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Back in the day I had a 69 GTO in high school. I loved that car but sold it when I went into the military. Jump forward to 3 years ago; I retired and starting searching to replace my dream car. I found a unicorn in Meeker, Oklahoma. It is a 68 GTO and I am now the forth owner. The second owner had the car since the late 70s. He was a car guy with several cars and didn't spend much time with it. The car ended up being stored in a shop/barn for several years. His daughter inherited it and others but never had much interest until she married and her husband decided to get it running again. After a few set backs from age related storing they gave up and decided to sell. That's when I came along.

I got the car home and started nursing it back to health. I was awestruck to find the vin number stamped on the block... wow this is a numbers matching car. I checked the Muncie and it too had the correct casting codes/dates. The open diff is also correct. After further checking the only non original and missing item I could see was the distributor. Bottom line the car is a true barn find survivor. It has some really cool options to include hideaway headlights, AC, and rear defroster.

This is my dilemma... I want a classic that I can work on, modify as I see fit and drive hard and fast if I feel the need. I have obtained a few optional parts that could be used, (428 block, MY6 tranny, 8.5 diff with true trac posi). My original plan was to shelf the drive train and modify away but my sons have convinced me there would still be risk of wrecks, weather or theft... Now I feel this car may be more suited to being a concourse restore project for someone who has the appreciation and resources to collect a true piece of history... So what to do??? Do I modify this car to my design or punt and find a purist of Pontiac history?

Let me know what you think... Thanks
 

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A dilemma many of us find ourselves in unfortunately. I'm a original family owner given the car by my mom who bought it new in May 68. I'm now restoring the car and its completely numbers matching. Like you I wanted to update the drum brakes, suspension, and add more options. (the car only had an AM radio, radial tires and remote mirror when new) What I did was to keep it as it was when brought home from the dealer, but with dealer added options added. So it's being built with power steering and a factory AM/FM with rear speaker and not much else.
I think that if you do decide to keep it, add the things you want but yet keep all the numbers matching parts and suspension. If you ever decide to sell they can be available to the new buyer.

And keep in mind, the 68 has many one year only parts. Buy the expensive 69 assembly manual from inline tube (the cheap one is unreadable, 68 assembly manual is not available), with service and Fisher body manuals.

Photo taken early 70s

135197
 

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build it the way you want to ....
it makes our originals worth a little more ....
or sell it and buy a 69 ,,,, youlle be glad you did ...
scott t
 

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Trying to keep any of these old cars original becomes costly, and when its all said and done, you may be upside down on it.

Like others, build it the way you see yourself driving it. Let the next guy rebuild it to stock. Many of the upgrades simply make better sense, and can be safer, and sometimes more cost effective and what other buys look for when you do sell. The interest in a numbers matching, restored back to original condition is fading away as a newer generation wants the upgrades and LS swaps with 5-speeds and overdrive automatics. The low production cars fit the bill better having matching number parts and are restored because it will be the low production number that brings value to the car.

It is easy enough to see the changes taking place when most of your large Pontiac parts suppliers are offering complete crate LS engines, adapter engine and transmission mounts, EFI, tubular A-arm kits, coil-over suspensions, 17" rims, Blue-tooth stereos, etc.. Bringing these cars into the next generation is going to be like what the small block Chevy and Ford did to the flathead. Then with all the extra power came all the chassis mods, AM/FM upgrades, interior upgrades, etc.. Very seldom do you see an original Model A, 1932/1940 Ford Coupe, '41 Willys coupe, '55 Chevy, etc.. Our original Pontiac powered drivelines and chassis are getting smaller and smaller in their numbers as resto-mods and personalization gets applied to them for the next generation to call their own. Muscle cars will slip into the category of "hot rods" and be muscle cars in name only.

So build it your way and don't look back. (y)
 

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I agree to build it the way you want it, but if it were mine I'd go back completely stock. It's hard to find a true matching # car. The way I look at it if someone wants an LS powered car they can find a Lemans or Tempest to clone into a GTO.
 

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I agree to these cars are meant to be enjoyed by driving them,and trust me I owned a number of others 442,ta’s,SS,and mopars but none of them stand up to this GTO I own now in reliability and pure enjoyment Have fun with it and do it the way you want.
 

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I mostly disagree with build-it-your-way on a numbers car. My '68 is completely stock except for disc brakes and a radio, and it drives like an absolute dream. (If I had to start over I'd even have kept the drums, in retrospect they were perfectly adequate.) With cars prior to the '60s you do run into severe questions of whether their performance and safety is appropriate for today's roads, if kept OEM. With this engine, there is zero performance worry, unless you insist on driving it hours on the highway everyday at 80 mph.
 

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My original drive train is safely stored away in the barn. I factory ordered my '67 and kept it. Over the years I've raced and abused it heavily, but somehow the original drive train endured. There was a point in time where it just made sense to remove the original equipment because sooner or later things were going to scatter. Plus all the cool parts available today are far faster than the old stuff. I can bang gears and go to redline every outing with nothing risked except the cost of aftermarket replacement parts. Blow up a generic block and there's always another one waiting to be purchased. Put a rod through the original numbers matching block or scatter an original Muncie and there will be a whole lot of grief. Someday I might finally slow down and be able to return the stock parts to the chassis, but for now it's way too much fun to enjoy it like I did at nineteen.

I could store it away in bubble in the barn, but then I have nothing but an unused artifact - and my luck would be the barn would be hit by lightning and the barn and the car would be history. I see it all the time in the news - cars destroyed by flood, wind storm, fire, even theft. Those people could have been enjoying life in their car instead of putting it up unused on a pedestal.

(Drag car in the Avatar is for abuse on the drag strip and is not my original GTO. Even zealous drivers have to have some boundaries)
 

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Just wanted to add my $0.02 worth. I still have a '68 GTO convertible that I built 20 years ago. It was a well started numbers matching basket case project when I got it. Like everybody I struggled with keeping it stock or making it the way I wanted it. I decided that I wanted to drive it not look at it so I shelved the numbers matching motor and added all the goodies that made it better suited to being a daily driver and it was for a lot of years. Over the years I've enjoyed the car immensely and taken it on numerous road trips. I have a neighbor with a '67 GTO that is all original. A beautiful car that he only takes out on an occasional sunny day. He likes to wash it and talk about how much it's worth more than drive it. I don't get it but it's what he likes so who am I to disagree.
 

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I too have a 68 numbers matching down to the carburetor. I bought it a few months back from the 2nd owner. With just over 66,000 miles. It had major oil and transmission leaks so I planned a rebuild.
I was torn whether to go back all original, However it is a 2bbl and I had an issue with the lack of power. After all GTO’s are know to be strong cars.
Im just getting ready to put the engine and transmission back in after a full rebuild. Ended up going back with a correct 4bbl intake and #16 heads along with some upgraded internal parts. The goal was to try to keep the external engine and engine bay as correct to a 68 GTO although not totally correct to the car. All the original parts not used are stored in the attic if I ever decide to go back to original.
 

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Just for reference. I have a 1967 Cougar, I am on thier forum as well. There is a 1968 427GT-E cougar only three still exist and one on its way to Gas Monkey garage. And that is their right. And its the right of the other two owners to turn them into museam pieces. While dont own museum pieces I do like to go visit them from time to time.My thought is if you have the space keep the numbers matching in the corner. Who knows you may inherit a meseum.
 
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