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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I had the heads and factory manifolds planed due to a nagging exhaust leak that has been present since I purchased the car. Paint on the manifolds is ceramic 2000 degree VHT primer with the same for a top coat. I am really hoping the paint will hold up for a while... Machine work was done at Car City machine in Pensacola FL. I can't tell you how the work was yet since the engine has not been started but they were friendly and helpful all along the way.


 

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Looks like a good solid start, HO's are hard to come by. I like the "motivator" painted on the side. I wrote a note to my GTO a couple of years ago that read "You will not be denied". After 28 years of ownership, I finally took it to be restored last December, knowing that I would never finish it if I started it. Just got it back before Thanksgiving.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Meanwhile, the body is being hacked up by Roots Real Rods in Gulf Breeze. I am a decent welder but I did not want to hone my skills on the body. Both quarter panels had putty and fiberglass over the wheel wells.

The right hand side had a tire blow out that trashed the lower rear of the wheel house.


 

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Discussion Starter #14
Looks like a good solid start, HO's are hard to come by. I like the "motivator" painted on the side. I wrote a note to my GTO a couple of years ago that read "You will not be denied". After 28 years of ownership, I finally took it to be restored last December, knowing that I would never finish it if I started it. Just got it back before Thanksgiving.
I just caught up on your thread (only joined last week) Looking great!
I was going to ask you, where are your starter wires run? do they run down behind the alternator and then with the battery cable? If anybody has any pics of the routing from the front of the engine harness down to the starter on an HO style setup it would be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I had to remove the convertible top so no slag would F*&% it up during welding.

You can imagine my horror when I saw the car in green primer...





Hood has a depression about an inch deep and also appeared to have collapsed during a hood hinge issue. Repair work was as shotty as the rest of the body work on the car. Still havent decided if I want to spend 8 hours with a torch trying to beat it out...
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
You can see how much of the inner wheel house had to be replaced. You would not believe the amount of fiberglass that we pulled out of this thing...



 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
So, somewhere around this point I forgot the car even existed because work stopped... A bunch of high rollers came into the shop with cars they had salvaged from lakes. In the best interest of my dollars I told the shop to put me aside. So I bought a new bike so I would have an interim project

 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Engine work has been kicked into high gear to be ready for next weeks installation. I foolishly planned to stab the motor and tranny and have it running over the weekend.



 
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