we will wait til you get back."

I immediately don't know what his deal is. I've worked as a mechanic in his shop ever since I graduated high school. Why would I need help putting a new license plate on my truck?? Whatever. I start heading home. When I'm 3 minutes away my phone rings again.

"Are you almost here?"
"Yeah, just around the corner. Why?"
"Well we are gonna be late for dinner."
"THEN GO TO DINNER!! I can handle two screws and a damn license plate!"
"That's alright. You'll be here soon."

What the hell?! Does he think I'm too incompetent to put a damn license plate on my truck?? Who does he think he is?!

So I walk in the door and he says we need to go to the garage to get my license plate. By now I'm just flat out mad. They could have been on time to dinner and enjoying themselves if he trusted me enough to change out my license plate. But whatever. Let's get this over with.

I'm standing at the garage, arms folded, shaking my head in frustration. He hits the opener button and I'm angrily watching the door come up....

As the door rises I find myself staring at a gnarly set of split grills and three beautiful letters staring right back at me... G-T-O

I don't really remember what I did or said after that point, but my parents said my reaction was quite comical and ecstatic. My friend Sarah might have been just as exited as I was. When I asked him why he bought it and when he was ever gonna have time to drive it, he tossed me the keys with a big smile on his face. Apparently I lost my mind all over again. Like I said I was a little too blown away and don't remember the details.

I immediately jumped in, relishing the solid sound of the door shutting behind me and taking in the beautiful smell of 40 years of gas, oil, vinyl, and burnt rubber. I turned the key and the beastly Pontiac 400 rumbled to life. I couldn't believe it... my own 1970 Pontiac GTO... and it actually runs and drives!!!

Once my parents left for dinner I took my friend Sarah with me on the maiden voyage... Ritters Frozen Custard. If there was a Top Notch anywhere within a 100-mile radius we would have went there just for the nostalgia but there isn't. I couldn't stop smiling the whole time. The rumble of the exhaust, the thumbs up as I drove down the road, even the body roll made me smile.

She's been my daily driver during the warmer 9 months of the year up until 10 months ago when I couldn't stand it any longer and had to start a restoration. She currently sits in my garage, the body on a set of furniture dollies, the frame on a set of jack stands with a fresh coat of rustoleum semi-gloss black. If I'm lucky I will have her on the road again in time to drive before winter sets back in again.

Driving and working on this car has completely taken over my life. Every dollar I can spare and every weekend I have available goes into the car. It's tough balancing graduate school with a restoration, but I make due as best I can. Im sure once it's finished things won't change much. I don't think I could ever repay my dad for this. He thinks I'm an idiot for tearing it apart, but I think he's actually proud of me for tackling such a project.
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"You Gotta Have Fun When You're Little!!"
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Orion88 what a great story hope you update with pictures as your GTO comes back to life. Thanks for sharing
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-15-2014, 10:54 AM
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As a child born in the mid seventies, I guess it was films like Smokey and the Bandit, shows like Dukes Of Hazzard that got me into cars. I have always wanted either a Trans Am or a GTO. As I ventured to more and more car shows, I really fell in love with the 68 GTO. 1968 was a critical year for my family, so I swore that would be the year to get, now to find the car.

It took ten long years of searching throughout high school, college, law school, and finally on the very day I was admitted to the NY bar I found my project. It is a 68 I located in a barn in Schoharie County NY. The owner was a WWII veteran who had Pontiac parts hanging from the rafters like slabs of steel beef.

Upon running PHS I learned the car was everything I could have hoped for: HO 4 speed car, hideaways, console 3:55 posi rear, electric antennae, and dog dish rims in nightshade green, a color I still to this day have not seen in person. After years of collecting parts, My interior is 80% restored, Chassis restored, house electric upgraded to 200 amp service, now to run 220 to garage for the welder and air compressor. All I have left is the body, brightwork and engine. Once I figure out how to post pics (ie. find my old photobucket account, I'll post as found pictures.

Thanks for reading my long winded story.

Last edited by Nightshade 68 HO; 03-15-2014 at 11:01 AM. Reason: add pictures
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-15-2014, 12:33 PM
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interesting color don't think i have ever seen one either, should look sharp.

Nightshade Green 1968 GTO Hardtop - Ultimate Pontiac GTO Dream Car

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-15-2014, 03:24 PM
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Very interesting color.

Sort of like a green version of Blue Charcoal, if that makes any sense.

Pontiac had lots of cool colors back in the day. Not like you see any more. All the new cars are white, grey or black.

SCG I'm just drooling over not only the spectacular muscle car collection you have but the signage is incredible. Of course I'm partial to the Pontiac signs......
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-15-2014, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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What a cool find and great color, you won't have to worry about parking next to another one at the show.

Thanks ALKYGTO... been collecting along time and Pontiac signs are my favorite too. Pontiac made some very cool advertising and I love to find signs that I have never seen.
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