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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a '68 GTO from a guy who bought it from the original owner just to flip it and i'm told that makes it a 3 owner car, which doesn't seem quite right to me, but anywho, i just met with the original owner who just found his paperwork and protect o plate when he bought the car. He has said that the car is an unmodified original, except one lower quarter replaced back in the '90's, and a period correct AM/FM radio installed. I thought i'd read, or dreamed somewhere that a protect o plate is the absolute ONLY way to tie the drive train together as original to a car, and not just period correct. And that PHS documentation doesn't prove it. I've researched online and don't find the definitive answer. So, does the POP do the job? Hotrod.com has a decoding series, but even they weren't sure that the code next in line after the engine code was related to the transmission or not. And certainly there doesn't appear to be anything codelike for a rear end. I searched the forums and the latest posts i saw were 3 years ago, and apparently some of the online info available now wasn't available then as far as decoding. Can anyone weigh in on the POP? Thanks.
 

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The POP will have the engine assembly number on it, but that doesn't prove the block or components are original. Carbs, distributors, intakes, transmissions, rearends, blocks, and cyl heads were often swapped out in the '70's. I can remember '71 casting 96's being a very popular D port head to swap on '67-70 GTO's and Firebirds when I was barely old enough to drive.

As collectible Pontiacs were found and restored over the last 30 years, many cars regained "correct date window" correct casting parts. Have had a lot of big valve high compression Pontiac heads go through my hands since the late '80's and most were bought or traded for to replace missing or cracked or heavily rusted original dated heads, not to go on local race cars or for upping compression ratio on 71+ lowr compression Pontiacs. That said, an original POP and truly original paperwork handed to you by the original owner, are as good as it gets. I would be aware that POP's were imprinted at the original dealership, and over the years, several of us have ran across numerous individuals that had certain year blank POP's and even a few had POP imprinters, and yes a few were using them to make new POP's. With the right type set, even correct dealer addressed POP's can be reproduced, and such occurences have been very well known in the BBC Chevelle, Camaro, and Vette hobby for decades.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your input. So the bottom line then is that all GTO's should be assumed to never have the original drive train as it can not be proven, correct? As far as bogus POP's, i am convinced mine is authentic, as well as all the other documents in the name of the first owner, including his trade in and loan papers. It is disheartening to know that "as good as it gets" is really of no consequence in the end. I guess the POP tie in was a dream! Thanks again.
 

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Depending on when your car was built it may have the last portion of the VIN stamped on the block. Look here for more details... Classical Pontiac Numbers

Don't get to down, I'm betting the original owner isn't lying, why would he? Also the "flipper" isn't going to spend $ on it to flip it so i'd start looking at casting numbers and tags (like on the trans) and doucment what you have. I'd get the PHS documents to see what it had when it was born and go from there. If you are a purist and have some fun money you can always get the period correct parts and restore it back as it came off the line. That's what I'm in the process of doing for my car.

Post pics!!

Welcome to the club!!

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Dan, and Pinion. After my whining and doing a bit more research that i should have gone a bit more deeply into before my post, i do know at this point that the block #'s do match the last 6 of the VIN. A mirror and flashlight were very helpful so i didn't have to crawl underneath the car. And apparently this stamping started in '68, and supposedly those #'s are stamped somewhere on the transmission as well. Haven't gotten that far yet. Undoubtedly having all the original documents and protect o plate is a great thing as Pinion stated, and i'm more that tickled to have them, and to still be able to be in touch with the original owner. But i guess i was wrongly under the impression that the POP was the end all of proving "numbers matching". Live and learn. I'll get some pics on before long. A basic rundown.....400, 4 speed, pwr steering, manual brakes, no A/C, 355 saf t trac rear end, 14" rally wheels, hideaway headlights, idiot lights and clock. F/R fader for radio. Came with the stock AM only, but the owner replaced it with a mono AM/FM (which is out being rebuilt). Vinyl top and one repaint of the original color. Thanks again for the responses! Steve
 

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Protect-o-Plate adds "value" to the car. Some data on it...

Pontiac Ident-O Plate & Protect-O Plate History Programs - Specific Codes - High Performance Pontiac Magazine

Pontiac Identification Plates - Ident-O-Plate And Protect-O-Plate Program History - High Performance Pontiac Magazine

Thanks Dan, and Pinion. After my whining and doing a bit more research that i should have gone a bit more deeply into before my post, i do know at this point that the block #'s do match the last 6 of the VIN. A mirror and flashlight were very helpful so i didn't have to crawl underneath the car. And apparently this stamping started in '68, and supposedly those #'s are stamped somewhere on the transmission as well. Haven't gotten that far yet. Undoubtedly having all the original documents and protect o plate is a great thing as Pinion stated, and i'm more that tickled to have them, and to still be able to be in touch with the original owner. But i guess i was wrongly under the impression that the POP was the end all of proving "numbers matching". Live and learn. I'll get some pics on before long. A basic rundown.....400, 4 speed, pwr steering, manual brakes, no A/C, 355 saf t trac rear end, 14" rally wheels, hideaway headlights, idiot lights and clock. F/R fader for radio. Came with the stock AM only, but the owner replaced it with a mono AM/FM (which is out being rebuilt). Vinyl top and one repaint of the original color. Thanks again for the responses! Steve
 

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I respectfully disagree with pinionhead on this issue, at least with '67 and back POP's. The POP has the "EUN" or Engine Unit Number, as well as the VIN number.....on the same page. So it does definitely prove if the original block is in the car. Not a shadow of a doubt.
 

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early POP's have been reproduced off of original POP imprinters, has been done on original blank POP's. VIN, assembly numbers, original dealer, original owner have both been imprinted on them.

As we all know, '67 PHS will often have a copy of the IBM card with complete or depending on plant, partial engine assembly number and Id bet you would probably be shocked how many stampers are out there. Unless one knows what to look out for, and know the stamping fonts to a T, can guarantee even a 35 year technically savvy GTO owner can be fooled.
 
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