Hello, I am new to this forum and thought I'd introduce myself. I have been a Pontiac guy ever since I could remember. I grew up in the late 80's while hot rodding various Pontiac powered incarnations. Back then it was pretty easy to find good factory performance parts in the local salvage yards and assemble something for Saturday night drags.
In 1988 my brother wanted a Pontiac for his own so he purchased a 1968 GTO convertible project that needed some work. We paid $800 for the car and took it home. It was mostly complete but needed a new top, paint job and some engine and mechanical work. So, I rebuilt the engine and drive train for him....(as well as brakes, suspension, steering etc) and he finished the rest as his budget would allow. He was 19 at the time.
Fast forward 15 years later, we both are married with children and living the life.
Unfortunately the car wasn't holding up nearly as well and was showing it's age. The heater core leaked and rusted out the floor pan, the rear quarter panel had collision damage and the interior was falling apart. By that time we both lived in different cities so I wasn't around to help him work on the car and since he isn't mechanically inclined, he hired a shop to restore the car for him. That was about 12 years ago.
Every time I would see my brother, I would ask him about the car and he has always been nonchalant about it. "Oh, it's coming along okay....I need to call the shop and check on the status." It really baffled me how he could leave it there for that long....so much so that I wondered if he actually still owned the car. Maybe he sold it and just didn't know how to tell me. So, I let it slide and quit bugging him about it.
Then this past year I restored my father-in-law's 1961 Bel Air bubbletop 348 car. He is the original owner and the car was in bad shape. My family helped me and we did a frame off restoration and it came out beautiful. It was a 12 month project and we finished it this past March. Our dad was super excited to have the car back again and it's won several awards at local car shows.
My brother happened to stop by one of the recent car shows and saw how well the '61 came out. At that time he said he really wanted to get his car finished. I asked him if he still had the car and he said it was still at the restoration shop but he hadn't seen it in 2 years-ish. Last he checked, the guy hurt his back and was in the hospital and hasn't been able to work on the car. So, I suggested (very strongly) that we pick up the car immediately and I'll see what it will take to get it finished. We went to his shop and he wasn't there....neither was the car. The person that answered the door said the restoration guy lost his lease and the landlord threw his stuff (cars and parts) out in the street. A good Samaritan neighbor collected the items and stored it in his yard until the guy got better.
So, we went across the street but the gate was locked. We found a way to look over the fence and there was a yard full of cars....one of them looked vaguely like my brother's car. The body was separated from the chassis and mounted upside down on a home made rotisserie. My brother was able to locate the guy via cell phone and he explained that his health prohibited him from working on cars and agreed to let us pick it up. That was a sad day. The guy attempted to replace floor pans and the workmanship was fairly rough. To make matters worse, the chassis was left out in the elements and all the detail work from years before was ruined. It's going to have to be completely tore down and refinished.
The doors, fenders, hood, air cleaner, etc were nowhere to be found. The owner of the yard said he moved them over to his other property so we drove about 5 miles to find the rest of our parts. We found the doors and fenders. The hood was buried in the corner. The Ram Air pan was laying out on a pile of Thunderbird parts and the hood baffle was resting against the fence. We didn't find the inner fenders or core support but we did find a couple of boxes of misc parts such as master cylinder, steering box, window regulators, latches etc.
It's depressing just to talk about it. My brother was depressed as well. So much so that he didn't want to spend any more time and money on the car and asked me if I wanted to buy the car or part it out and split the revenue. So, for those of you that have read the story this far....here is where it starts to get better....
So, a project car is like a puppy to me....I have to bring it home. Especially when it's a GTO. So, I loaded it up in the trailer and agreed to his price and brought the car home. I was seriously thinking of parting out the car but my wife wanted to research it first so I agreed to let her send out for the PHS heritage information. Meanwhile, I started inspecting the car to assess it's situation. I remembered the car had a 4 pinion axle carrier with 4:33 rear gears. The transmission was a close ratio but I wasn't sure if it was an M21 or M22. Turns out it's the M22. The engine was not original to the car...I knew that from the WZ block code and 670 heads but the engine turns over and has good compression so I might be able to revive it. The Ram Air pan and hood baffle had light surface rust but cleaned up well.
The floor pans are rough looking and I had to modify the rear foot wells to get the body mounted back on the frame. However, there is no rust to be found anywhere. I checked the obvious spots....rockers, lower quarters, trunk and all have solid sheet metal in place. The floor braces are solid as well....so all the car really needs is new one piece floor pan and repair to LH quarter panel (collision damage).
Today we get our paperwork from PHS. Apparently Ram Air cars are fairly rare for '68. You guys probably knew this already but I had no idea. So, my wife is not allowing me to part out the car (which I really didn't want to do anyway). I explained to her that we don't have the original engine but she still wants me to restore the car anyway. I'll probably have to sell one of my other cars to generate the funds but I think it will be worth it. I have a few more months before my '55 Bel Air is finished so I'll start on this car sometime this fall.
Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to find a WY block and RAII heads....(yeah right...)
The factory color is Verdoro Green. Black top, Black interior. Build sheet says it had a Stereo Tape Player....blah, blah, blah...Bench Seat. Has anyone seen a 68 GTO with a bench seat? It had buckets when my brother had it....
The car has the front disk brake option.
Also has a hood tach but I don't see that on the build sheet. Is that included in the "Rally Gauge Cluster & Clock" option? Box 48 option 4. I wonder if the hood tack was added later by one of the previous owners. The car was painted a creme color so of course I'll put it back to the original spec. I'll pretty much restore it to as near original as possible. I'll use the WZ engine and 670 heads until I can find the correct type. If it turns out to be an impossible to find part, then I'll just drive the car around with the wrong engine.
Won't bother me all that much when the pedal is mashed to the floor.
Now I am going to read some of the excellent threads on '68 restorations that I see in the sticky section. I hope you guys can help me out when I have technical questions. Should be fun.