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I recently sold my 2005 GTO. It was a sad day ? , BUT I am planning to use that money to start a resto mod project. I need some help from the group to figure out the best way to get started.

I am in the planning stages and welcome any advice or experience from you guys.

Here is the end goal I would like. I'm sure it will take me a few years to finish, but if you know my end goal it will probably be easier for you guys to help.

I would like to do 69 or similar bodied GTO. It could be a clone. If a kit car existed I would even do that. Plan to put a crate LS3 in it. I don't care about anything being original or numbers matching. I just want it to ride and look nice. I know it won't be worth as much in the long run, but this is just for my enjoyment.

So... Question 1 - what's the best way to get a starter car?

Question 2 - what else do I need to know before starting.
 

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First, create a nice nest egg of cash to complete the project from start to finish which depends on what you can do yourself and what you will have to pay others to do the work. I'd tuck away about $30,000-$40,000 to include the car's purchase price.

Then write down a list of parts you will need, or what the car will need, to accomplish your goal. Put a realistic price on these parts to give you an idea of the costs in parts & labor. Break it down into front suspension, rear suspension,engine, trans, body, & interior.

Hate that you are considering the LS swap when the Pontiac engine has so much potential and is what should be kept. Why not go tech on the Pontiac engine? How about turbo's on a Pontiac engine? That would be different & cool and blow away the LS engine.

But, its your call. Just have a big wad of cash to back your vision.
 

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As usual, Jim has provided great advice. You might want to consider doing a LeMans rather than a GTO as the GTO's are more rare. Also GTO "clones" that were formerly LeMans or Tempests. Exception would be "cheap" GTO's that need alot of work and cost under 10K. Some for sale may already have the LS engine swap.

Sources would be local Craigs List, the For Sale part of this forum and the For Sale part of the PY Forum ( http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=418 ). I actually found my GTO locally but the ad was on: https://classics.autotrader.com/

You could also join the GTOAA as their club has dozens of ads for GTO/LeMans. GTO Association of America

Luck!!

(I understand the LS engine thing as you had one in your '05 GTO and are familiar with it. And there are several members here who have LS engines in their '64-'72 GTO/LeMans.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Awesome advice everyone! I knew this would be a great place to help me get started.

Let's divide this into topic sections to help organize.

1. Budget
I was planning for about $30,000. i'm around half way there. I have a pretty high paying job. So, i'm not real worried about getting the rest. I also realize that i will probably end up spending more than that since there will be a few parts of this that are a "Learning Experience". I LOVE the idea of dividing the budget like that. I may work on an excel sheet to help me get started. If I do I will certainly post it here to help others in the future. It sounds like I may need to find the right car before I can really get that budget set, but I can probably get a good idea beforehand.

2. Engine
I really like the idea of just putting newer tech on a Pontiac engine. I think it comes down to what car I decide to go with. If i find a LeMans or Tempist with a low end engine (or none at all!) I will do the LS swap, But if i can find one with 400 or 455 I would not change that out. It seams almost disrespectful to :p

3. Picking a car
Are there any big disadvantages to starting with the LeMans or Tempist? The other Idea I toyed with was waiting for the new Supra to come out and getting one of those, but that would cost more like $60,000-$70,000 and I wouldn't get all the experience from building one for myself. Although, I could at least get a loan for one of those. I guess if I were going to do that I could just purchase a rebuilt 69 GTO. what do you guys think about htis as a starter car? https://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/cto/6043075388.html I originally discounted it because it was an automatic, but maybe that would be easier to change in the long run.
 

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About an $8-10K car, due in part to the engine which I assume has had a professional build with receipts as that combo is a high revving engine requiring all the best forged parts/pieces. 13 to 1 compression? Don't know how that was figured, but not streetable, that's drag racing only as you won't be able to run pump gas in it. 3500 RPM stall converter? Again,race only, not streetable.

I see AC which has been pulled off. Rough interior and loose wires is not a good thing. Body appears to be good from the few pics of it. You would have to check in-person and look for all the areas know to rot out and evaluate from there on the body. But, if you go rest-mod and originality is not the focus, you can work with the car.

You could de-tune the engine with a rebuild, but that is an expense. Torque converter is easy enough to change out, but to swap to a 4/5-speed is an expense based on transmission choice/cost.

Want to make sure it has a Vin number and title/registration (I know some states only used Bill of Sale on older cars) as some do turn those which don't have these into race cars and then you can't get it legal again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
About an $8-10K car, due in part to the engine which I assume has had a professional build with receipts as that combo is a high revving engine requiring all the best forged parts/pieces. 13 to 1 compression? Don't know how that was figured, but not streetable, that's drag racing only as you won't be able to run pump gas in it. 3500 RPM stall converter? Again,race only, not streetable.

I see AC which has been pulled off. Rough interior and loose wires is not a good thing. Body appears to be good from the few pics of it. You would have to check in-person and look for all the areas know to rot out and evaluate from there on the body. But, if you go rest-mod and originality is not the focus, you can work with the car.

You could de-tune the engine with a rebuild, but that is an expense. Torque converter is easy enough to change out, but to swap to a 4/5-speed is an expense based on transmission choice/cost.

Want to make sure it has a Vin number and title/registration (I know some states only used Bill of Sale on older cars) as some do turn those which don't have these into race cars and then you can't get it legal again.
Thanks for that info, That was really the only choice I had close to me. I cannot find many of these cars that are manuals. Does everyone put Autos in these cars? Is it dumb for me to go for the stick?
 

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Okay, Last one of these i'm posting then I'm going to stop looking for cars today.

https://classics.autotrader.com/classic-cars/1968/pontiac/gto/100792907

It's more expensive, but a lot smaller project for me to start with. I can keep the current 400 in it, but do some updates later. May be a better way to get started in the long run.
Unless under all the mess, that '68's a real RAII GTO hardtop, the car in those pics is waaaay overpriced. Beware of quickee "body on" repaints ESP ones with pics out of filthy home garages. Where are the pics of the original metal under all the primer & quicker shot paint? There should be multiple dozens of pictures of what the body looked like. In my region, many absolute garbage field cars, cars that those of us that have dragged in multiple hundreds of parts & project cars have purposed passed up, many of those terds have been dragged in by turn & burn artists pressure washed at the car wash, taped off, the window trim not even removed, & shot with single stage. Then these same terds have been put on eBay or in the traders as solid "survivor" project cars.

Newsflash, anything that hasn't been crushed, ground up, & melted down & made into rebar, is a survivor! Don't buy into the hucksters or those that use such terms & feed such BS! Take your time, research what you're looking at, figure out the bodystyle's trouble spots, & what will cost a small fortune to replace.

There are some 45-55 year old Pontiac A body's that one can "streetrod build" 'em, not get carried away, & not end up with 3-4 times in them with what they're worth. Waaay more than what any halfway reasonable person would pay for them when priorities change. Priorities do change, have bought quite a few project cars over the years from just such occurences. There are also the Pontiacs from the same muscle era time range, that can really be screwed up "building 'em the way you want 'em". Some such cars, any mods need to be easily reversible. The one thing that buoys muscle era Pontiac prestige & pricing over nearly all other GM makes from the same era, is one can order up a copy of the original invoice for nearly every '62-81 model Pontiac. Early on years, there are a few tiny gaps in the micro fish copies of the invoice histories, but if the car was anything halfway special, it can typically be documented through PHS or George Z with GM of Canada. Not so in the states with Olds, most Chevys, & only a narrow range of GS's can one get a copy of the factory invoice. Hope this helps.
 

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For inspiration, you may want to check out this link:

Pro Touring Pontiacs check in - PY Online Forums

Pinion head is one of the most knowledgeable members on this (and other) forum. He has access to obscure Pontiac info that he has acquired over decades as well as a multitude of parts. Jim is another who has his knowledge based on years of experience with Pontiacs (and other makes). Good advice here.
 

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X2 with PH, and agree it is way overpriced.

That is not a 25K car, probably 125K. The older cars do not have the extra odometer digit like newer model cars to tell you that it has already clocked over 100,000 miles. I see many ads that claim this of their car when the mileage is much higher. It is also very easy to buy another speedo off Ebay with lesser miles, have a shop clock the numbers for you, or even hook up an electric drill to the end of the speedo cable at the trans and spin it in reverse to back down the miles - don't think this isn't done.

Look at all the gauges put into the dash. Gas gauge inserted in the left dash pod, 3 gauges where the radio goes, aftermarket tach in the right pod, no headlight push-pull switch on the lower left (open hole), small light (?) above the left turn signal, and.........what appears to be an incorrect 140 MPH speedometer. Looks like the remains of a Grant steering wheel and it may not have originally had the 4-speed as most had the center console and the is definitely and aftermarket shifter boot and shift knob.

A fair price, after I received my PHS documents to verify how much of the car is still original and how much of it has been changed, might be 6-8K and hope for the best, but I would be all over it looking for rust & repair work and expect to pump money into it. My guess is that the engine is not original either and may or may not be a 400CI as all Pontiac engines have the same physical size. Could be a 350CI if you did not verify that it was not.

Keep in mind, there are many "middle men" who promote the sales of other people's cars found on the internet, Craig's List, AutoTrader, Hemmings, and all the other magazines that sell cars. They list a car as if it is theirs and part of their inventory when in fact they don't own it. They can very easily be scammers who answer your questions and send you more photos because they are getting the info from the original source from where it is being sold from. You put a deposit on it and guess what? I purchased a '73 Plymouth Fury Grand Coup last November - I OWN THIS CAR. It is posted by one of these rip off "dealers" in Cadillac, MI for $5,895. https://classics.autotrader.com/classic-cars-for-sale/plymouth-fury-for-sale?page=2&year=1964 I paid $3,500 for it and you would think it was on his lot when he lives no where near North Carolina. Most of this idiots cars are from other ads hoping to turn a profit by hooking you up with the original seller in a "no refund/buyer beware" you own it deal. MY ADVICE??? If you cannot see the car in person and talk to its rightful owner in person, pass on the deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone. The advice on what to look for helps a ton. Looks like finding the right car will be tough. I may be at a little bit of a disadvantage since I want a specific car and body style.

PH also mentioned " There are also the Pontiacs from the same muscle era time range, that can really be screwed up "building 'em the way you want 'em"" And that brings up a good point because I really don't want to be the guy that destroys an amazing classic car. While I don't think that is how he intended that comment to come out; It does make me think harder about my car choice. It may be better if I can find something that is pretty messed up already. maybe a salvage car would be the best thing for my goals. The hard part is going to be finding one that is not rusted out.

I'll keep looking for the right car. In the mean time, if anyone sees something that might fit my needs please send me a DM! i'm in Oklahoma, but would probably be willing to travel to look at the car if it's owned by someone that is active on these forums.
 

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Yes the weather in these parts are not perfect for finding good project cars. It doesn't help that most the "old Farmer" types get ahold of cars like these and store them out in a pasture. I'm good with replacing fender wells and trunk panel. But I admit that replacing the rear window scares the hell out me.

I'm over in Stillwater. Grew up more Western OK. Close to Enid. Don't know a Travis Lester. There are a few different families with that last name scattered around.
 

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My GTO was way overpriced but here is why I paid it.
1. The car was a parts matching car with 2 owners.
2. Car was complete and still had the smog pump.
3. Here is the big one cosmetically the bodywork, paint and livery were all done and if you have ever had a bad experience with a custom shop this is HUGE and can cost thousands before you can get it back and then you need to find another shop.
My car was disassembled for paint and body, a lot more work than mask and paint in resale red.
Anything that leaves your direct control can turn into a real screwing like my engine rebuild by CVMS.

http://www.gtoforum.com/f170/central-virginia-machine-service-cvms-negative-review-106018/

I was able to talk the seller down almost 10K because all the running gear was original but needed to be rebuilt from bumper to bumper.
Upside was it was all original so it was all there.
Downside was it was all worn out.
The thing to consider is time because you are going to pay the same amount in the end you either spend it on a nicer car up front or you spend it in the end on the restore.
I am mechanically inclined so I was able to do the mechanical, the bodywork and interior are something I would have had to farm out and after getting screwed once on another restore by a crappy body shop I won't ever go down that road again.
I ended up doing the bodywork and paint myself in the driveway just to get it done.
I have friends in the business so I took 2 ASE certified mechanics with me and a retired body man to check the body work.
The more experienced eyes you can get to look at a potential purchase the better and it is money well spent.
I spent over a year looking at the same pieced together poorly painted rust buckets before I found this car, it spent the first 41 years garaged in So Cal then it was purchased by a pharmacist who had the body and interior done then I spent a year + rebuilding it mechanically.
I wanted my car as close to factory original as I could make it so of course I had to spend more but you only live once and life is too short to drive crappy cars.
:grin2:
 

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